I haven’t been the kind of Mom that I want to be this week. I’ve been pulled in endless directions both physically and emotionally. I’ve been out of the house far more than I ever want to be, and the next few days promise to be even worse.
When I have been home, I’ve been exhausted. I’ve been that mom that says, “Hey, how about a special treat! Let’s watch a movie together!” then drools on the pillow as the opening credits roll.
I fell asleep putting Brooke to bed last night. Through the haze I heard, “What number are you going to go in?” but it didn’t register until at least the third time she repeated it. I finally managed to get the eviction notice and stumble into my own room.
Try as I might, I know I’ve been cranky and ill-tempered. There have been far too many ‘not nows’ and ‘maybe laters’ and ‘please go ask Dadddys’. This will not be a week I’ll choose for the highlight reel.
I was running late leaving the house yesterday morning. (If we’re being honest, I’m always running late lately. Somewhere around six months ago, late became my new early). The girls were still asleep as I left the house.
Brooke is almost never up when I leave, but Katie often wakes up in time to hang out with me while I get ready. We play games or make up stories while I shower. She helps me pick out clothes for the day. It’s not much, but it’s time.
I miss her, and I know she’s having a tough time this week. She’s not getting the extras - the hour here or there that means so much – that helps keep the balance.
So I stopped on my way out. I dropped the frenzy along with my bags in the kitchen and found a piece of paper and a pen. I scratched out a simple note.
Mama loves you so very much, sweet girl.
I hope you have a great day at school today. I can’t wait to hear about it on the phone later.
I love you more than the moon and the stars and everything in between!
Six lines on a torn scrap of paper.
I handed the note to Luau and I asked him to give it to her when she woke up. I asked that he make a point of telling her that it was just between us – that I didn’t write one for Brooke today. That this was just for her.
I made it home twenty minutes before bedtime last night. The girls were freshly scrubbed and buttoned into their jammies. Brooke was drawing at the table and Katie was folded into her cardboard box fort in the den. She was curled around her favorite thing in all the world, Benny the Blanket. Though Benny is actually a blanket, he spends his days looking more like a stuffed animal. He rolls into a soft rounded rectangle with a smiling little face and a big round nose. Katie adores him.
When I walked into the room, both Katie and Benny climbed out of the fort to greet me. Benny was looking a little disheveled and Katie asked if I would help re-roll him. I undid his velcro fasteners and laid him out on the floor.
And there it was. Folded four times over and hidden in the depths of the one thing that she loves the most. The note.
She looked at me sheepishly as she grabbed it.
“Aw, Katie,” I said. “You kept the note?”
“Of course I did, Mama!” she said as she clutched it to her chest.
She added softly, reverently, “It’s from you.”
We can’t always do the big things. We can’t be in all the places we’d like to be at once. We can’t give them all that we want or even all that we think we should.
But we can do the little things. We can leave a note that says I’m here – even when I’m not. A reminder that we love them more than anything in the world.
Because it seems that the little things mean an awful lot more than we think.