Yesterday was a god-awful day. I got up, roared at the Eldest who’d somehow forgotten how one puts on socks. Then I went off to my therapist to wail about being a bad mother, and how my children deserve better. She listened with remarkable patience, before telling me to get over myself. Shocked, I picked myself up off the floor (literally, as she and I were playing with the babes on the floor while we talked), and went off to the babes’ 9th month ped appointment, musing.
I walked in the door at the pediatrician’s, and was greeted by a new nurse, who practiced doing a lead and hemaglobin test on the babes. He watched her do it, occasionally grunting disapproval over the angle at which she held his arm. I was proud of my relaxed baby and his patience, and even boasted a bit about him. Which is probably why I was ripe for the piano that dropped on my head.
The ped walked in and chatted, listened to me reel off a list of the child’s achievements (he stood on his own! he took two steps! he points and has specific sounds for things! he’s working on sustainable, alternative energy sources…I think he calls it poop!). She then gently informed me that in the past three months he’d dropped from the 50th percentile down to below the 5th. She had a range of suggestions, all imminently sensible, all of which I mentally tagged as To Consider Later, while I stewed.
The day half-over, I staggered into the house. There was a bunch of messages on the machine, which I promptly delegated to the Future Me, who might be able to talk to people without screeching incoherent things about babies and caloric intake. Instead, I sent off horrified, panicky emails to various medical professionals who are now wishing they had a spam filter for me. Taking a stern grip on the ragged bits of my psyche, we packed up Dr. Watson, our parakeet, and took him to a home full of plants, adopted dogs and a fish, where hopefully he’ll be loved and fed a diet that includes grains and seeds. Lovely people, but all I could think about was: is this it? Is my life really about food? Ha. Fine, then. I have failed to be able to feed our bird, but I’ll damned well get feeding the people right.
Yup, it was a day when the universe kicks you in the teeth, takes a break, then finds a new and squishier spot to prod. Which is why it’s so stunning that today seems wholly different.
Today I was equipped, through no fault of my own, to deal with the universe’s whims. We hauled ourselves out to the local park, only to discover a free concert being held by Stephen Baird, a children’s musician whom I can now highly recommend. Playing a dulcimer and later, a guitar, he sang songs, aided by masses of small children whom he alternately dressed up in costumes and gave intruments. The Eldest was entranced. I was delighted. The babes was initially uncertain, then distinctly pleased. And the parade of shy, excited children was just lovely.
After a short stop at the bubble vats, we headed off to work on our Feed the People initiative. Objective reached, we treated our thirsty selves to a drink, which the Eldest promptly poured into his stroller seat. Looking at the strawberry-banana puddle in the Phil and Ted, he started screaming – and I started searching for napkins. We dried him off, cleaned up the stroller and gave him new clothes (which, to my surprise, I actually had with me), and he hopped back in. Problem, solution. Nice.
Why are some days a four car pile-up, while other days are merely bumpy? My therapist claims that sleep makes all the difference, a friend pointed out that apparently God only provides the challenges that we can succeed at, but me, I think it’s somewhere in between. I’ve long believed that the universe is guided by the Big Guy Up There, but that it is up to the individual as to how we manage each bump in the road. Do we take it personally, do we have perspective on it, or do we just stomp off in disgust? But having my boys has taught me a new aspect to this: some days, the game is just rigged. A parenting moment that would have earned a 4.2 on one day will score a 7.5 on another. Circumstance is everything, unless you are the most iron-willed of mamas.
Today, however, is coasting along under a very specific aegis, and I think that’s what has stacked today’s odds towards grace. For today is my partner’s birthday, and he has earned every ounce of sunshine that he gets. Nice of him to share it with the peons…