Today, you woke up at 5 a.m.
You spilled milk on the carpet and dumped a carton of raisins on the kitchen floor. You colored on your bedroom wall, and you screamed in my face — your whole body shook with anger and rage — when I tried to discipline you. When I tried to tell you what you were doing was not acceptable. When I tried to explain why your behaviors were not OK.
Did I mention this was all before 7?
And, if I’m being honest with you, I was furious. I felt angry and broken. I wanted to cry and yell back. I wanted to throw my hands up and walk away. (Heck, part of me wanted to give you a swift pat on the butt.) But I didn’t. Instead, I paused and swallowed hard. Instead, I bent down and leaned forward. Instead, I spoke to you softly and calmly.
(I mean, how could I possibly tell you screaming is unacceptable if I was doing same?)
And, through tears, you listened. You acknowledged your mistakes. You hugged me, and you said “I sowwy.”
“I sowwy, Mommy.”
We quickly went back to playing — you made me a plate of muffins and a cup of tea — and, just like that, the “incident” was behind us. Just like that, things were back to “normal.”
I wish I could say things always go this smoothly. I wish I could say I always react with a level-head, and I wish I could say you are always that receptive, but that would be a lie. Sometimes, you scream more. You cry more. Sometimes you kick and hit and even try to bite. And sometimes I do the same — not with biting or hitting — but with my words. With the volume and tone of my voice.
Because I don’t always react the way I want to. I don’t always react the way I need to, and sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I mess up.
So what was different about today? Nothing. I mean, maybe the stars were aligned or I had JUST enough coffee in my system to function, but I think I just got lucky.
Today, I took a breath and got lucky.
Parenting is hard, and I am far from perfect. (So, SO far.) But I don’t aspire to be perfect. I don’t aspire to be great, and I don’t even aspire to be good. I just aspire to be enough: enough for myself. Enough for you, my dearest daughter. And enough in each and every moment.