Today was one of those days that could go 'either' way. You know- very, very good or very, very bad. I could feel that the ball was in my court as soon as my eyes opened this morning shortly after 7am and knew which road I had to choose as a mother, as someone who continually has four sets of eyes and her daily, watching, waiting to see what tone will be set.
Please don't misunderstand. It was a wonderful day to begin with. After all it was Nicolas' eighth birthday and these sorts of days are always so filled with bittersweet sentiment that I feel like I literally spend the day in some sort of dream-world, remembering and recalling the details of the day that my child was born and all that occurred leading up to and after that exact moment in time.
But then again it was a birthday. A holiday of sorts and often with these milestone events and "holy days" in my family's life often comes a very heavy burden of responsibility to bear over attempting to make everything simply perfect. There are visions that are hard to make into realities and ideals that are often so lofty that I'm sure not even an adult without four children would have the time to create. It often feels like so much is riding on me to get it all just right.
And with these perfectionist tendencies comes stress. Loads and loads of it.
I am so pleased and proud to say that I have grown over the years and have so authentically learned the lessons of what to and what not to sweat. I have learned which corners can be cut without consequence and which details really mean something worth working towards.
I knew what I wanted today to be about and I wasn't about to let my own shortcomings get in the way of a peaceful, secure, joyous home environment where my children felt free to celebrate and be children.
So within those first few moments of waking I made the conscious decision to choose imperfection and loose ends and joy.
In the end there was nothing terribly special about today. We had just come of a weekend away visiting the wonderful city of Philadelphia where we spent three days so close to one of the most historical places in our country that we could literally touch, taste, see, smell and feel the beginnings of our nation's story.
But after the mountaintop experience of travel and vacationing comes that very low valley that is filled with nothing but laundry and odds and ends to put back into their place.
I wasn't ready for that valley today.
So instead I left my bed unmade (something that has only ever happened a dozen times over the last decade), shaved my legs, packed up the towels, sunscreen and goggles that would be required for the first day of swim lessons this summer and shamelessly ordered a venti sized iced coffee and headed over to our town pool.
Today there was swimming, running and swinging and climbing, practicing with a bullwhip, coins counted, smoothies sipped, trash brought out, ice cream out enjoyed, water balloons filled and thrown and lots and lots of laughter.
And with the responsibility of being the one to make it all happen comes the luxurious benefit of being able to sit back and take all the joy in one moment at a time.