My day so far didn’t really look the way I thought it would.
The original plan? Wake up, get the kids breakfast, drink coffee, get everybody dressed, empty the dishwasher, start some laundry, go to the gym, play outside for 20 minutes, pick up lunch, eat lunch at home, put my children down for a nap, run 4 miles while Josh packs for a work trip, shower, rearrange the closet for the final time before our home study on Wednesday.
What actually happened?
I woke up to Elliott crying. We came downstairs, and the kids wanted to color instead of eat their breakfast. I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of either of their little lives. They always want food first.
I finally got them both settled at the table with cheerios and made my coffee. Before I could drink it, both kids declared they were done. Again, this makes no sense. They love to eat.
I drank my coffee on the couch while Elliott asked me to read books and Jackson played with play dough. When I finished, Jackson ran upstairs to play in the playroom while Elliott asked if he could watch his favorite show. Even with the full cup of coffee, I felt particularly tired this morning, so I snuggled him on my lap and decided I’d watch 10 minutes with him.
I fell asleep snuggling him. I woke up at the exact time I needed to be leaving for the gym. Considering nobody was dressed and nothing was done, I realized that part of the plan wasn’t going to workout today. I got up to start doing dishes, and Elliott began crying for me. I haven’t been home to put him to bed the last two nights, so he’s clearly holding a grudge.
I’m also a complete sucker for “Mommy, hold me. I cry for you. I sit with you. Mommy, up. Up, please. You sit with me.”
So with the dishes only half done, I sat back on the couch, snuggled Elliott and promptly fell back asleep for another 15 minutes.
By 9:45am, I had done basically nothing except feed my children, drink coffee, and sleep with Elliott snuggled in my lap.
At 10am, I took them to the playground. It was such a beautiful day, but we still managed to have the whole thing to ourselves for a while. We raced to the trees at the end of the road. We played tag, snuck around hunting “bad guys” as “ninja superheroes”, and played a very detailed game of PJ Masks with Jackson as Catboy, Elliott as Gecko and me as Owlette. We picked flowers and swung as high as we could. Around 11am, I sat down for a few minutes, and a few neighborhood kids showed up to play as well. By 11:30, Elliott was showing signs it was time to go grab lunch and take naps, but I haven’t grocery shopped yet (no school today, so my schedule is thrown off) so we have no eggs, no bread, no sandwich meat, no chicken nuggets, no fruit, basically nothing suitable for lunch. We picked up chick-fil-a, brought it home, sat together for a quick meal and then the boys played pretend in the piano room while I once again fell asleep on the couch.
At 1pm, they went down for naps. About 1:10pm, Josh got home and wasn’t feeling well. He asked if I was going to go for a run like I planned, and I realized my hoarse voice and inability to keep my eyes opened combined with his obvious cold probably means my immune system is trying to fight off whatever he has. So I sent him up to take a nap while I finally did dishes. The simple act of unloading and reloading the dishwasher zapped me of all of my energy, so I sat down with a notebook and the adoption book I’ve been reading. And I found myself here on this blog, thinking through our day, wondering what our social worker would think if she showed up to our laundry half done, box of items in the office that need to go upstairs, hot wheels cars scattered across the living room floor.
Every day has different victories. Sometimes I clean out all of our closets, but we eat frozen pizza for dinner. Sometimes all the laundry is folded and put away, but the kids watch more TV than I’d like. Sometimes I snuggle Elliott for 30 minutes, but we miss our window to run an errand. Sometimes I get nothing done during the morning that I actually planned to get done, but I had a blast playing outside with my kids, laughing over chicken nuggets and french fries, and making time in the afternoon for the whole family to rest and recharge.
Right now it’s 2:20pm, and I have done basically nothing tangible today, and yet I don’t feel discouraged.
I’m just hoping all of it translates. I’ll stay up tonight and tomorrow night making sure everything is in its place, all safety measures are met, and the first impression is a good one. But I know in my heart that the few hours she’ll spend in our house only show a tiny fraction of what makes it a home. I know the most important thing we can offer our child isn’t a freshly vacuumed bedroom with toys organized by category and size (though I do appreciate keeping things put away and really admire others who excel in organization), but the most important things we can offer are a permanent place in our family, a promise that they will always belong here, an invitation to share in the different every day victories we celebrate together.
We have to use words to describe ourselves and our childhood as part of our application. I hope one day my children will remember me as welcoming and warm. I hope they remember their childhood as fun, yet secure, a firm base of love and support that helps them learn, grow, thrive and extend kindness toward others.