On the Days When You're Feeling Done

Angie Warren

Truth is, I didn't really want to do puzzles with her tonight. What I really wanted was to put some time into writing, sip a glass of wine, and then soak my tired self in the tub.

As soon as I sat at my computer I heard her. Those tiny feet tip-tapping down the hallway, and then there she was, head bobbing, toothless smile beaming. "Want to do something with me, mom? I just wanna be with you."

I sighed. Not a sigh of annoyance, more a sigh of, I'm just so tired, I just want some space, I love you so much, but mama is done.

Do you ever feel done, too? At the end of the day, as night falls, and you've been stretched to your limit, to complete capacity. The feeling of, I'm not sure I can make another PBJ sandwich, or break up another argument, or clean up more dog poop.

Today was one of those days, not a bad one in the least bit. In fact, I told my husband on more than one occasion that it was actually, a great day. It was just one of those endlessly busy, exhausting in the most normal way, sort of days.

But, I showed up. I scooted in my computer chair and found my place on the floor. We did puzzle after puzzle, listening to the fifty times repeated Moana soundtrack (the one I can now clearly sing each word to).

She laughed, happily doing her favorite of puzzles now, the wooden number she calls the "United Steaks" one, where we do a song and dance of saying hello to family spread near and far. We did all the things, she and I. In her mind we were waltzing through a puzzle forest.

I showed up tonight for her because it's what we do as mothers. We get on the floor and do puzzles, we make endless PBJ sandwiches (some with only peanut butter, some with no crust, others on crackers). We put off the bath and the glass of wine, to be, to be present, to be near.

Because before I know it, she will have grown. Before I know it, I'll be wishing for a waltz through the puzzle forest. Because in the end, she's only five for very long, and no matter how done I feel at the end of an ordinary day, she needs me and she needs me to be near.

I shall remember this evening, on the days when I want to be done, and give her the gift of me, of childhood, and of the stopping of time, even if for, just one night.