Off Days

2010 March 3
by Evan Lenz

As a parent, I have my off days and my on days. This is one of the off days. I don’t feel like writing, much less writing about parenting. But maybe this is an opportunity to push through the resistance and learn something new.

I have been grumpy this week. There are several contributing circumstances—crummy weather, sickness, and work disruptions. I’ve been up at night with my 3-year-old, so my sleep hasn’t been up to par. It’s easy to see the reasons, and it’s comforting to know that these too will pass.

As a matter of fact, just as I wrote that, the clouds parted and sun shone through my skylight right onto me, if only for a minute. I’m grateful to be alive, even if I haven’t been acting like it.

Bedtime had been smooth sailing lately—until this week. What do you call that capacity—patience? It’s the capacity for handling loud noises and feet-dragging kids. It’s the capacity for looking beyond yourself and seeing what is going on in other people’s lives. Compassion? When I don’t have it, or when it’s in diminishing supply, I feel like I’m missing out on real opportunities. And I feel like I’m better off staying at home where I won’t inadvertently hurt anyone.

Last night, while I was brushing my teeth, the cat jumped onto my back, sinking in its claws. Hopefully my kids didn’t hear me shout it. “Stupid #@*&#$ cat!” Poor thing. I actually really love our cats. Earlier this morning, I had a nice snuggle session with Brownie. It’s just that Boots picked the wrong time to do that. At least my lash-out was only verbal. And he didn’t appear to be offended.

A little bit of reflection can be therapeutic. At least that’s the idea here. And it’s good to laugh at oneself every once in a while. The clouds are parting again. I’m going to sit and bask a little.

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