What a good choice for tonight's story. Henry unwrapped this book after a long evening of everyone in the household getting on everyone else's nerves. I try, I really try, to give the children my best when I come home. They haven't seen me all day and I've missed them. Instead of a cozy reunion, I find myself opening mail, throwing together dinner, cleaning out backpacks, feeding the dogs and retrieving plastic cups and pretzels that keep rolling under the sofa. Henry and Liam are very demanding at this hour of the day. I rarely hear a single sentence that begins with anything except "Can you....? or Mommy, I want...." I know they need stuff. I know they need me. But I am tired. I need some time to process the transition back to being mom. Can't we just sit on the sofa and veg together for 15 minutes? There's got to be a way to make this time happy for all of us but I haven't found it yet.
I'm thirsty. The dog ate my candy cane. You're phone is ringing. Who's at the door? Liam opened his book too early. I don't like olives on my pizza.
More and more I find myself dreading the hours between 5 and 7 pm. That makes me sad because it's all I have with my boys during the work week. Why can't it be quality time? I'm sure you know where this is going. Tonight I had a tantrum. Not the worst that's ever occurred but enough to put a damper on the evening. I just couldn't take one more demand after having colored, crafted and cooked dinner while still wearing my work clothes. Was that enough? No. Liam wanted peanut butter toast. He wanted grape juice. Grape juice that was in his cup on the table.
No, I want another one. Not that one. Then Henry piped up. "Grape juice looks like soda. I want soda. No, I replied. But I waaaaaaaaant some. Plllleeeeeeease? Grandpa bought it just for us. No. But I waaaaaaaaaaaant it.
Have I mentioned that I'm still wearing my work outfit and that I haven't sat down for more than 15 seconds (and that was when I was eating my room temperature pizza--with olives)?
Liam ended up going to bed without a story, falling asleep withing three minutes. The last thing I wanted to do was read a book to Henry after being treated like a waitress all evening. But when you are a family, you do things for each other even, and sometimes especially, when you don't feel like it. It was serendipitous that Henry chose this book from the box of wrapped stories. We both could relate to the admonishments and disappointments David was encountering during the holidays. Near the end of the book, David has a scary dream which saddened Henry. David wakes up, of course, to a wonderful Christmas morning but my sensitive boy wanted some extra comforting at the end. We both needed that goodnight hug and the reassurance that tomorrow is new day.