I am not having the best day today. I had bad dreams, stress dreams, about work versus parenthood. Though I can't remember the details the basic gist was that I needed to be home; to be a grounding force in the lives of my children. And that's all well and good except being home, at least at this juncture, does not pay the bills. So tonight I will dutifully change hats and go to work.
Hopefully - hopefully my children will not destroy the house. They will not watch too much television, will go to bed at a decent hour and will, possibly, peruse a book or two. Hopefully. And yes -- their father will be home. But I suspect he will be sound asleep on the couch -- exhausted from his work week. He does have the day off today. He's out thrifting (yes, alone). He wanted me to go but I felt I needed to be here. To attend to the dishes and the laundry and the bedrooms. The general care and maintenance of a family is challenging at best.
Today I'm not having the best day. I asked my 10-year-old to pack lunches for her and her sister. She lost it. Completely melted. I was treated to a litany of complaints about my parenting skills, or lack thereof, including how I, as the mother, should be packing their lunches. I responded that it was in her best interest and her duty as a member of this family to help out.
But that not so little voice in the back of my head was screaming BAD MOTHER, BAD! Because, you see, all good mothers make breakfast for their children and pack their lunches and walk them to school. Good mothers are home at night to tuck their children into bed and aren't too tired to function the next day. All too often I am none of the above.
Today did not get any better when a gorgeous pink snowflake pyrex casserole dish slid nonchalantly from the backseat of the car and shattered into a million pieces. I told myself it's just an object. Just a material thing. But truth-be-told a small piece of me was shattered as well.
This morning I did not look in the mirror. I got up, switched pj bottoms for jeans and threw on a sweater to take the girls to school. I'm still wearing the t-shirt I slept in. You don't want to see my hair.
When I finally did glance in the mirror I was startled. There, around my neck, was an orange necklace - handknit by my youngest last night as we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had forgotten all about it.
This necklace, this sweet orange spot of cheer, reminded me -- it's not all bad. So today I will clean the house. Tonight I will go to work. And tomorrow, in a sleepless fog, I will deal with the aftermath. And so and and so forth ad nauseum. For these are the days of my life. They're not all good but they're not all bad. I simply have to take them as they come. As my friend and Buddhist mentor Karen Maezen Miller would say; your practice is your life.