I had a bad day last week. “Bad” is relative, of course. Someone else, somewhere, experienced a much worse set of circumstances. But, personally speaking, one day last week could have been better.
That day, the girls and I headed over to the Y for open swim. Swimming is such a fun, lifelong sport. Swimming with kids—that’s a whole other playing field, friends.
First, there’s the getting ready. Finding everyone’s swim suits, getting them on. Locating the heavy-duty canvas bag. Filling it with (clean, if possible) towels, sippy cups and snacks. Then outfitting yourself, which is usually a production.
“Mom, I like your blue bathing suit better.”
“Girls, would you give me some privacy, please?”
“Mom, what a round belly you have.”
“Belly! Belly! Belly!”
“Girls…please give me some privacy.”
“Here, I’ll close the door.” Slam.
“Can you go outside the door, girls?”
“We love being with you, Mom.”
“MOMMY! Hold meeeee!”
So…there’s the getting ready.
On that day, we eventually arrived at the Y. The friendly staff checked us in. The girls and I slipped off our cover-ups. I secured a life jacket around Anna. Grace adjusted her goggles. We got into the pool.
Three minutes later… “Thunder! Everybody out!”
I looked at the lifeguard. “Really?” She nodded: Really.
“Why?” Grace wondered.
“Nooooo!” Anna protested. Roll of thunder, hear my cry.
“The pool needs to close,” I said. “I promise we’ll find another fun thing to do.”
“Really?” Grace asked, with the same disbelief I had just demonstrated to the lifeguard.
After leaving the Y, I began driving back home when another car, with a seemingly impatient driver, nearly made contact with us. The lady continued driving unsafely behind us for several miles. “Unbelievable,” I said.
It could have been a better day.
Luckily, the next day was. The weather was beautiful. Grace, Anna and I didn’t run into any unpleasant drivers on the roadways. We spent the entire afternoon swimming and splash-padding at the town pool complex.
After having a “bad” day, it was refreshing to have a good one.
I remember our first summer with Anna. She was about 3 months old; Grace was turning 4. Everyday life then was so much harder than it is now, this summer. I worried about having Anna outside in the heat, so instead of the pool, I took Grace to an indoor “jumpy place.”
She loved it, not minding the earsplitting noise of the machines that kept the inflatable castles, pirate ships and slides afloat. That white noise also lulled Anna to sleep against my chest. For me, though…my head throbbed, nonstop.
It takes a little time, sometimes, for family life to find its rhythm—for things to fall into place. I don’t know if anyone ever reaches the point where they say, “This is it!” and hang up an “Arrived” sign. Because often, there’s always something. Something to work through, or toward. Until things feel manageable, even good.
It just takes a little time, sometimes.
There’s a ‘90s song called just that, “Takes a Little Time,” by Amy Grant. I love this song; the girls and I often listen to it. (It’s on our morning playlist alongside Eric Church’s “Springsteen” and “Collide” by Howie Day.)
We’ve listened to it enough (and danced around the kitchen in our PJs to it enough) that we can harmonize pretty well on the chorus: “It takes a little time sometimes / But baby, you’re not going down / It takes more than you’ve got right now / Give it, give it time.”
Welcoming a newborn. Becoming a family. Earning a living. Building a life. Moving into a new house, making it a home.
At some point, maybe taking care of the person who once cared for you.
We fall into our roles, sometimes. Fall into our lives. Things don’t always make sense in the moment, right off the bat. We stumble; we struggle. We hold out hope for a rhythm.
You might know that my favorite book is “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean. Mr. Maclean speaks to this rhythm of life in his book, especially when he writes, “To [my father], all good things, trout as well as eternal salvation, come by grace. And grace comes by art. And art does not come easy.”
It does not come easy, friends. It does not.
There’s an art to becoming a patient parent. An art to becoming a safe driver. An art to living life with grace—to choosing gratitude.
My Grace will be 6 this week. I remember the day she was born. I remember holding her, in awe of her. And I remember thinking, “I don’t know what to do.” What do I do?
I still think that sometimes. Maybe you do too. What do I do?
(Something else I think: Where did that time go? How did all that time get away from me…just like that?)
The truth is, each day is a leap of faith. You get up—you show up—you hope for the best, and you do your best. You work toward a rhythm.
Finding that rhythm may take a little time. So give yourself that time. And don’t give up.
Wishing you the best, friends.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short fiction e-book, “This Is Just a Story.” Fun, timely and thought-provoking.