December 3rd

I did not feel like super woman today. I felt like I needed my mom, and I called her. I would have accepted advice, a plan, and an itemized to-do list, but what I needed most and what I got was the reassurance that she will answer the phone and listen on days when I struggle.

Parenting gets messy even without all the bodily fluids and leftover food goop. My six year-old nonchalantly told me today that he needed my sister for a project because she listens to him, follows kid rules, and is like a kid. That is the second time this week he has told me something similar.

My toddler is recovering from a virus and multiple sleepless nights. The tantrum count mounted early in the day and continued all the way to bedtime when she decided she did not want to brush her teeth.

My mom listened to me today. She did not offer suggestions or ways to fix anything. She simply said she is always on the other end of the phone.

So, I did not offer my son all the reasons he should cut me some slack because this mom thing is no joke, and I feel completely overwhelmed. Instead, I turned and listened to him without working on a grocery list or some other attempt at multitasking. In the midst of his story about building a pretend fire pit that he had no way to go to the store to buy things for s’mores, I asked him to wait a minute. I went inside, broke off two tiny candy canes and stuck marshmallows on the ends. He flipped a five gallon bucket upside down as a seat for me, and he grinned as we “toasted” our marshmallows.

My toddler positioned herself screaming and kicking on the floor of her room in protest of teeth brushing tonight. After a while, I crawled down on the floor, laid my head next to hers, and whispered that I love her. She crawled into my arms, I sang her a song, and she opened her mouth up for the toothbrush.

Thank you for reminding me, mom, that the most important thing I can do is simply pick up when one of my children calls for me. I do not need all the answers. I need to listen. I also might relate listening to winter’s quiet stillness, but I have not quite figured that lesson out. Perhaps another day. After all, winter will still be waiting for me tomorrow.

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