This morning I awoke to my oldest daughter a few inches from my face. "Mommy!", I rubbed my eyes as I tried to focus. "He ripped open a bag of chocolate chips and now they are all over the floor and he's eating them!"
I sigh. I really don't want to wake up to this. I just got back to sleep after a night of nursing the baby. I mumble something about telling him to clean it up and drag myself to the bathroom. I throw my hair into a ponytail and splash water on my face. As I stare into the mirror at the dark circles under my eyes, I wonder what I am in for today.
I walk out to the kitchen to check the damage. Chocolate chips are scattered all over the floor, the bag torn in half and thrown to the side.
"Where is he?"
"Sitting in his room eating chocolate."
And then he appears. My 3 year old. Mr. Independent who likes to take matters into his own hands. He thought chocolate chips made a perfectly acceptable breakfast and helped himself to it. His ornery brown eyes only showed a slight look of guilt. Mostly he seemed proud of himself.
He was holding a bowl full of chocolate chips and as he walked down the hall, his little sister followed behind with her own bowl and melted chocolate all over her face.
Well, at least he shared.
Coffee. I need to refuel before I tackle this day. The baby has found his way into my arms again as I fill my coffee maker with water and press start. The sound of my morning energy brewing is interrupted by my husband walking past me to the laundry room.
"Do I have any clean T shirts?", he asks me sheepishly as he digs through the hamper of yesterday's unfolded and forgotten laundry.
He's gentle with me...always. He knows the morning I am having. I hand him the baby and peek into the washing machine. Oh. I forgot to dry his work uniforms. I toss the damp and twisted clothes into the dryer and search again for my coffee.
As I take a sip I try to shake off the insecurities and thoughts that I am not doing enough, that I am failing everyone.
I serve breakfast, wipe some runny noses, change countless diapers and sit to feed the baby again. In this rocking chair I can see the cobwebs by the ceiling and the toys hiding under the couch. I should really get to that today...someday.
My toddler serves me a cup of invisible tea, and I can hear a princess, firefighter and superhero playing dress up down the hall. I'm thankful for this moment. These innocent giggles. I remind myself to slow down and savor every second, every sip of imaginary tea.
I glance at the clock. It's 10 am already?
I set the sleeping baby in his bassinet and go to my room to get dressed. The smell of baby vomit still lingering on my shoulder, but there's no hope of a shower this morning. I throw on some fresh clothes, try to make this mess of hair look intentional and sweep some color across my cheeks. A dab of lip gloss makes me feel more put together, though my life really does not.
The baby calls for me. His nap lasted 5 minutes. As I reach for him I hear a splash and my toddler is standing next to a puddle of milk. I throw a kitchen towel over the spill and as I mop it with my foot, I realize that I have yet to sweep up the chocolate chips that are still scattered under the kitchen table.
I struggled out the back door with an overfilled trash bag. I disciplined children and defused a temper tantrum. I attempted to teach 3 math lessons and cleaned up the bag of cat food that someone had left on the floor....all before lunch.
I never did bake the cookies I had planned to. The cobwebs are still in the corners and yesterday's laundry is still sitting unfolded.
But today, I decided to choose joy.
Today wasn't anything special and I certainly didn't wake up with the best attitude, but this is my life. It is full of messy chaos, but it's a beautiful mess. I am learning that a little laughter can calm a heart. Seeking joy in the simple moments can overcome the stress of all of life's little emergencies.