The other night I tucked the kids into bed and slumped back downstairs, exhausted. I looked around the kitchen - school papers were strewn everywhere, dishes were piled in the sink and a smoldering pile of laundry sat in the middle of the floor. Right where I left it at 8am that morning, thinking I would spend the day getting caught up on household chores.
I flopped onto the couch, cranky and irritable. This day didn't go at all like it was supposed to, I thought.
When my husband came home from work about an hour later, he asked me, innocently, "So what did you do today?"
"NOTHING!" I barked. "I was running around all day, but I didn't get ONE THING done that I wanted to do!"
"Days aren't good or bad," he said. "They just are."
"Take it somewhere else, Buddha Boy," I snapped, not in the mood. He chuckled quietly to himself and went upstairs to bed.
I stomped into the kitchen and made myself some Tension Tamer tea. "Enhances relaxation and quiets the mind," it said on the box. I liked that idea, because it made me feel as though I was altering my mood somehow, like I used to do with a glass of wine. Or seven.
Cupping my tea, I sat quietly in the semi-dark and took some deep breaths. My mind was racing about like a rabid squirrel, worrying over the things to do tomorrow and lamenting my unproductive day.
I don't know if it was the breathing or the Tension Tamer, but eventually my muscles relaxed and my mind quieted.
How do you know how today was supposed to go? This thought plopped into my head out of nowhere. Is it all up to you now? Do you have it all figured out?
Sometimes that Recovery Voice really irritates me. I have to live in the world, I thought. I can't just throw my hands up to the fates or whatever and expect to do all the things I'm supposed to do.
Oh great, I thought. Now I'm having an existential conversation with myself about laundry.
I sat for a while longer, and listened to the sound of my breath. I'm cranky because I didn't get to things I didn't want to do in the first place to do other things I didn't really want to do, either.
At least now you're telling truth, said the Voice.
I didn't get my way today, I thought. Every step of the way I was tugged along in different directions, buffeted about my kids' schedules, the phone ringing, errands to run. All I wanted to do was sit and make jewelry, and I didn't get to do that. That makes me resentful.
Well, there you have it, said the Voice. You didn't get Your Way. You cuddled with Finn on the couch for half an hour. That wasn't on your list today. That wasn't what you wanted to do, so you missed what a beautiful moment that was.
I remembered the feeling of his warm body curled into mine, the sweet boy scent of shampoo and sweat, how his little fingers twitched as he slept.
I thought of Greta's big crooked smile as she read from the school journal she kept all year. Every page. It took almost forty five minutes. This weekend I had ice cream and made dinner with my Mom, she read, showing me a picture she drew of us.
I thought of the conversation I had with a friend who is suffering, who needed a warm voice on the other end of the phone.
Damn, I thought. Now I have to go tell my husband he was right.
But I was smiling.