You can’t have a good day everyday. If you did then you wouldn’t notice that they were good because you’d have nothing to compare them to. Bad days exist for the sole purpose of giving you context for the good ones. I’ve had gotten a lot of context in the last several days. Context that punctuated the amazingness of the 15 minutes before bedtime last night.
You see it all started when I had Nola. I was 25. We had no savings. No short-term disability. No government subsidized maternity leave even though MOST of the rest of the planet does but hey thanks for making my employer hold my job for 12 weeks. No money. So 10 weeks after Nola was born, I became a working mother. Being a working mom is often a schizophrenic existence. You think about what you need to be doing for your kids while you are at work and you’re thinking about what you didn’t get done at work when you are at home. And how those thoughts usually go down is something like this: I shouldn’t have yelled so loud at them this morning even though I told them to brush their teeth and they are now all stinky breathed playing the ukelele in their bedroom wearing an Indian costume even though they had on school clothes 30 seconds ago and they deserved to be yelled at and Oh man I didn’t get that done before I left work even though I was putting out fires and got called into 4 surprise meetings and there would be no way I could have finished all that work in time to get to the daycare before they started charging $25,000 a minute for late pickup. It’s hardly ever I’m a brilliant mother and a rock star at the office. Maybe I’m taking some liberties with the “yous.” This is how I think anyway. Laugh along if you are a YOU and laugh at me if you are not.
It is an existence of constant loose ends. And often the area that you end up feeling least successful in is the parenting part. Cause there are no performance review or measurable objectives. Oh well unless I guess you count parent teacher conferences and keeping the kids alive.
But tonight I hit it out of the ballpark. And you wanna know how? The centipede. Also called the worm or caterpillar, this 1980s dance sensation is accomplished when the dancer lays on the floor and then thrust herself forward in a centipede like motion (actually it is more caterpillar-like) using her legs, arms and abdominal muscles and brute strength. I use the term dancer loosely here. It was probably one of the most important things I learned in the 80s. Oh well and reading. That was a good skill I picked up in the early 80s.
We were having ourselves a little impromptu pre-bedtime dance party in the living room. The girls were flipping and jumping and laughing. Then when the floor was clear, I threw myself on it and centipeded right across the living room. They stopped motionless and then bust into laughter the kind that involves your entire body, jumped on the couch giving me full command of our dance floor, looked at me intensely and said “do it again.” I did the centipede so much, I’m crossing the strength training portion of today’s work out off. And you know what I thought? I’m a BRILLIANT mother.
I made my kids laugh. Both of them. Bob is easy. Nola, though, is a tougher audience. She’s usually like oh yeah nice yawn. But she was cackling. There was no thought about the day before or the day to come. We were just right there in our little living room, our little selves, having a jammy jam. If it had been a movie, the camera would have zoomed out and out and our laughs would have slowly faded into music that made you feel all warm and gushy as the camera ultimately shot from the perspective of someone standing on the street looking into our living room window. Roll credits.
Bob said, “Can we do this before the next bedtime because I am having so much fun.”
Yes, Bob. Yes we can. I can’t wait to show them the Running Man.
Thank you bad days, limited time and the centipede for making this moment possible. It gave me some much needed perspective. … And an ab workout. Shoot I felt so good about it, I steam cleaned my living room carpet and ran 5.5 miles after I put them to bed. Rock Star. I’m just sayin’. Some days you knock it out of the ballpark and some days you strike out. Celebrate the home runs.