Last night I stayed downstairs after everyone went to bed. The day had been a exercise in time management—dueling drop offs, office, store, early release, fundraiser purchases pick up, drop off at Nana’s, parent teacher conference, decorate the shop, finish emails, back to Nana’s, home, dinner, homework, laundry, more store prep. It felt like the day itself was hyperventilating and I was just caught in the ragged, futile breaths.

Sean saw me unraveling and suggested a run. “I’ll handle stories and bedtime. You, just go, clear your head and have some time to yourself.” After the protesting, which I seem incapable of forgoing, I bundled up for a run and slapped a leash on the dog. Walking down our driveway I felt my tension descend, sliding off my shoulders and away from me. As we turned the corner up the dark hill I smiled.

Six houses later I screamed. Big, stupid, big, barking dog. He was not on a leash, not confined by a fence and he just kept coming. I tried to be brave, yelled at him to go, but he loped toward us, hackles up and his barking growing meaner and meaner. I called out to him to go home as we walked slowly backwards towards home defeat mounting. When I walked in the house Sean looked at me crestfallen, “That was like 6 minutes.” He walked down the upstairs hallway with the girls.

I listened as he did bedtime. Other nights I might’ve gone up, but I was bone weary. I felt resentment build as the day slipped away and I stayed mired in my inability to gain any traction. Later, knowing he had to be out of the house by 6am, he told me he was going to bed. “I’ll be right up,” I whispered. I sat feeling the quiet of the house, as the green numbers on the clock moved, the quiet seeped into me. I looked around at our home.

A pool of light on the Wicked snowglobe caught my eye, one brilliant point of light hovered between Elphaba and Galinda. The sounds and colors of Proctors Theatre came whooshing back. The girls faces rapt with wonder at the sheer number of people and then later, the pageantry of the show. Avery watched the mechanical cogs and monkeys, while Briar followed the actors like a cat watching a bouncing ball. Tears streamed down my face at the memory.

I looked at the end cabinet, glass door ajar and shelves overflowing with yarn. Woolen lines of scarlet and navy cascaded over baskets, bits of rolled up fabric sat beneath block letters. “Can we wrap letters with you, mama? Can we do a branch?” Remembering having said yes and their subsequent focus and delight again made me weep. Turning toward the kitchen, I looked at the window sill. Little vases perched with yarn-wound twigs, cheery and hopeful. Also, delicate.

My life. The rat-a-tat-tat of the days don’t often leave time for pause. Padding to bed after this calm, I felt repaired. I made my rounds giving flutter kisses on sleeping heads, then slipping beneath the covers of our bed and setting three different alarms—one to take Fin to pee in the night, one to wake up and another for good measure. This morning I woke first, slipping downstairs to make coffee for Sean, then sneaking back to my spot amidst our things. The yarn ends on the floor and pinecones peeking from beneath the dining room table are so much less clutter in this light. Before the dawn I can see the elements of triumph.

Because it won’t be tidy and it won’t be at a mellow pace, it just will be.