The last few days have been really rotten. The type of rotten where it's hard to tell where my rotten starts and the kids' rotten ends. The hardest thing for me about these types of days is the knowledge from personal experience that if I could just pull myself the hell out of my funk, my better attitude could turn everything around. Nothing like having a crappy time and knowing that no matter who started it, it's your fault it isn't better yet. During lunch yesterday something happened, I can't even remember now but if it was a meal time it was probably Lucy saying something insulting about the food in front of her or complaining because there was a possibility someone in the world may have gotten more of something than her. I had just had it. The school morning was not good - it included a bee flying into Jack's rain boot and him screaming about how he was going to kill all the bees in the world and never go back outside. Plus all my school planning felt rote and forced. Back to lunch, I picked up my bowl of whatever, left the table and sat on our back staircase by myself. Then I proceeded to sob. During which time I prayed desperately to God to open my heart, stop the vitriol that wanted to pour out and also, please, stop me from wanting to put my kids on the first school bus that drove by. Then I cried some more because memories of my mom crying hysterically are not a high point of my childhood.
The rest of the day was pretty much downhill from there, broken up by a playground trip to meet friends that probably shouldn't have happened based on behavior earlier in the day, but I really needed another mother's company. I felt heavy the rest of the day with the weight of sadness. How could my feelings change so quickly? Last week I was thanking God that I was lucky enough to be at home doing all the things that on this day felt like a burden. I took this sadness into sleep with me and woke with an open and healing heart. And the urge to answer everything I came across today with kindness and love. Novel concept, right? That I should respond to my own children with kindness and love? Why is my first reaction to respond to them as a child would? Why does it feel good to lash out with sharp words and assumptions of guilt, when I know that immediately afterwards I will feel bad?
I had to consciously choose kind responses this morning, but as the day wore on I actually felt like responding in that way, and the mood in the house palpably lightened. Damn, right back to me being the weather maker around here. I've accepted that that is what it is, but when will this learning stick? I feel like I've already done this lesson hundreds of times.