My seven year old hands me another handwritten note. It is the third or fourth one I’ve received today.
Eden tries to pass it off to me while I’m smack in the middle of dinner preparations. “Honey, why don’t you put that down over there and I’ll look at it a little later?” I gesture toward the kitchen island with my head since my hands are full of pots and spoons.
I mean to look at Eden’s note sooner rather than later, but time has not been on my side today. There were too many things shoved into my afternoon: rescheduled chemistry classes, craft projects, swimming lessons, birthday parties. The list feels endless.
By the time we make it back home, it is well past everyone’s bedtime. We are tired, a little cranky, and ready for bed. There’s a rush to get through our nighttime routine before anyone (especially me) breaks down.
As I shepherd everyone through the pajama donning and teeth brushing process I wonder if anyone realizes everything I’ve done today. Does anyone even understand what skill it takes to complete the size of the to-do list I had? Does anyone even appreciate it?
This is the after-bedtime let-down when exhaustion creeps in and colors my perception of the entire day. Most days I can head it off at the pass, so to speak, but other days it taints everything I’ve accomplished making me feel unappreciated and underutilized.
As I send everyone up to their beds, wallowing in the self-righteous martyrdom of knowing there are still miles to go before I can sleep, Eden turns to me and asks, “Did you read that note, Momma? The one I wrote you during dinner?”
Guilt makes me internally wince and I answer with false brightness, “I’m going to do that right now, okay?” And my answer seems to satisfy my daughter because she smiles and goes to bed.
I find her half-folded note in the middle of dirty supper dishes and uncorrected school books on the kitchen island. It is written on a scratch piece of paper, the back of some auto repair receipt. On it she has made a complete, detailed list of every errand and activity that were on our schedule for the day and how each thing makes her so happy.
The most important and touching line comes at the end of the note. “I’m glad you can do this all.”
This seven year old validation immediately soothes every ruffled and unappreciated feather I have. Gratitude and humility inflate my shriveled, tired heart.
“I’m glad you can do this all.”
And for the first time this day, I too, am incredibly and immensely glad that I can do this all. I’m grateful for the blessings of carpools and errands, for the gifts of dirty dishes and unfolded laundry, for the grace of swimming lessons and art projects.
I say it, to myself, one more time as I begin to tidy the kitchen, “I’m so very, very glad I can do this all.”