I don’t mean that to say I don’t love being her mother every day, but rather that there are days where the minutiae of parenthood can bring me joy, rather than simply be the dull chores I think we all must admit they sometimes can be. Diaper changes. Challenging meal times. Grocery shopping with a curious toddler.
For me, yesterday was one of those days. There was a moment when I looked down at her, happily playing in a shallow storage bin with a slotted spoon and a plastic container of dry oatmeal while I worked at the kitchen counter, preparing meals to bake and freeze, and I thought, I can do this. I can do this well.
And I did, yesterday. I sang us through diaper changes, I liberated Miss E’s high chair tray before she could toss the remains of her peanut butter sandwich on the floor, I packed a special snack for the grocery store and tickled and chatted with her to keep her from getting grouchy while we waited in a long, pre-Thanksgiving line. People complimented her temperament, her hair cut. I bundled her in a blanket and raced the cart back to the car, eliciting giggles before I unloaded reusable bags full of yet more ingredients for tasty, home-cooked meals (and cheddar bunnies; I have learned of late no toddler pantry is complete without cheddar bunnies). It felt good, to be in control. To make her happy. To feel happy myself.
We’re definitely settling into a routine, which is a signal to me to enjoy it while it lasts. Because it won’t. It’s happened before: I’ve gotten comfortable, confident, slept real stretches of dreamy sleep at night. And then everything changed. Miss E learned a new, daunting skill, got four teeth at the same time, discovered new emotional buttons to push. And I had to start over again, figure out what she needed, what I needed to do differently, how we were going to work together in this new place we were suddenly living in. It’s rough, sometimes. But this is my life now. Ours.
As I’m writing this, it’s still yesterday, so I’m still feeling like the empress of my own little universe. I don’t know if tomorrow will be as fine as today was, if we’ll laugh and play and understand each other. But I can hope.
And at least I’ve already got dinner covered.