Death Is the Only Bad Day
By Heather Curlee Novak
It was a less than charming Monday morning. I stood at the sink tired from nocturnal nursings and immediately overwhelmed by a sink full of scuzzy stinky dirty dirty dirty dishes. I mean, it was not even possible to get at the coffee press without washing dishes first. And we. do. not. live. without hot black manna from God first thing every morning. My husband warned me that after he shuffled the fully loaded laundry baskets to the actual laundry area of the house (dark cold basement) that there was a more than ample assembly line started off by rank cloth diapers and ending with...who are we kidding here? Does laundry really ever end once you are a family larger than, uh...one person?
So I stood at the sink with my cranky sore back and an attitude to match. My sweet hubs was concerned and rubbed my back reassuringly. He said he could help when he got home from work. I love that man, but really it is my job and is so similar to that first day back at the office he must sometimes not be thrilled about. (Who am I kidding? With a two year old and a six month old after our chaotic family weekend he practically skips to work!) After his departure and breakfast I began to dig in to the debris.
Then the baby fussed. The toddler cried because I wouldn't let her eat the Dora lipbalm. The dishwasher hadn't actually cleaned the dishes so I got to rewash those too. The toddler kept stealing toys from the baby so she cried and I wanted to cry because it is frowned upon to drink booze to ease the progress of one's day. There was some yelling. There were some time outs. Then I gave up and turned on the 27" electronic babysitter and took the baby upstairs to cycle through the options of soothing her.
As I sat nursing the little crankasauras I tried to talk myself out of my black mood and into a better day. There really was nothing wrong. No one but me cared if I got anything tidied any given day. My kids were behaving appropriate to age and were admittedly good little folks and healthy too. I thought about all the struggles other mamas have, or people in general and knew I had it good. I decided the only real "bad day" would be one where one of the kids was hurt or diagnosed with a serious illness. Or a day when someone died. THAT is the bad day. Anything better than that is a great day, piles of dishes notwithstanding.
I decided to celebrate the piles. To be thankful to God that we had endless high quality food to put on dishes that they might get dirty and pile up in the sink. To be glad I got to eat with a lot of folks who helped me dirty up the dishes with good homemade dinners every night. I chose to celebrate my family of great eaters...I mean they eat anything I put in front of them, even the two year old! I went through the same grateful exercise with "Mount Washmore" as Fly Lady calls it.
After the babe had her feed I began to dig into caring for my family (and myself) by caring for my home. Slowly it took shape and I had a great sense of well being as things were put where they belong and a lovely, tidy house took shape throughout the morning. I felt so much better I even tackled the desk stacks and piled some things to drop off or get fixed. After reading a few books to the kidlets, we headed out to conquer the rest of the day.
I would like to think this is a lesson I have learned, but I must admit that remembering to be grateful for my life seems to be a weekly meditation. I would feel dismayed that I am too dim witted to internalize this simple lesson and move on, but then again, how great is it when no one dies? How satisfying to keep reflecting on my blessings and re-appreciateing them. Maybe the cycle is more satisfying than just glibly moving on to the next batch of experience?