Let me preface by saying that I love my daughters. I love my family. I feel VERY lucky to be married to my husband and to be my girls’ mom. I really do.
But I get tired. I get so, so tired.
The monotony of these days can get to me. I get up, I help Liv get ready for school. I go to work. I come home, we do homework, make dinner. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Olivia takes a bath. Week after week after week.
So last Friday was just another Friday evening. I mean, yeah, it was FRIDAY…yay! Except there was dinner to be cooked and dishes to be washed and a story to be read and children to be parented and I was tired.
While I was upstairs making putting clean sheets on Liv’s bed, I started imagining I was the respite care giver for our family. I was just there for the night, to give the parents a much needed break. I loved this family and appreciated all they do and all they go through. I made her bed lovingly, thinking about how hard the mom of the family works and how nice it is to be able to help her out even just one evening every so often.
When Olivia came in to hang with me while I was making her bed, I grabbed her and snuggled her for a couple of minutes, thinking about how much this respite care giver really loved this kid she saw only occasionally.
The peace I got from those few minutes of imagining lasted all evening long. It lasted through cookie and ice cream for Olivia. It lasted through the reading of a couple of chapters of The Tail of Emily Windsnap (Liv LOVED this book, which is about a girl who discovers she’s half mermaid and when she goes in the water, her legs turn into a tail.)
My sense that I was doing good, that I was helping someone else lasted through rubbing Liv’s back as she fell asleep. It was as if I’d recharged my own energy reserves by imagining that I wasn’t the mom in this situation. The mom was off at a hotel, watching endless hours of HGTV and sleeping next to her husband without interruption for as long as she needed. Just imagining that gave me a new verve for what we face in our day to day lives.
I was able to listen to stories about Pentatonix as if it were the first time I was hearing those stories instead of the twenty-seventh. I was able to sit next to Lyss and watching the same YouTube videos she’s shown me countless times because, in my imagination, I was there just for the night, just for her, for them.
I know it sounds juvenile but I’ve always had an active imagination and it makes the mundane moments go just a little faster, a little smoother. And last weekend, my imagination actually made me a better mother.