It’s been a long day. One of the Roman shades in our living room broke awhile ago. Every time we opened the shade, the cord rubbed against the ring it was threaded through, sawing back and forth until the string gave way. Today I felt like that shade, hanging heavy and unthreaded, casting shadows instead of letting in light.
I battled with my daughter all day. She pushed her brother, she refused to share, she screamed and kicked the back of the passenger seat with furious little three-year-old legs. I battled myself, fought to keep my own emotions in check, to stay calm and in control, to not take it personally. I never realized it would be this personal. When she fails, it feels like I have failed.
I so strongly want her to be a person of integrity, of respect, of empathy and love. I think of all the lives she will touch, people she will wound or bless, and how my actions as a parent today help to shape her choices in those situations. It’s a staggering responsibility. I take it personally; how could I not when her heart once beat inside my body? I remember listening to the fetal monitor at the hospital, and I knew my life would be forever tied to that beat, the cadence of her life.
Tonight, when I felt like giving up for awhile, throwing on a video or opting for some mandatory quiet time (which is torture for a socialite like my daughter), I fought it. I got out my daughter’s tiny new porcelain tea set. We set it up in her bedroom with a couple baby dolls as guests. We fed them tea with plenty of cream and sugar in flowered teacups with gold rims. She doted on her guests, told them to drink slowly so they didn’t get tummy aches.
As we played, we fell into a rhythm: pass back and forth, ask and reply, pour and drink. Our teacups clinked against their platters like chimes. We emptied ourselves of today, its failures draining away until only drops remained. We filled each other’s cups and drank in blessings, tea, and light.