Slipping into bed at the end of the night is the glorious absolution at the end of the day. All is finished, all is forgiven. My back aches and my feet are heavy from carrying the weight of motherhood with me throughout the day. There is the satisfaction of a job well done, and the knowledge that tomorrow is another chance to try again.
Every night there are toys scattered on and around my bed. Small cars driven into my room to see if I was finished getting ready yet. Books they had wanted me to read before the sun had even awoken. Figurines that had been launched at brothers during an already forgotten battle.
During the day I look at these toys with annoyance. I pick them up time and again, until I eventually just ignore them and instead grumble about the incessant mess whenever I walk by it. When people tell you of the exhaustion of parenthood, you expect the sleepless nights and the emotional drain. No one tells you how many times a day you will bend over to pick something up.
At night, however, these toys remind me of little offerings. Tiny bits of tribute at the end of a long and hard day.
I think I was a good mom today. There were hugs, and snacks and homemade dinner and stories. That’s not true every day. Other days there is yelling and frustration and a desire to crawl into a bed that is very far from my own.
On those nights, there are still toys scattered around the foot of my bed. Most likely they are accidental gifts of forgetfulness, but I tell myself they are small gifts of forgiveness.