Monday, February 7, 2011

Swept Away

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.

I tipped my face towards the sun, and thought about how long it had been since I felt warm rays on my skin.   Finn whooped as he went over a jump, and Greta laughed.   I opened my eyes, and saw Finn trudging up the hill, pulling his sled and smiling from ear to ear.  "I went ovah da jump, Momma!" he cried.  

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.  

Greta flicked her hair over her shoulder as she pulled her sled back up the hill, then gave me a sideways glance and smiled.   "Having fun, Momma?"  she asked.

"Oh, yes."  I replied.  "Yes I am."

I fell into the moment, swept up by the kids' delight of a sunshiney winter day. 


  1. My goodness, this was exactly my day yesterday. Incredibly grouchy for no obvious reason, wanting everybody to go away, until I turned to hubby and grouched "We suck! We should be taking Eric sledding today." and I forced myself to go with the two of them though everything in me screamed for alone time shut up in the house. Pulling that sled through deep snow and falling on my face a few times certainly shook some laughs out of me though and eased the tension a bit. It was what I needed vs. what I wanted.

  2. So beautiful. And man, Greta looks just like you. That same mischievous smile.

    I'm so grateful to know I am not the only one that gets that tight coil in my chest and torso. It's inexplicable. And there's no reason for it, and I know it's me, but even knowing that doesn't always make it unwind.

    I'm glad something was able to do that for you yesterday. Thanks for sharing that.

  3. Boy, I hope you have picture frames for those. They are absolutley "Frame-Worthy"
    I must have eleventy-billion pictures between the phone, the camera SD cards and school pics.

  4. I love this post. You articulated this oh-so-familiar mood exactly. Your kids are gorgeous, woman.

  5. It's amazing what a little fresh air will do for you :)
    Those days are seriously the worst, when you fight fun and smiles just because... Thank goodness for silly kids and patient (mostly ;)) husbands.

  6. I feel this way so much and need my kids to give me that kick to just shrug that negativity off and see their bright faces. Love this. Your children are beautiful.

  7. Oh it's something in the air - I've been feeling the SAME way - come see

  8. As I read this post, I couldn't help but think: thank goodness I am not the only one this happens too. Because I know this and I hate it about myself. How hard it is to shake those feelings.

    But the feel of sun on one's skin, now that is a balm for just about anything. That and too happy, laughing children.

  9. Good for you! The Bible says, "Laughter is good like medicine", and that is SO true! Often, when I am feeling down I try to find something funny. It ALWAYS helps. :-)