Today was a day like so many others. We didn't go anywhere and, outside of a few neighborhood kids, no one came over. It was an ordinary day and yet it was just... perfect. Ordinary day. That phrase has been playing through my mind quite a bit lately. There is an excerpt floating around the Internet that is from a book titled "The Gift of an Ordinary Day". Unlike so many blips written about the daunting, funny and rewarding task of parenthood, this one really gets my waterworks going. Actually, most of these other writings that complain about how hard parenting is get to be a little over the top and re.dun.dent. I mean, yeah, we get; its hard, there are tears, there are tantrums and yes, there are poop-tastrophes. Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Many are the days that I'm out of balance: too much running, too many chores and tempting distractions. But this "ordinary day" memoir is fresh, honest and so real. But its scary too. Scary because it reveals that it all goes by at lightning speed. I'm getting dangerously close to cliche-ville but when people tell me "enjoy every minute, it goes so fast" I can honestly say that I do. I soak it all in: Hartley's chubby hand curled around my finger as she nurses, the way Lilly speaks with her tongue landing between her teeth rendering a sweet lisp, or Christopher easily getting belly laughs out of Hartley. Yes, I enjoy every minute. I can say that even by some small miracle, I enjoy the rough patches. Not in the heat of a tantrum moment do I say "gee I love this parenting gig". But later after a rough day when I'm exhausted and Lilly asks at bed time, "Mama, snuggle me" I fight the urge scoot out of her room and instead indulge her. I find myself laying beside her; her thick fragrant hair caressing my face and easing all tension from my body. I start to feel light. In hindsight all the days problems seem trivial. And at that moment, even when the day seems to be stamped in red letters: "FAIL", I am enjoying every minute. I am excited and grateful to start again tomorrow. I am so grateful for the gift of the ordinary day.
Which brings me to today. For starters, the weather was breezy and cool for August and our windows begged to be opened. We ate lunch on our front porch. It was obvious that the kids were enjoying each others company by the giggles and side long glances at each other. The neighbor kids joined us afterward for a nature hike to our stream. On our way back Lilly reached for my hand and stated "Mama, you're my hero" *melt*. Hartley dosed off in the carrier, so I eased her into her crib. Christopher and Lilly were then listening to music, making forts and, a bit later, putting on a magic show. I seized the moment to put up Pop's fresh tomatoes and make BBQ. I love to cook with the kids, but I love to cook without them even more! I still can't believe it but I didn't hear from the kids for two hours! I listened to an Alison Krauss and an SRV album uninterrupted! The feeling was glorious; open windows, great music blaring and uninterrupted cooking therapy. Afterwards, I took the kids bike riding and visited our elderly neighbors and their new puppy. After dinner Ryan and I treated the kids to ice cream at our local creamery. That's it. Our ordinary day. At some point in the afternoon I had a revelation: I have achieved balance today. I got some chores done, just enough to keep the house running, yet not so much that I felt mommy guilt. I cooked. I played. I noticed. Not every day will be quite so effortless. On those difficult days I will try to slow down. I will think how temporary this all is. I will try to recalibrate the scale and get the day back on balance.