Tonight, in an effort to aid my pounding headache that has been in full effect since the Olympics began, I stumbled into the dark kitchen and reached for what I thought was Tylenol PM. I thought what the heck...it will help take the edge off and help me sleep. Turns out I grabbed the bottle of Excedrin extra strength with caffeine so here I sit at 11:51pm with my brain and stomach spinning. It was a good lesson in not taking medicine in the dark.
Before giving up on falling asleep, I rested in bed with my left arm and leg draped over Tim's body as we talked about the events of the day. Inevitably, I focused on all my shortcomings--I yelled when I found fire ants covering the porch and garage entrance because someone (Elle!) dropped goldfish all over the place. I didn't have enough compassion when someone (Elle!) fell on her scooter during our daily walk. (I told her not to wear those slippery church shoes.) I got frustrated with the girls while making dinner because they kept chasing Birdie in the kitchen with the broom when the fire was on the stove. (I'm a bit nutty about fire.) And so on and so on.
Tim listened as he always does. He interjected a few, "You're not a terrible mom" comments where he deemed necessary, but still my heart was not content with my behavior of today. I could've done better. I can always do better. Because he did not take Excedrin, he quickly fell asleep and left me alone to think. This is a regular occurrence. So often as I lie in bed waiting for sleep to take over, I think these thoughts in an open-ended prayer:
I want to love more. I want to feel more compassion. Why don't I always feel bad for the kids when they fall/get hurt? Why do I roll my eyes when they sometimes cry? Why isn't it easier for me to reach my arms out when the kids need me? What quality do I lack in those situations? How can I obtain that quality? Why do I hold on to things so long? Why did I throw the fact that Elle peed in the closet over a month ago again in her face today? How do I forgive her? I desperately want to get over a handful of things. Where do I find the strength to let go? Why did I look at my phone instead of listening to Mya's story? How dumb of me! Why didn't I take time to be still today? I hope I'll find time again tomorrow. I want to be a more spiritual person. I want to feel more connected to God, but I don't give him enough time. Where do I squeeze in a few extra minutes for Him? Why do I have to squeeze him in at all? Shouldn't He come first? I want to be a better person. I want to love myself more. I want to love my husband more. I am so lucky to have him. He saves me every single day. I want to love my kids more. Lots more. I want them to have the best of me. Are they getting even a sliver of the best part of me? Or do they just see me frazzled? I need to be better. Please help me be better.
Do you think similar things?
The stillness of nighttime allows me to be honest with myself and with God. I'm not sure if it's the darkness and the inability to see myself in any mirrors or have anyone see my face, but I feel more free with my thoughts. I realize I am incredibly hard on myself. I think most humans are. I think sometimes it's justified. Other times I think we need to give ourselves a break. But I do think we can be better than we currently are. There is always room for improvement. And that's what I think about in the stillness of night. I think about who I am and who I want to be. I ask for forgiveness for falling way short of my expectations, but I give gratitude for how far I've come in 7 years as a wife and mother. Thank goodness for time. I am so grateful for it.
I finally feel sleep taking over my brain. My fingers are moving slowly now, and I'm finding it hard to transition between paragraphs, so it's my cue to go to bed. But at least my thoughts are on paper now. I know I'll look back one day and smile as I read them.