One night a few weeks ago, I had all three boys lined up in the bathtub. It was the tail end of the day and I was tired. The three year old had been tough on his momma the majority of the day. The baby had been fussing and crying for 2 hours and had been suffering from all the symptoms that come along with teething. The two oldest had been bickering, screaming, and fighting since we picked Emmett up from school at 3:00p and Patrick had been out of town for a few days. I finally said to them, "I'm over this day."
To which Emmett replied, "but mom, you don't know what tomorrow will be like".
Cue the tears, and the mom-guilt, and the shame because he was absolutely right. That day had the privilege of being able to take care of three healthy, relatively happy children with all of the resources necessary to do so. We don't live extravagantly but they have shoes, clothes, food, a comfortable house, and more than enough toys, books, and puzzles.
I know mothers and fathers who have lost children to cancer, accident and acute and chronic injury. I would wager a guess that many of those families didn't think to themselves, "tomorrow, life as we know it will never be the same."
It is as true as it it cliche, every tomorrow we get offers new experiences, good and bad. Experiences that change us.
We don't know what tomorrow will bring and so I will do my best not to wish away the days. I want to be present with my family. I practice yoga each day and part of the yogic philosophy is to just BE. Be present in the moment, be yourself, on and off the mat. It is certainly a practice but isn't it interesting how children are so naturally good at this. Emmett intuitively knew that we should appreciate today because after it is done, you can't get it back. You can't go back to the person you were yesterday morning and hopefully you wouldn't want to. A perfect reminder.
So, I took three centering breaths and I told him he was, most certainly, correct. I made a decision to let go of the guilt and the shame and enjoy the last moments of that day with the three of them. Mothering is far from easy and never the picture-perfect way one may imagine but there are so many possible moments of joy and delight mixed in with the chaos. My hope is that my boys can look back on their childhood with happy, content memories and learn to enjoy the present moment. Oh, and cook one really good meal and scrub a bathroom with the best of them, but I digress...