Sean had the car this morning and his day was stacked like a Dr. Seuss illustration— deadlines upon deadlines, projects intersecting projects.

“Want me to pick Briar up with the stroller? I asked. It was the right thing to do, but in all honesty I had no desire. I knew I’d be going unshowered in less than ideal weather conditions. Not going would almost certainly mean another night with him gone and both of us frazzled to nubbins. I cringed as I waited.

“Sure, that’s great,” he said not giving it second thought. I spent no time ruing having made the offer or resenting his decision. I spent a lot of time earlier in my life being upset about things, stewing. I have a better understanding now of when to let go, when to move on and focus on what is relevant or within my control.

He left for work and as I waved I felt Ave and FIn behind me, one look and I knew a nap was unlikely. We slogged through and eventually they fell asleep. To be precise they fell asleep at 10:40, Briar’s pick up is 11:20, less than ideal. I worked until 5 after 11 and then roused the girls, freshened clothes and set them in the stroller.

We ran to Briar’s school. My feet sloshed through the snow and slush as Avery called out, “Ya gotta not get me wet, mama. I’m going to Briar’s classroom and I gotta not be wet.” As the burning in my lungs grew, so did the smile on my face. Finley began to chirp, contented and excited yelps to which Ave offered a running commentary, “Fin’s’a talking. She’s so silly and happy going to Briar’s school!”

Turning the last corner, the slate topped steeple piercing a billowy cloud beneath the almost-blue sky, tears sprang from the corners of my eyes. Weeks of frustration slipped away, as forgotten as the road behind me. My legs pumped and my arms flexed as I steered the wide stroller through the treacherous terrain. Cars whizzed past and the girls called out hellos.

I was almost late, sweaty and unshowered, but as the front wheel careened over the lip of pavement between street and parking lot, I felt accomplished. Three daughters, a husband, a life and a sprint. A sprint to school, a sprint to playing before school, to eating before leaving, to loving after hours, and to managing it all. I don’t always hit it just right- Briar hits school with her hair barely brushed, Ave sometimes stays in pjs till noon and Fin plays with toilet paper, but today I did.

Today I ran for all I was worth, but the running and everything followed ended up being a beautiful thing, a testament to willingness. I am so grateful that I can stop to listen, jump to action and embrace the moment.

We walked home with cars whizzing by, classmates calling out, “Lucky!” and moms watching with unmasked envy, but most importantly, the four of us together and living inside the moment.