I woke up Sunday in an inky black mood.
There was no specific reason for my edginess. I didn't want to be anywhere. I glared at the dishes piled in the sink, the dog hair matted to the rugs and the toys strewn about the house and I felt downright homicidal.
The sound of my husband chewing his cereal nearly made me apoplectic.
I knew the problem was me, but I couldn't stop it. I couldn't find any lightness, gratitude or peace. The kids were just being, well, kids - full of demands, and "Momma LOOKs" and plaintive pleas to go do something.
I wanted out of my skin, out of my house, out of my life.
I dropped an open gallon of milk on the floor, and I just stood and watched it glug-glugging out onto the floor, thinking: well, THAT figures. I was on a hunt for misery. I found it everywhere I looked.
Every few minutes one of the kids would say "Momma!" for one reason or another, and my shoulders hunched in irritation. I wanted to press the button for some magic trap door and drop right through.
It was a sparkling clear winter day. After weeks of horrible weather we finally had the perfect snow day. Steve offered to take the kids sledding, to give me a break. I grumbled and mumbled about what a giant pain in the you-know-what it is to get the kids all bundled up, they probably would only want to stay a few minutes, what was the point, anyway.
He gave me a hard look and said, "You need fresh air. Come with us. It will be fun."
I stuffed the kids into their snow gear, snapping at them to hurry up, pay attention, hold still, find gloves. Snap. Snap. Snap.
On the drive to the sledding hill I crossed my arms in silent protest and stared stubbornly out the window. Steve and the kids pretended they didn't notice, and chatted animatedly the whole way there. I despised them for their cheeriness.
When we got to the hill the kids tumbled out of the car, squealing in delight. Steve unloaded the sleds and they ran to the top of the hill. I sighed, unfolded myself out of the car and slumped after them.
The tight coil deep in my gut loosened, just a little.
Greta zoomed down the slope, went over the jump and sailed through the air. Laughter bubbled up from deep inside me, pushing the misery and irritation up and away.
I found myself helping them load into the sleds, giggling as I gave them a push. Finn ditched his sled, deciding he wanted to run down the hill, arms and legs pinwheeling as he raced to the bottom. I stood in awe at the the lanky, loose-limbed little man he has become.