This is for all the mothers who dream about Someday.
When our three children were small and I’d clean up after baths for the thousandth time, pick wet towels up off the floor, squeeze water out of yellow rubber ducks and call for them to get back in here and brush their teeth, I often thought of Someday.
Someday I’d do something important.
When I read bedtime stories, the same stories I’d read so many times that I knew them by memory, my eyes glazed over, my brain froze from the repetition, and my mind wandered to Someday.
Someday life wouldn’t be so routine.
When I stared at a pound of frozen ground beef, considering my two standard options of spaghetti or sloppy joes, trying to remember when we last had what, and if anyone else noticed this culinary rut, I thought of Someday.
Someday I’d be creative.
Someday we’d eat food that required table knives. Someday we’d have a meal where nobody would fall off a chair, flip a serving spoon out of a bowl of peas or knock over a glass of milk.
When I had to have another nose-to-nose about lying and honesty, the consequences of disobeying and why you don’t take a swipe at your sibling, I thought of Someday.
Then one day I had an epiphany. I wasn’t one who was going to leave a mark on the world or build an empire. But I was going to leave a mark on this family, and I already had an empire. It was right under my nose, nestled snug in bed by 8 o’clock.
The Someday I often dreamed about was being shaped by all the todays and yesterdays. Someday was, is in the making now.
I was doing something important. Caring and nurturing children, creating family, trying to make a home that was a sanctuary from a rough-and-tumble world is one of the most important things a person can do.
Creativity? We didn’t always have ground beef. Sometimes we had chicken or a vegetable stir fry. It wasn’t the food that mattered; it was being together around the table, the conversation, the laughing, the sulking, the connecting.
Creativity was finding appropriate consequences for bad behaviour, letting little girls host tea and doing a dinosaur birthday party on a budget.
As for routine, no routine stays the same. But it is in routine – the routine of learning fundamental lessons again and again, learning over and over that choices are important because choices become habits and habits become a way of being – that character takes root.
Sometimes routine meant another lecture on respect for others’ property or dealing with a kid who acted up at the grocery, then later tearing up while reading the apology letter in crooked capital letters left on my bedside table.
The things that matter most, knowing you’re loved and knowing how to love others, being generous, extending charity, working hard, recouping after failures and setbacks, are learned incrementally, one day at a day.
Someday is closer than you think.
More from Lori Borgman:
With free food and free 'wife', Lori Borgman finds small and big surprises at the best hotel in town