Thursday, August 2, 2012

Don't underestimate the small stuff.

Last night, as it got further and further past bedtime, Liam came up with the perfect cure for Olympic fever.

Cloning.

"What we need to do is make a copy of ourselves so we can keep sitting here watching gymnastics all night while our other copies do the stuff we don't want to do."

"Like go to bed on time?"

"Yes, exactly. The other Liam and Mama would go to bed while we stayed up all night watching the Olympics!"

"Can I make more than one copy?"

"Yes!"

"Okay, cool. I need one copy to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen, one to go to bed so I'm not tired tomorrow, one to do a bunch of research, and one to see if this guy gets the gold. I'm going to be the one who stays up watching the Olympics."

"Me too."

Since he hasn't figured out cloning yet, we did the next best thing and kept watching the games ourselves. We watched as one gymnast's dad/coach kissed his head and squeezed his ears before each event. We watched another boy hang his head in disappointment as his performance on the pommel horse ended his time at the Olympic games (he wanted to win the gold "for his parents"). No wonder we all get sucked into this. It's like ESPN meets telenovela!

Every now and then a commercial would come on and I'd half-heartedly ask if he'd brushed his teeth yet.

"It's past your bedtime," I'd say.

"It's past yours, too."

It went on like that for a while until Liam suddenly switched off the TV. "Okay, Mama. Let's go. Time for bed."

"But I really need to clean up the kitchen."

"No you don't. Just do it tomorrow."

"But I'm not going to want to do it tomorrow either. I would much rather wake up to a clean kitchen. The tomorrow me would appreciate the tonight me SO MUCH if I just did it really quick."

It wasn't quite cloning, but he got what I meant.

Now that the TV was off, it wasn't so bad after all. Liam even helped a little, running things to recycling, gathering cups and glasses from the living room, keeping me company while I rinsed and loaded.

When we were finished I took a big deep breath and said, "I am so glad we did that. Even though I really didn't want to, it had to be done. Sometimes the easier choice is only easier for a minute. After that it makes life much, much harder. We will have a better day tomorrow because we did the dirty work tonight."

After a long day of parenting my ass off (first day of school + questionable classroom placement + learning my rights + gathering my resources {aka, other parents} + lots of back-and-forth with the principal + swimming all afternoon with kamikaze baby + husband out of town + Olympic fever...), it felt like I had finally had a successful moment. In a sea of REALLY BIG THINGS, it's sometimes the tiniest moments that matter most. Actually, it's almost always the tiniest moments that matter most. The big stuff just gets us from here to there. It's what happens on the way that builds character.

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