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Today: Take Two

This morning, Evaline and I sat on my bed. She had climbed up beside me with her school work as I was focused on editing photos. Together, we sounded out “at” and “an” words. We learned, and relearned, and yelled and shouted and huffed and repeated, simple sight words that one minute she would recite and the next were lost.

There was frustration. There were tears. There was a matched determination – she refusing to quit, and me, refusing to let her.

We were literally crying sight words back and forth to one another, not blinking, just shouting. We both had tears. THE! THE! THE!

Okay, I pointed to a word on the page, what is this word?  (THE)

Is? was her reply.

I fell back onto my pillows and told her I thought maybe public school would be a good option.

She screeched as though I’d just suggested dropping her into a volcano, and she started over again…even though I’d given up.

In the end, the work was done and she sat down with her siblings for lunch. I went down to run, feeling like I’d just given her at least three years of therapy, with my abysmal lack of patience.

Three hours later, she was my companion on a winter’s hike down a snow covered trail. She stayed at my side, held my hand, encouraged me, smiled sweetly, ran ahead declaring herself Wonder Woman, then darting back to keep me company. She begged for pictures of the two of us. We chatted. It was as though all of the terrible of the morning, didn’t matter.

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I was her mom, she was my daughter, and the trail was wide and narrow enough for us both to be there, together.

Today was good.

Facebook reminded me today, of this post from five years ago on the same day. It’s called Today and it highlights a day of ordinary-extraordinary in our home. Asher had dry underwear for one of the first times. Vinnie and I had a vacation coming up. Alex was practicing magic. Evaline was making a mess with her dinner.

And, I was enamored with all of it.

And I still am. My kids are older. Our days are very much as today was, on repeat. It’s a struggle – but then it’s beautiful.

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It’s a balance of tough love meets a soft hand to hold.

And so, this is my Today: Take Two.

Five years later, my children are all potty trained. (Hallelujah!)

Lila and I had a shouting match over her inability to keep her hands to herself when she was frustrated with her siblings.

Two hours later, I peeked into her room and she excitedly told me about the bakery she was building with her LEGOs.

Today was challenging.

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Asher hurt his shin and had a panic-like reaction, complete with sobs and howling. Breath, Asher, I told him, you are okay. And then he hugged me with great enthusiasm and thanked me for how I’ve been there for him through everything, in his whole life.

Today was rewarding.

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Alex and Evaline made dinner together tonight, I did nothing. Eldest and youngest, cooked chicken and chopped vegetables, served each other tacos and then cleaned up afterwards.

Today was miraculous.

Today, five years later, my kids are all bigger, messier, louder.

But they are still magic.

All of my life is, it seems, sometimes.

And I’m thankful…mostly, that they still accept me as I am, even though they’re wise enough now to know that though I’m not always the best, but I’m trying.

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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.

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