Yesterday I had one of those days when I didn't feel very appreciated.
Oh, people all around me made me feel OK. The adults I interact with regularly were kind. Heck, even people I don't know smiled at me at the grocery store.
But my own flesh and blood? Those little people I provide dinner for every night? They were mean. They were demanding and rude and ungrateful. I couldn't do a darn thing right in their eyes.
Well, I guess that's not altogether fair of me. They did go outside with me for a while and do some yard work, and they both complimented me on the new flowerbed I worked up. But beyond that it was crankiness upon snottiness upon grumpiness.
So when bedtime came I was ruthless. No idle chatter. No last-minute showing of a new magic trick. No discussing tomorrow's schedule or grabbing a glass of water. Nope. Get in bed, here's your kiss, now be quiet.
Oh, and I still love you, ya' little brat.
Once the house was quiet I turned most of the lights off and grabbed a bottle of beer from the fridge. It was a perfect night to sit out on the steps of the front deck and listen to the frogs croaking and crickets chirping, and even a few deer rustling leaves on their way out of the woods and into the field.
I sat there in the dark in my worn out clothes and bare feet, just listening to the world around me and getting lost in the glow of the solar lights I stuck in that new flowerbed. There was a cool breeze but I was determined to stay out there until either I finished my beer or my toes got too cold.
It was heavenly. I'm pretty sure the moment I stepped outside my children jumped out of bed and sat in the doorways of their bedrooms across the hall from each other and plotted against me. I know this because when I had to step inside to answer the phone I heard a bump, thump, giggle coming from that direction. That's fine; isn't that what kids are supposed to do? It actually tickles me a little and I would have enjoyed the thought of it a whole lot more if I wasn't already annoyed with them. But I let it go anyway.
Back out on the deck I thought of how lucky I am, how blessed that when the day gets to be too much all I have to do is step outside my door and listen and let the breeze carry my troubles away.
I had to laugh a little when I remembered something my mom said over the weekend. We were shopping at a furniture store and I had two little signs in my hands - one said "Relax" and one said "Love" - and I was trying to decide whether I wanted one or the other or both. She pointed to "Love" and said, "you have that," and then pointed to "Relax" and said, "you need to figure out how to do that ... take that one."
I took the dog outside to sit with me while I finished the last of my beer, strolled around the yard with her in the twilight, and went to bed early, a little calmer, a lot less tense.
Hmph. Who says I don't know how to relax?