At around 5:15, it all came crashing down.
My daughter, that is.
She had found the one activity- standing on a chair and washing toys at the kitchen sink- that didn’t send her into extreme fits of whining and me into extreme fits of exasperation on this trial of all trials afternoon.
And then she fell. *Crash Boom* and she was wedged on the floor between the counter and the chair, screaming at the top of her lungs. I immediately forgot all my anger and frustration with her (loud wails of agony from your firstborn will do that to you) and left my piano student so I could rush in and scoop her up.
I cradled her on the couch while she rested her head on my shoulder, dousing it in snot, spit and tears. Everything we had said to each other in annoyance and fury in the past couple hours floated through my head. Had I really been that impatient today? And had she really turned that purple when she screamed back at me with indignation each time I forbade yet another thing? Yes, indeed I had and yes, indeed she had.
So there we were. Crash and boom. As she was crying for much longer than was necessary, I held her as close as possible. The fall was scary and it hurt her a little bit too. But as the minutes ticked by and the sobbing continued, I knew she didn’t really need comfort for the fall anymore. She needed an understanding mommy more than anything. She needed a mommy who wasn’t going to be angry and upset. She needed a mommy who would take as much time as necessary to kiss her boo boos away, rather than shoo her away because of impatience and lack of time.
And I needed to hold her close and help heal her so that I too could be healed. Her tears washed away the last two hours of rip-my-hair-out frustration and I turned back into the mommy I’m supposed to be.
It all ended with a crash and boom. And it all started again with a wiped tear, a giggle and cuddles for the rest of the night.