You’re not terrible.

Tonight during our interminable bedtime ritual, the rollercoaster of “I love you…when will this nonsense end…I love you…I can’t take this one more stinking minute…I love you…good god what is it now,” Spouse did something silly. And Three found it horrible. And I told the little guy, to stave off the raging insanity that is a three-year-old Butter freakfest, that Daddy was only trying to be silly, and that it didn’t turn out the way he’d hoped.

And somehow in there, I said, in my best silly voice, “because Daddy is Terrible.”

Immediately, Seven said in just the right voice, “He’s not terrible.” And my sweet Peanut wrapped his arms around my neck and sat in my lap and whispered, “He’s not terrible and you’re not terrible. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes. He makes mistakes. Everyone alive makes at least one mistake in their life. Probably more.”

And I kissed his head and told him he was right and brilliant.

And I waited until later to cry.

Because what I’ve waited for, in my pathetic, childish, needy way, has been for my children to show me the kindness I never show myself. To hear a thank you, to be told to ease up a bit. To be told I’m not as terrible as I think I am.

And my almost-second-grader whispered kindly in my ear that I should cut myself and my husband some slack.

I’m not an expert at anything. But I’m pretty sure that’s as close to perfection as life gets.

Well, nobody is bleeding, so I guess it was a good day

Spouse gave me a glorious day of writing as penance for the two trips he’s taken this month. I ate, I wrote I breathed with my eyes closed a few times. I got in and out of the car with ease, and managed not to have a meltdown over situations large or small. It was a good day. I hit 80,000 words, and not just schlock. Stuff I could put my name near, if not on.

I came home at 7:30, at which point in a regular day dinner is done, the house is tidied (by a three-year-old, so it ain’t spic-n-span, but still, toys are in their place), bath is done, jammies are donned, teeth are brushed, and stories are underway. Tonight, though, at 7:30, I walked in, and a mud and blueberry smeared boy greeted me, beaming, at the door. He was finishing his cereal, covered in marker tatoos and stamps. The house looked like a bomb filled with puzzle pieces, toy cars, bristle blocks, a miniature tea set, and cat vomit went off. The sheets, which I change every Sunday, were full of sand from a post-playground nap.

To be fair, the bath was already drawn, the kid had a burrito and banana before the cereal, and the cat vomit was all over my stuff, so it’s understandable that it got overlooked.

So I put my happy, smeared, tatooed boy to bed and thanked his father for the day of writing. ‘Cuz if we ever get a room of our own, we’re willing to tolerate an awful lot in the sandy, blueberried, markered, late for bed department.

At least I didn’t come home at 10, like I prefer to on my increasingly frequent days off. They might have been doing shots and playing poker.

And having a damned fine time.