You know how, at the end of the day, you assess how the day went: "Did I do everything I needed to? Did I stay on track? What should I do better tomorrow?" You look for signs that might prove that you really did OK today, that your work was worth something.
As I was looking for my signs of accomplishment today, I realized that they included:
* blood stains on my hoodie
* a goose-egg on my head
* bruises up and down my legs
Yeah, I guess I did really get in the game, get down and dirty with the day's activities.
And I'll be falling asleep in a bed that will probably contain:
* cracker crumbs
* at least a dozen Legos
* an animal or two
* a few leftover books that didn't make it back to their spot
* papers of various shapes and colors
* a pencil (yowch! but there's always a pencil in there somewhere since it is apparently the best place in the house to flop down and do homework)
I'll be too tired to clean it off and I'll comfort myself with the thought that, "I'm sure I'll miss this when the kids are grown and gone." (But odds are that I'll just be grateful for a clean bed.)
So, you may be wondering why blood stains on my hoodie are a sign of having lived a good day?
* Because the blood came from Jee's little cheek. He scraped it while skateboarding, doing a really tough trick and I'm proud of him for trying so hard to do something difficult. Late tonight, when we were caught in the cold marina air, I striped down to my t-shirt so Jee could keep warm underneath it. His cheek was bleeding and of course, it smeared on my favorite pink hoodie. Seeing him snuggle in, appreciating the warmth and breathing in his mother's smell... It's worth a blood stain or two (or three).
* Goose egg on my head? I'm not fully sure, but I think it was from playing goats with Aee. I love telling her what it was like to grow up on a farm and how much fun it was the play with the goats. They are sturdy, funny, opinionated animals and they love butting heads, even with people. If they can push you over, they win. If you're stronger, you win. Simple, but it can be painful. I love seeing Aee laugh her mischievous little laugh when she's the stronger goat. It's worth a goose egg or two.
* Bruises because the kids are always bumping, skateboarding, scootering, rollerblading a little too close to me, usually when we're cooking dinner. We don't have a no-shoes in the house rule; we don't even have a no-skateboard/rollerblade/scooter rule in the house. Thus, we get a little banged up. That's ok. Being near my kids while I'm working, hearing them bounce off each other in their playful puppy dogs way is worth a few bruises here and there.
I was thinking tonight that I shouldn't be in shorts and slippers, I should be in combat boots to protect my legs. I know a lady from church who used to wear combat boots. She has this super welcoming smile and is the picture of enthusiasm and motherly warmth. Just the thought of her approach to parenthood helped me look past the bruises tonight to the greater good -- I got to see my kiddos today. I wasn't stuck in an office, at least for today. I was beside them, even though it was HARD.
Combat boots and blood stains. So cool.
The best part is that there are so many other parents all around me who are also going to sleep tonight surrounded by Legos and maybe a crumb or two, parents who also have bruises on their shins.