Today started out not-so-great.
Exhaustion. Extreme fatigue. Whining children. Add doctor’s appointments and shots and you sort of start to get the picture. So, when my friend asked if I wanted to bring the kids over for a play-date, I thought it sounded like something fun. Something that could improve our current status.
I was wrong.
Instead of mommy-friends chatting while the kids frolicked, the whining continued, and the mommy-speak was continuously interrupted by “I have to go potty!” and “Come shopping with me!” and “Meaarrrrrr!” (or however you spell the noise for a whining non-word that is toddler-speak). My toddler even kicked and punched a baby doll and a giant stuffed brown bear. I felt my fatigue worsen, my spirits dive and my social-anxiety skyrocket. I was frowning and correcting and yelling and the kids were screaming and yelling and crossing their arms cartoonishly across their chests.
It was not very becoming.
So we left a bit early and on the drive home the kids fell asleep. For a moment I let myself exhale, but that moment was short-lived and when we got home they were both awake, and awake with a vengeance.
After a couple of hours of trying to shove food in their faces, of toddler screaming and crying, of tiny feet pounding on bedroom doors, the toddler finally fell asleep (no such luck on the infant) and I managed to organize the toy room and do the dishes and a load of laundry. Mr. Grouch came home not long after, wondering why I was exhausted and crabby.
It’s easy to let moments, and hours, and days like these, make me become bitter and short-tempered and jaded. Even though I am all of those things on occasion, I sometimes feel like today will be the day that I become any one of those things, permanently.
Not sure how it would go, when she woke up, we dressed Toddler Grouch in her tights and leotard for her first-ever dance lesson. She, for the first time that day, smiled. I tried to shape her fine hair into a bun, a task much harder than it looks, and when I deemed it good enough, we packed the kids in the car and off we went. I needed more coffee.
Thankfully, in the car, the day took on a different tone. We stopped at the gas station and I got a cuppa. The infant finally napped. The toddler giggled and chattered from the back seat. Mr. Grouch and I exchanged pleasant glances and knowing looks. We walked into the dance studio and our day was transformed.
We watched our daughter in a moment of Becoming. Of becoming her. That kind of moment that parents cherish, that children have no understanding of. Even after the fact, watching a video of one’s own self Becoming is not usually pleasant, or pleasing. It is boring and ugly and embarrassing.
However, watching your own children Become is astonishing. It is wondrous and marvelous and incredible and there are simply not words that properly describe the feeling of watching your child Become.
I watched in awe, as Toddler Grouch Became before my eyes. She was a perfect balance of hesitant and courageous. She listened. She studied. She sat up straight. She goofed around and had fun. She attended to the teacher. She eyed the most experienced dancer in the room. With a quick mention and a slight nod, she asked the girl, who was crying and standing near the wall, not participating, if she wanted to dance with her, and coaxed the girl back onto the floor.
She was Becoming, and in such a fetching way.
I caught myself becoming relaxed, happy, comfortable in my skin, and in my own life. I promised myself I would continue becoming this kind of person, the kind that I was at that moment, the kind of person that I was only sporadically, but who I wanted to be, more frequently.
When we got home she ate two eggs, two pancakes, a bowl of pretzels, half an avocado and a glass of milk. More than she’d eaten all weekend, it seemed. After a nap, a dance, and some proper nutrition, she was becoming her old self.
Toward the end of the evening, we watched home video of her day. We danced together in the basement and practiced some of the moves she learned. She’s not too old to enjoy us celebrate her Becoming. Yet.
If she’s anything like me, she won’t love these videos for long. But, that’s okay. We’re prepared to remind her that the videos are for us, anyway. So we can watch her Becoming, long after she’s Become.
That they help us keep becoming who we want to be.