Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on my skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink when the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." 
I had plans for this week.  Plans to pack a picnic lunch and surprise Beau at work for his birthday.  Plans for outdoor play and maybe an afternoon at the pool to break in Cruz's new swim trunks.  Plans for fires and marshmallows, projects and pictures, and a coconut-scented start to another hot summer at home.  But as soon as I crawled out of Cruz's bed this morning at 6:00 to the sounds of Cruz crying and screaming, "Mommy, I can't see!" I knew we were in for a long one.  And the rain once again falling outside only added to the bad omen that seemed to wake up with me from the wrong side of the bed.

The day wasn't great.  Cruz has been battling some sort of cold/allergy thing for the past couple of days and it seemed to peak this morning when he woke up with his poor eyes matted shut.  His nose was runny, he had dark pink circles around his eyes, and his mood was less than favorable.  He cried when I got the toilet paper from the roll instead of letting him do it himself, cried when we ran out of frosted Cheerios, and cried when I refused to put goldfish crackers in the milk in his cereal bowl.  

Later on, I helped Cruz construct a birthday card for Daddy, to which we was content and happy.  But soon, all hell broke loose when I left him listening to Raffi and looking at books in his room while I went to put craft supplies away downstairs.  First, I tumbled down a few stairs.  I wouldn't call it a fall, but more of a graceful slide.  After attempting to catch my breath, gain my composure, and attempt to figure out what was out of place, I literally heard what could only be one sound coming from Cruz's room.  I walked in to find exactly what I knew I would...only worse.  There was Cruz, standing in a significant puddle of pee, splashing with his feet and grinning from ear to ear.  I was mortified and impulsively scolded him and sat his bum on his potty chair while he cried a mix of embarrassed, ashamed, and apologetic tears.  To which caused Mom to cry a mix of embarrassed, ashamed, and apologetic tears. 

After cleaning up, getting soaked on the way to Hy-Vee to pick up a balloon bouquet for Beau's birthday, and a slow service lunch and mediocre food at one of our favorite establishments, Cruz had a nap and I called the doctor.  

Funny to say, but the highlight of our day was the doctor's office.  Cruz loves the doctor.  After hopping up on our pediatrician's lap, helping him listen to his ears and conning him into reading him a story, we left with a handful of stickers, a lime green sucker, and two prescriptions for antibiotics.  

On the way home, we stopped by Walgreens to pick up prescriptions.  It was raining, again, so instead of unloading Cruz I chose the drive thru service.  I said a prayer of patience as I pulled up to the long line of cars at the drive thru window.  After a half hour of waiting and listening to Cruz demand "chocolate milk" as he does every time we go through a drive thru, I was informed that our prescriptions were accidentally sent to a different Walgreens.  I pulled away, drove the five miles to the next Walgreens and waited for another fifteen minutes while I watched my gas light turn on and listened to Cruz continue to request his chocolate milk and attempt to throw himself from the car by unlocking the child safety lock over and over and over again.  Little did he know, I was ready to go with him. 

Oh, and the school where I learned to teach and became part of a truly amazing family was leveled to the ground today.

Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.  

By this point, I had officially entered survival mode.  That happens sometimes, and you know what?  It has to.  While I wanted to throw the towel in, and came pretty close as I resorted to a diaper on Cruz, chicken nuggets in front of the TV, and a sippy cup of milk to bed, I kept swimming.  It wasn't graceful and it wasn't pretty, but it was grounded.  And sometimes, days like this are important, too.  Because at the end of the day, they help us strip away all the gunk and really see the small little glimmers of good as enough fuel to make it across the finish line.  

Because there are good things in every day, even the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ones.  

Cruz fascinates me at the doctor's office.  He paid attention to everything the nurse and doctor did, and followed directions with an interest and trust that few kids possess in an uncomfortable setting.  From the way he put his hand on our pediatrician's leg as he showed us his charts, to the way he grabbed the nurses hand as she listened to his heartbeat, I melted at his sweetness and innocence and completely forgot about our early mishaps.  

Bundling Cruz in a chair to eat his supper in our cozy house while the rain poured outside.  It's a rare occurrence to eat in the living room, and sometimes the rarities offer a little magic to an otherwise mundane routine.  I watched Cruz eat, tickled his toes from under the blanket, and felt thankful for a warm house and a gentle rain.

Reading books to Cruz before bed.  Because no matter how hard the day has been or how many times I've held back tears of frustration or said silent prayers for patience, the days always end with peace.  Peace in the form of the two of us cuddled in the chair, reading books, snuggling with blankies, and soaking in exactly who he is on a night I'll never have again.  Everything else kind of withers away when we read those books together.  

These kinds of days are inevitable and important in the sense that they keep us grounded, keep us vulnerable, and keep us aware.  I've been reflecting a lot on a quote I saw on Kristin Rogers', one of my favorite instagrammer's feeds: "Each day is, in a certain sense, a complete life by itself.  It has its own duties, its own trials, its own burdens, its own needs.  The very best we can do for the perfecting of our life as a whole, is to live the one day well.  We should put all our thought and energy and skill into the duty of each day, wasting no strength, either in grieving over yesterday's failures - or in anxiety about tomorrow's responsibilities."  JR Miller 

Working hard to live each day as a life.  To laugh through frustration, add one more book to the pile at night, and when all else fails, just keep swimming.    


  1. Ashley, one of my other friends blogged this article this morning:

    ...hang in there through the rainy days. It's only going to make us enjoy those pool days that much more, right?!

  2. I am so very sorry that it was such a hard day. But at the same time I am so very proud that you caught the goodmoments too. This post really reminds me as a mom that I need to do the same. I love that you said "every day is a lifetime in itself" This is so true and really struck me at the heart.

  3. Ugh, I wrote a similar post this week too, must just be a hard time for mommy's. We just need some warm weather :)

  4. Hoping you are having a better day today & I hope Cruz is feeling better, AND... I hope we have some nice, sunny days soon!! It is so adorable how Cruz loves visiting the doctor right now.:)

  5. Hoping the end of the week brings better moments for you!



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