Number 4 and I have a pretty good relationship.
She’s 13 now, and she still likes to talk to me and hang out with me and do stuff with me.
That makes me feel pretty good about the job I’ve done as a mom so far.
She also describes me as “chill” to her friends which may be my biggest parenting accomplishment to date.
As a baby, toddler, preschooler and elementary school student, I was pretty sure Number 4 was trying to kill me.
But I believe it’s true what they say about kids who were really challenging when they were little.
When they get older, they are the ones who give you the least amount of trouble.
This has been the case for me, anyway.
She was tough and determined and very quirky and extremely blunt and very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
These traits were kinda frustrating at times — okay, ALL THE TIME — when she was a little kid.
When she asked me to lie about her age so she could do a Mud Run when she was 6 — WITH A BROKEN ELBOW — well, that’s when I knew for sure this kid would not be stopped when she set her mind on something.
(Also, I lied, she did the mud run, and then later that night we sawed her cast off because it got so disgusting during the race. It was coming off in 2 days anyway).
Now all those traits are serving her well.
Now I’d describe Number 4 as independent and ballsy and smart and dependable and resourceful and responsible.
Well, mostly responsible.
She loses stuff fairly often because her brain is going like a million miles an hour 24/7, so she’s not so responsible in that department.
But in the helping me out and remembering to do stuff I ask her to do and taking care of her siblings if necessary and babysitting for other kids and doing her schoolwork and taking care of herself, she’s super, super responsible.
So I trust Number 4’s judgment and I value her opinions and her observations.
I drive to swim practice every day with different combinations of the kids. Four of them are on the team but they are all in different practice groups that practice at different times.
Number 3 and 4 are the only kids who are allowed to ride in the front seat in the car, so they came up with an arrangement so they weren’t constatnly fighting over who gets to sit in the front.
On the way to practice, Number 3 sits in the front.
On the way home, Number 4 sits in the front.
This is a big deal because depending on how traffic is, our drive to practice is anywhere between 40 and 60 minutes.
It’s a significant amount of time riding shotgun.
Whenever I am driving Number 4 home from practice and she’s in front, as we leave the parking lot I ask her, “How was practice?”
She likes to tell me how she did and what she did and so I listen to her recap.
And then every night she asks me the same question.
So how was your day, Mom?
She asked me this last night, as usual.
And I replied with something like,
“It was long. I’m so tired.”
And you know what Number 4 said?
“Mom, one of these days I’m gonna ask you that question and you’re gonna say, ‘MY DAY WAS GREAT!!!'”
I thought about it.
I am really tired.
I am tired because I’m working really hard on a new course I’m launching in January and I’m stressing myself out about it.
I’m tired because I get up really early every day.
I’m tired because I don’t get enough sleep.
I’m tired because I burn the candle at both ends — still, even after writing multiple blog posts about the fact that this isn’t good for me.
I’m tired because I’ve got stuff going on in my marriage that’s really, really, REALLY draining.
I’m tired because my mom was diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago and we are waiting for the pathology report on her surgery and that shit is nerve wracking and I’m worried and having a hard time turning my brain off about it.
I’m tired because I have 5 kids at home. I mean, that right there is enough to tire a girl out, isn’t it?
While my fatigue may be justifiable, that is not the mom I want to be for my kids.
I don’t want to be a negative Debbie Downer every time my daughter asks me how my day was.
I mean, when she said that to me I felt like that one super negative Facebook friend we all have who just constantly complains about everything and you ultimately end up hiding her from your feed.
And while I am definitely pooped out, I do have plenty to be grateful for. There is lots to be happy about.
And worrying about stuff that may or may not happen in the future is only doing one thing.
It’s preventing me from enjoying the time I have with my family right now.
And for crying out loud I was the fucking PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) Award winner on my college swim team.
What the hell happened to me?
So, Number 4 gave me something to think about last night.
I need to find a better way.
I don’t know what that way is yet. I don’t know what I need to change.
But I’m gonna figure it out.
And the next time Number 4 asks me how my day was?
I’m gonna tell her it was GREAT.
And I’m gonna mean it.