It's obviously saying something when your 4 year old sees a picture of you smiling on your birthday from the year before she was even conceived..... and she excitedly says, "Mom! You were happy then!"
I stopped short from loading the dishwasher and replied to her, "What do you mean, I was happy then?" I admit, I was phishing for some cutesy answer... something that had to do with the picture....
"Well, you were happy and then when you had us... you were mad."
....... ::Cue tires screeching on asphalt!!:: .......
Not. What. I. Wanted. To. Hear.
Not what any mom wants to hear.
I've been sick this past week... battling a horrible cough (thankfully no one else has caught it!).... but it goes beyond that. And I know it. I guess I kind of suspected what she meant from her first observation of the picture... I just was hoping I was wrong. I mean, who wants their kid to think that they made them mad just because they were born!?
Guilt is a heavy burden, let me tell you.
I have been praying about this and thinking about it it a lot actually - before any of this even happened. I am not a patient person. I'm often tired (having a baby who doesn't sleep through the night will do that to you). I look at the mess -which is my house- daily and feel like a failure (despite trying to keep up with things). I growl when my children bicker over toys. I snap when they wake the baby. You get the idea. I actually have to make a conscious effort to praise my children because sometimes... who am I kidding?... MOST times I am too tired to really muster up the acknowledgement. It's truly sad. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wracked by guilt every day. "Worst Mom of the Year Award?".... It goes to me. Hands down. So on nights like tonight, when Eloise unknowingly puts me in my place, I have to say a prayer... not only to ask for the strength to be a better person, a better mom, but also a prayer of Thanks that it's not too late. I can start fresh RIGHT NOW. I know I'll never be perfect.... but I'll always be blessed.
For the record, I did explain to Eloise about all the things I used to do before having kids (like she saw me smiling about in the picture).... and then I explained that being a mom is hard work and I don't really get to do those things anymore... but that it's okay because I can do them some other day (when I'm old, ha!)... because my girls are more important to me than any of that stuff (even when I'm utterly exhausted!).
Maybe those weren't the right words, hey, I'm human...
But her response: "I love you, mom." gives me the hope I need for tonight, tomorrow, for however many days God gives us together on this earth. For that, I am grateful.