It started at 4 am, when Emily came running into the room screaming because she had wet the bed. I consoled her, changed her, and placed her in bed next to me.
When we all woke up for the day at 7, things seemed to moving along as normal. A rush of getting the kids fed, Ben’s lunch made, and starting in on the morning chores.
But by 9, my sweet baby had dumped his cereal all over the floor; stuffed the toilet with towels, toothbrushes, and other items; and torn apart my carefully organized cupboards.
While cleaning one mess, he would run into another room to make another one.
His sister was not innocently standing by.
The beautifully cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted living room was quickly torn asunder as my angelic daughter threw the cushions off the couch, spread the clean and folded clothes all over the floor, dumped her orange juice over the coffee table and floor–twice–and screamed for various snacks.
As I surveyed the damage, Ben called to ask that I mail the rent check. To do this, I had to buy stamps and envelopes and be back before the mail man came. I stepped over the messes, dressed the kids, and packed them in the car only to drive by the mailman on the way out. I continued on my journey, located stamps, and set out to find a mail box (I wasn’t sure where the post office was). I also had to buy new toothbrushes as Andrew had made ours unusable.
When we arrived home, the kids continued on in their wave of destruction. Cheerios thrown out of bowls, crackers crushed into the carpet, the clothes in drawers littering every room.
At 11, I typed a tired message to my husband relaying the mornings events. He came home for lunch and left even more exhausted as the kids continued melting down.
Functioning, at this point, was beyond impossible. I put Andrew down for his nap. Since Emily’s sheets were still not washed, I had to put her in my bed and lay down with her (rather than making some headway on the chaos surrounding me).
By the end of the day (after our house had virtually imploded), I was close to a breakdown. We started in on our nighttime routine. Once I bathed the kids, I locked them in Emily’s room with me and read stories.
One story after the next. As I read, Emily enacted each nursery rhyme and Andrew ran after her, attempting to copy her movements. I watched them. In moments, joy replaced frustration, a smile the frown. The wrinkles in my brow relaxed as I sat laughing. Soon we were all dancing and singing. The days events a mere memory.
I put them in bed, giving extra squeezes in return for sweet toddler kisses.
I started in on the messes, completely rejuvenated by that half hour of fun.
There is always tomorrow, the voice whispered.
“I know. I am ready.”