It seems I have been struggling under a delusion that if I could just get my house organized Once and For All, everything would stay put. But it is more insipid than that – there is a strand of Once and For All twirling all through my head. If I could nail down my belief structure Once and For All, if I could prove my love Once and For All, if I could get my kids to listen to me Once and For All, we’d be okay. If I could get my temper under control, if I could remember to breathe, if I could get up in time to do Yoga. If I could just do these things and organize my life and make all the good habits stick Once and For All – everything would be great.

But life isn’t like that. I can have some rituals in my life, some good things that help me stay balanced, but there is no Once and For All about anything. I have to choose every day and every moment how to behave in the world. Am I going to lose my temper over a towel on the ground, or am I going to somehow see the bigger picture here?

Most likely, I will lose my mind over a towel on the floor, if I’m being honest. But I don’t want to be that person who unravels so easily. There is a bit of a mantra playing in the back of my mind about how much I want to be this cool, hippy-chic mom – the one who never raises her voice or comes unglued over little things. I want to be a good listener, and inspire my kids. I want to hear them when they need me.

In the tiniest voice possible, Bean just whispered from his room, “Mom?” It’s the crack of dawn and everyone is still asleep. I couldn’t believe he was really calling me, but the good mom in me jumped up to see if he really did call for me. I tiptoed into his room and quietly whispered his name. He said, “What’s Sugar Sweet?” “I don’t know, Sweetheart, it’s probably something super delicious.” I snuggled him and adjusted his blankets, and kissed his forehead, and smelled his fresh from the bath clean hair. Oh, I could eat him up. I think he was still asleep through the whole thing. He won’t even remember that he reached out for me from dream land to ask me something precious.

And this morning, of all mornings, I am delighted that I heard his impossibly quiet call from the other room. It could not have come at a more perfect moment. This morning, life was scripted, that’s all I can say.

There is no Once and For All to being a good mother, there is only now, and then now again, in every moment.

There is no way to answer deep questions of faith or understanding in a staking my claim sort of way, putting a sign on the moon to say I’ve been there and answered that Once and For All. Somewhere I got that notion, and it’s a poison. I get to build on what I did yesterday, think my thoughts, dream my dreams, clean my counters, read my books, do my stretches, swing my arms when I walk, wrap my boys in hugs and send them on their ways.

Every day I get to begin again. I get to breathe deeply and look at what worked and what didn’t. Blowing up over a towel on the ground was not my best moment. Today I will do better.

I will not beat myself up for not having it all together Once and For All because I know that is impossible. I will honor the fact that I heard my dear little boy whisper from his dreams about Sugar Sweet, and that I was there when he wanted his mom to come and hold him.

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Photo from Christmas time when Bean and I went to look at the lights down the one main street of our town.

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