One morning I had decided on having a good day. When I woke up the girls were already playing energetically in the other room legos or cars or dolls. I uttered an honest short prayer: “dear God, help me be patient and kind and joyous today.”

I sat on the couch and they clustered to me. I think their love language is physical touch and they are drawn to me, to play as their elbows or feet or entire body leans into my side. Some days I put up with it. I reluctantly let them draw their energy out of hanging onto me. Other times I say I need a little space. But this particular day I welcomed their intrusion into my coffee space and time. And I engaged with them, conversation and caresses. The prayer was already paying off. God is faithful. A humble beginning is the right place to start from.

As we had a good snuggle time in the morning, sooting voices, answering lots of questions, they were ready to let go and start their day, with a new game, with changing out of their pajamas, before my coffee got cold. So I’m thinking, when I joyously give of myself, my time, my attention, my caresses, the faster their cup gets filled and we’re all ready to start the day better. Now, mind you, there are day when no matter how willing I am, we still have to mend our relationship rather than celebrate how smooth it is. But as the psychologists say, mending occasionally builds a stronger relationship than if every day was perfectly smooth.

We’ve come a long way, and I am happy to have exited the survival tunnel and entered the more consistent focus on the thriving road. With the scenic view. If I’m not at the end of my energy rope, I can think beyond now and make a plan, and take them for a walk, or initiate a fun activity to reset the tone.

The day that was so great, I got to tell them a few things we were going to do: visit the grandparents (without them first pleading to let them do) and then come back and watch a fun movie with Jack Frost. I told them what I planned to make for dinner and the day was perfect. Their expectations were met, they were well behaved at my parents and at home we finished the day with a smooth goodnight. I’m writing this here because we’ve had so many rough days, with tears, more mine than theirs, with a feeling of complete loss of plans and ability to implement any.

They seem to cruise this season well. Jackie hit an emotional rocky season, challenging the status quo, the pandemic, the medical challenges, the school online, her responsibilities in comparison to her little sister… I’m reading now another good book called the whole brain child. And I realized that the warmth that they say helps the kids thrive is actually the parent’s ability to connect with their kid’s left brain, their emotional brain. Our meeting them where they are brings them to the point of reasoning with them. Because Jackie uses logic very well, and she is grateful and aware… her rants about life didn’t make sense given her leveled and logical history. But these are not normal times and I am more committed than ever to go the extra mile to connect with her emotionally before trying to use logic or the scoresheet of life.

After a year of this pandemic, I had the joy to reconnect with my Californian girlfriends. I’ve shared with them two decades of life, we’ve traveled through Europe together, with each one at a time, before any of us were married and had kids. Meeting with them after 8, after the kids were put to bed, and reconnecting in earnest about life, with honesty and humor, wherever we happen to find ourselves, that has inspired me to write just now. I feel myself through their eyes, through heir hearts, as they listen well and as they respond with kindness and love. Ah, what a blessing it is to have friends, even across the world. Beyond time and space. Just a handful of regular gals, who got to witness each others lives in a season. Grateful that they responded wanted to remain connected.