Beating through

There is a refrain that beats through me, its wavelengths tightening around my organs. You cannot balance this. You cannot excel at one without plainly sucking at the other. You will choose career over family. You are choosing career--

I choose my family.

*** Weekends are longer when you have small children. They are longer than the rest of the week. They are longer than any time you have spent waiting to see if your parents are running late or if they just forgot to pick you up from Key Club. There is not enough time in the weekend to mend the metaphorical hems you need to hem. There are small eternities strung back to back to do the same things you have done all week, which feel extra punishing because you have to do them on Your Weekend. With no overtime pay.


You find no joy in this. Maybe this is all too much for you. Are you choosing family? Choosing family?


This was not my motto before I became a parent, but I have adopted it as my anthem. If I expect things to go well, they will go well. It sounds Self-Helpy. I know. Will the real Pollyanna please stand up?

I tell myself that I have fun with my children.

I tell myself that my children are fun.

Know what? When I tell myself that? I have fun with my children. My children are so much fun.

*** I am trying to make a Pinteresty project for a friend's birthday. The distressed wood is not jiving with my bristle brushed effect; you cannot tell I am trying to paint a puffy dandelion blowing in the wind. Baby Girl wants to paint. She will grab my brush, touch the paint to the exact area I don't want to be touched--


You are trying to be good at everything. You're not even really mastering one thing. You can't juggle all the balls at once. You look like you're starting to slip.


The sun is warm, the shade is a haven, the breeze is a gorgeous tonic of perfection as I paint in the grass outside. I grab Baby Girl an oddly shaped scrap from the firewood pile. We paint next to each other, talk about the morning, our favorite parts of the special worship in the park. We let the paint dry and go for a long bike ride.


I am hairdrying the stupid piece of wood all soaked with every manner of glitterglue and chalkboard paint and I haven't even showered and Little Man is crying in his crib. I am supposed to be at the surprise party an hour ago.


You can't. You are kidding yourself. You are a mess.

*** I am at the end of the driveway, showered, lipsticked, carrying this dazzling piece of wood, when she calls me back. She busts out of the porch door in her nightgown.


No, I have it! I yell back.


I carry a glitter wood. And another piece that looks like a slop-painted reindeer antler.

The next day I tell Baby Girl how much my friend liked the present that she made her. (She really did. Said she was going to put her jewelry on it.)

"Oh thank you, Mommy! You are the best!"

*** This is the new voice beating through me. Beating through like a little nightgowned girl busting through a porch door to tell her to bring the antler to the party. The voice says I am sometimes, sometimes when I feel at my most defeated and depleted, the best to the littlest ones that matter the most.

Fries and ketchup