Yesterday I had one of those days where I wished I could go back to bed and start again. Tom and I turned up for an arranged activity only to realise we'd got the day wrong. I thought I'd spend the time instead doing some weeding at my mum's house that she's away from at the moment, only to drive in the driveway over a piece of wood with a nail sticking out. I stepped out of my car and heard the 'pfssssssssting' sound of the rapidly escaping air. I spent the next few hours sorting the tyre issue, finding out that it was completely wrecked and that a replacement couldn't happen for two days. Then I drove all the way home along the highway at 80k with the space saver on, pulling over every few ks to let the annoyed drivers following me past, only to discover that I'd left my phone back at mum's place. So back I went. In the meantime, Tom had fallen asleep in the car which meant it would be late before he was ready to go back to sleep that night. It was hot, I was grumpy, I realised I'd been neglecting to take my supplements which keep my hormonal mood fluctuations on an even keel and I felt like my day had gone to custard. I got the car unloaded and started on dinner while the boys disrobed and headed outside for a sprinkler-cooled bounce on the tramp. Mid carrot-chop my attention was grabbed by a startling squawk from the garden. I looked up to see Harry with Tom's head locked between his knees swinging back and forth, Tom protesting vehemently to no avail. I put the knife down, marched outside and turned the hose off. I won't go into details but let's just say I didn't exactly follow the PEACE process that I teach in dealing with the incident. I was angry, the boys were both in tears and their fun had been brought to an abrupt halt.
Neither of us was in any state to discuss what had happened at that point, but later in the evening, when we'd all had some time to cool down I was able to make a repair with the boys. As I was getting them out of the shower and drying them I apologised. I said, "I was grumpy this afternoon. I hate feeling like that and I took it out on you guys. I'm really sorry about that." I explained a bit about what had happened in my day and how frustrating it had been. And then when I'd seen them hurting each other and not listening to each other, it had just added to my frustration.
"I get it, mum," said Harry. "I know how that feels. I don't know why I did that. I guess I was trying to be funny and just got carried away."
And then they both gave me a giant hug.
In that moment of beautiful connection and empathy, I could forgive myself for not 'getting it right' that afternoon. I could see how far we'd come on our journey. As my boys little bodies melded into my arms I felt the joy in the imperfect art of parenting.