Last night my husband and I got in a fight.
Which is weird to say out loud, because even when we do fight, I really only tell my sister or my best friend, Anamarie…not the whole internet.
It shouldn’t have been as big of a deal as it was, but as we know, sometimes things end up deeper than they were originally meant to be. It started with our daughter waking up very late from her nap, ready to eat dinner, so I offered to make her something quick–a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Dom said no, she’s been eating terrible food all weekend, so have her wait to eat with us. Isla cried. She was hungry now, and dinner wouldn’t be ready for another 30 minutes. I argued, let’s just go ahead and feed her, I don’t want to listen to her fuss for half an hour. There’s always tomorrow to not eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Dom snapped at me, I snapped back. A Sunday fueled mostly by exhaustion and the winding down of a few weeks full of busy, overwhelming days spiraled out of control for no real reason.
It sounds so stupid when I write it all out, but so it goes. This is my effort at transparency.
I wound up walking away, giving him the silent treatment, and quietly crying while sitting on the closet floor. I just wanted some space. I just wanted to be alone. I wanted to not have a baby hanging off me, a toddler pushing my buttons, a husband arguing with me over things not worth arguing about.
I was so tired, so over it all. Isla had been mostly difficult for weeks, only awarding us small periods of calm and quiet. It embarrasses me to say I was really losing patience, but I’m only human. (Pro tip: this is where you implement “quiet play time” when naps run short and being annoyed by a two-year-old’s antics runs high.) Dom and I had been frustrated with each other, mostly because we had so much going on for days–even weeks–in a row. We were both tired. Both annoyed. Both wanting a week off to do nothing but relax.
But life doesn’t slow down just because you’re frustrated.
I sat in the closet by myself, hidden underneath my clothes so I could lean my back against the wall, and I tuned the rest of the house out. I heard Isla running around calling for me, as though my disappearance was a game of hide-and-go-seek. She checked her room, checked under our bed, checked our bathroom. Finally, after ten minutes of searching and me enjoying the stillness, she found me in the closet. She laughed hysterically, believing we were playing a game. She sat down beside me, told me she missed me, and said, “Fun day, Mama.”
It felt ironic.
Here I am hiding in the closet like a teenager because I’m tired and anxious and pissed off, and my toddler thinks it’s the most fun thing we’ve done together in her entire life. I’m reminded of a quote a high school teacher of mine often voiced: Your perception is your reality.
Eventually, Dom came in. He sat down on the floor too, hugged me, and we both apologized. Just like that, the fight was over. Isla asked for a group hug, because of course she did, and then we all got up to get the kids to bed and finish cooking dinner. A stupid fight led to a quick resolve, and once again, all was well in the world.
It’s funny what happens when you feel like life is throwing a shitty day at you–a bad day when your patience is thin and your happiness is even thinner. When being a mom/wife/friend gets overwhelming. When you don’t want to put in the time for your loved ones or even yourself. When you don’t want to see happiness anywhere around you. When there are moments you don’t like your spouse, your family, your friends, even your kids–and you’re afraid to admit it, because who says that out loud? When you’re at the end of your rope, ready to give up, and you have that reminder. That wakeup call. That moment of your toddler running through the door you were hiding behind shouting happily, “Miss me, Mama?”
Of course I missed her.
This is when I remembered that love roars louder–louder than all the demons, louder than the wind, louder than the stress, and louder than the chaos.
And that sometimes when you choose happiness, even on the bad days, it makes all the difference.