by Mommy On, a blog by Jill S. Litwin
I had a few moments, not long ago, when I was missing things about my life B.A. – Before Autumn. Before Autumn, I spent weekend mornings on my mat, downward dogging and decompressing. Before Autumn, I spent endless afternoons at the dog beach, indulging Tod in hours of swimming and socializing. And finally, Before Autumn, I slept soundly and felt free.
Things were different.
Everyone said kids change your life, and I believed them, but I didn’t understand to what degree. I knew I’d have less time, but never realized how hard it’d be to find a moment for fetching or stretching, resting or writing.
And then one day, Autumn and I were watching Daniel Tiger. When it rained on his picnic, he began singing this jingle:
“When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”
In the episode, Daniel moved his lunch inside, and had a new experience eating on the floor. Of course, everyone knows about looking on the bright side, but for some reason, that little tig-gerific melody stuck with me, like that “meow meow meow meow” chant from the 90s Meow Mix commercial. The reminder came right when I needed a solid dose of perspective.
Now instead of thinking there’s no yoga studio, I remember there is The Little Gym, where every Saturday, Autumn runs to our spot to do our thing.
The blue mat, to dance wildly.
Instead of feeling guilty over Tod’s less exciting life, I’m grateful for his walkers, and for Nana babysitting during naps, when we adventure to the park and play like old times.
And when the exhaustion from the non-stop care of a toddler creeps in – which is all the time (Do we really need dinner Every. Single. Night?) – I remind myself that when it comes to what Autumn brings to my life, the giggles far outweigh the groans.
And while the Daniel Tiger-ism has come in handy when considering life Before Autumn, it’s also especially helpful during life With Autumn.
Take yesterday. She was playing her usual hiding game, and I was seeking her in her usual place. But this time, when I opened the closet door, her hands looked like they had been the VIPs at a vanilla pudding party.
“I can use your Mommy Lotion?” she looked up and asked, referring to my Eucalyptus and Spearmint Aromatherapy formula. Oh the irony in finding your daughter – and your gray carpet – saturated in a product with stress relief on the label. But…
When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good!
At least my daughter – and my carpet – will be well moisturized and calm. And instead of just my hands, my entire room will smell like a Mineral Springs Spa.
Then there was the day she was already awake when I left for work.
“Today is not an Autumn Day,” she said, referring to when she gets to choose how our time together unfolds. And before my emotions slipped out, she continued:
“But there will be so many more Autumn Days,” and then counted to five on one hand, switched Pooh to the other arm, and continued counting fingers to ten.
She watched the episode, too.
Then I think about all the imperfections in my house – the red stain from when Autumn dropped – and then stepped on – the ink pad; the cling-on outlines that were supposed to wash off after Valentine’s Day; and the fingerprints and paw prints that are so ever-present, they might as well be permanent.
All perhaps annoying in chaotic moments, but also, all part of the life I’d choose again and again Every. Single. Day.