It’s been a long day. You know the kind. I know you do. It’s been the kind of afternoon where the possibility of a sweet bedtime with butterfly kisses and one more story and wanting to linger for just a bit more is nothing but a bit of dandelion fuzz that was swept out of our hands when we walked outside into a gust of wind. And that was hours ago.
It’s been the kind of day that we’ll forget eventually, as time fades the bad and highlights the good. Memory is the most powerful filter. But it’s been the kind of day that won’t fade tonight. You’ll probably still hear screaming as you rest your head on your pillow and I’ll rush out of your room once lights are out as if my life depends on it. Which, not to be dramatic, but in a small way, it does. There are mere hours standing between us and another possible gauntlet of a day tomorrow and I need to breathe for a bit so that I can sustain without oxygen for another marathon of hours tomorrow.
It’s been the kind of day when we fought over dinner and you didn’t eat and neither did he and we didn’t breathe as we swallowed bites whole so that, at least, the whole thing wouldn’t go to waste.
It’s been the kind of day when I ordered people to their separate corners. I think you’ve discovered, by now, that “Why don’t you sit at the bar and do something quietly on your own” is really code for “I’m gonna loose it if you don’t do something quiet and leave your brother alone for five minutes.” So you went and I got down your beads and you got to work and I didn’t pay much attention. It’s been the kind of day when I ran out of attention before lunch.
It’s been the kind of day when you work quietly because you know that look in my eye. I used to know eyes with that look too and for me, it meant fear. But for you, I don’t think it is fear. And I also hope its not. For you it seems to be quiet respect. A sort of knowing. Understanding. Someday you’ll have to tell me if I’m reading you wrong.
It’s been the kind of day when I head downstairs after I’m done tucking you in, in search of tea, or maybe something stronger, to help me release the tension as I bustle about picking up and putting away. It’s been the kind of day that feels endless, more still to do, toys and books and remnants of this day left everywhere.
And then I see it. I see your heart. You chose the heart shape and you arranged the little yellow beads around it. You chose a heart and you made it yellow. It isn’t finished but it is perfect. It is radiant. It’s not what I expected to see after this kind of day but there it is.
It’s been the kind of day when I’d normally sink into the couch and try to forget. But in the forgetting, there is no learning. There is just falling asleep and waking up and doing it all over again and never making it better.
I walked up to your room tonight after having dashed out of it. You were still awake and surprised to see me and I don’t know if you noticed but I was blinking back tears. I told you I had found your heart and I told you it was beautiful. And you smiled and quietly thanked me and your eyes sparkled in the darkness. You don’t like when I fawn over your creations and the amazing things you do with shapes and color but this time, you didn’t seem to mind. It was the kind of day when I think you needed to hear it as much as I needed to say it.