The girls and I stayed home yesterday, the three of us were a sniffling, watery-eyed, please-hold-me mess. I could write about some of the rosey times– the fireside cuddles, the eskimo kisses and sweet orange-juicy toddler breath, or I could let down my guard.

I could tell you, in hushed tones, how very hard it was. I could reveal that I wanted to curl up and sleep, have Sean stroking my brow and that I didn’t want to help anyone go to the bathroom. I might even be able to admit that when Briar woke up from her nap after 20 minutes I wanted to weep and rage, instead I brought her in bed with me and pretended to listen as she read to me, chastising me every few pages for not paying enough attention.

Later I made them the soup they asked for and when they didn’t eat it I felt stung. When they abandoned the third project I scraped together and began high sticking with Swiffers in the kitchen and I saw that the clock read 11:17am I feared I wouldn’t make it. My head throbbed, I felt as if the ligaments between my legs and pelvis were shearing, my sciatic nerve was piercing me to my core and the idea of 10 more hours as a single, sick parent made my stomach turn. If I were really brave and you swore not to tell I could admit, while choking back tears and bile, that when they wouldn’t nap in the afternoon and when it felt like we had been caged inside for 72 hours, I yelled.

I felt like a colossal failure and bit the insides of my mouth with fury. The fury was at myself, not the girls and when after 40 minutes I gave up and called the victor of the nap battle to unanimously be the girls, there was relief. Should I have caved? Maybe not. Do I think if I were given a do-over I could change how it played out? No.

It just isn’t going to be perfect, the best I can hope for is not to hurt them. Never, ever to hurt them. There are things you don’t say, actions you don’t indulge, no matter how badly the circumstances or your own weakness might demand. And so, we made it. We woke today with smiles and cuddles…still sniffling, still needy, but slightly less desperate, and, most importantly, not wounded.

Today I am grateful to feel like I can say these things to you and even more grateful to say, “Thank God Dad is home.”