You ever have one of those days? You know, those days that just happen to you. When you wake up and the first thing you think with your cloudy brain is “Aww man, morning already?” When you wish you could snooze not only another nine minutes, but all day. When you have no motivation or energy to tackle the day. When the first thing on your mind is wondering when you can take a nap. Yeah, one of those days.
I feel like I’ve been having a lot of those days lately. I’ll wake up not knowing what time or day it is, and definitely not ready to start the morning routine. Ellie on the other hand, I can hear her through the baby monitor squealing with excitement waiting for me to get her. I’ll just lay there thinking, “Can’t you sleep in today, please?” But nope, she’s up and ready to go. “Dad! Wake up sleepy head! Come get me! Let’s get this day started!”
Lately, it seems I rarely have a concrete plan for the day’s events, so I spend it reacting to Ellie’s wants and needs, and a lot of the times not knowing the difference between them. And then in the end, not really caring. “OK. If you stop whining, you can have the crackers,” I’ll grumble while I pout about making a grocery list. “Didn’t I buy milk last week?”
Being so tired lately I know is my own fault. I don’t make the time to get a good rest. It has been a busy summer, but even when I have the opportunity to go to bed early, I usually don’t. It’sll be midnight and I’ll be super tired, but I’ll somehow stay up for another hour or so. I’m like a little kid who wants to stay up late. “I don’t want to go to bed!” Maybe I just want to declare my “me” time. A few moments when the house is quiet. When there is no pressing schedule of making dinner, preparing snacks or looking at the clock anticipating the next diaper change. So I usually spend that time creeping people on Facebook, or watching riveting documentaries about ancient aliens on Netflix.
But sometimes a day comes along that helps remind me why I do this job and why I love it. It was a day I didn’t want to do anything and a day I had nothing planned. While I saw Ellie happily dance around the kitchen, I figured I had two choices: I could do the absolute bare minimum and struggle through a really long day, or I could dig deep and put my best foot forward. I decided on the latter, and the results were well worth it. “Alright Ellie, let’s have a fun day!”
After breakfast, we ventured out into the deep wilderness we call the backyard. The grass was long because of all the heat and humidity we’ve had lately, and I’ve been putting off cutting it. But this morning was pretty decent and we were going to attempt a little weeding before the heat hit. It was a bit rough at first, but then Ellie started helping. She was putting the weeds I pulled out into a bucket and clapping at her accomplishment. She was so happy you couldn’t help but smile. This day was getting better already.
Later in the day, I put on her TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba!, and hung out with her instead of busying myself with chores. We clapped and danced along with the songs. We played blocks, read books and chased each other around the house. “Gimme a fist bump dad!” These are things I do with her frequently, but today I did them with more intention. I was present and was really with her. My mind wasn’t worrying about dinner, vacuuming or sleeping. I found myself looking at the clock less and being surprised with how much time had passed when I did.
Taking a nap and resting when she napped really helped too. (Doesn’t mean you can make me go to bed early.) Sometimes I push myself too much and I don’t rest. It doesn’t make sense. I wake up craving a nap, but when the opportunity arises, I just think to myself that I need some coffee instead of rest. Then the cycle starts all over again.
It ended up being not just a good day, but a really good day. When my wife came home, Ellie and I were snuggled up on the couch watching TV while playing with her toys. “Well look at you two,” she said with a big smile after she walked through the door. Ellie looked up, smiled and waved. It was one of those good days. It was a much needed reminder that you really get out of something as much as you put into it.