Snaps for mom.

They're always watching.

If you’ve read my posts, you already know I love the early morning. I love the productivity captured before the sun is up and the roosters begin their crowing. I love the ability to move at my pace, without interruption. Yesterday started out no differently.

The first two hours of my day looked something like this:

Out of bed at 4. Teeth brushed, coffee made by 4:20. Email, Facebook and blog stats checked (‘cuz I’m a bit obsessive.) Dog let out, let back in. Cats’ demands for attention met. Quiet reading time, finished. 1/2 hour meditation, done. Espresso prepped for husband, another check. Blog post ready, good. A moment to enjoy the sunrise and “Houston, we had lift off.”

Shortly after 6, I charged up the stairs with the enthusiasm of my girlfriend’s 7-year-old boy in the Lego store. The day was replete with possibility and plenty of work that needed to be done. But, like any woman, I could say that every day.

I walked into C’s room. She was awake, lying still with her eyes open in the dark, not yet ready to greet the day. “Open your curtains,” I insisted. “You have to check out this sunrise!” She complied, reluctantly. “No. Pull back your covers and look to the southeast. It is stunning,” I prodded.

“Oh, uh-huh. That’s nice, Mom. Thanks.” She plopped back against her pillow.

I moved on to her sister’s room where I found another lifeless body, eyes blinking against the light shining in from the hall. “Quick, quick. You’ve got to see the sunrise. It’s gorgeous!” A, like her mama, really enjoys watching the sunrise. Yesterday, I learned she enjoys it most when it doesn’t require throwing back the covers of a warm bed. Nonetheless, she was up and moving.

As I turned to leave her room, I felt it. Someone or something had plunged an ice pick through my right temple and into my eye. Or so it felt. It was sharp enough to knock me off-balance. I grabbed hold of her dresser and waited for the pain to pass. It didn’t. Instead, it settled behind and above my right eye. “Mom, are you OK?” asked A as I headed out her door.

“Uh-huh. Time to get your day going, honey.”

I went into my room, dropped to my knees and held my hands against my eyes. I wanted blackness–dark, dark blackness. I knew what was happening; it was familiar. I struggled against it. I prayed. I used affirmations. I used denial. I used defiance. As I sat there, I mentally created the day’s “to do” list. Nope, no room for a migraine in my day, too much work to be done. I chose denial and defiance as my 2 weapons of choice against my head. I went down the stairs to get to work, with the help of 800mg of Motrin.

My husband encouraged me to “take it easy.” A, who is painfully (no pun intended) familiar with migraines herself, encouraged me to just sit down, and handed me a bowl. C, who had classes outside the home yesterday, wanted to know what she could do. “Just get yourself ready for school. It’s passing.”

Truth is, the aura had passed, but the migraine was just settling in. My brain felt too big for my skull, but the Motrin and the morning’s caffeine had helped dull the pain. It would be a “manageable migraine” and the day would proceed as usual, I decided. C went off to school, A had started her independent lesson work, my husband, who is home on Friday’s, had started his own projects, and I settled into “pulling the day together.”

I began picking up the living room. I rubbed my temples. I responded to emails. I rested my eyes. I cleared the clutter from the dining room table. I checked the clock.

“Are you doing OK, Mom?” A asked.

“I’m OK. Keep working, please.” I responded. I was almost through the day. It was only 11:30. I could push just a bit more.  I set my eyes on the finish line; biology lab. On Friday afternoons, I teach a biology lab in my home to A and another student, a sweet friend. A looks forward to it and so do I; it capstones our week. Last week, we just started one of my favorite units, “The Life of a Cell.” Yesterday’s labs included acids and bases, atoms, electrons, neutrons and protons, and learning about the impact of temperature on an enzyme reaction. Yep, love this unit!

Roughly, 2 hours before lab was to begin, the Motrin began to wear off. It was too soon to take more, and I had nothing else available. I pressed on. I squinted against the contrast of the black letters on the white pages of the Biology text. An internal debate raged in my head: “Cancel” vs. “You can do it!” I gave in and conceded the match.

“I’m canceling biology lab,” I told A. “I can’t do it. I need to rest.” She had just finished reading over the procedure for the day’s lab. She was excited. She looked up and, in the way only children can do, surprised me.

“Snaps for Mom,” she said, “for taking care of herself.” (We have seen the Reese Witherspoon movie, “Legally Blonde” many times in this house. “Snaps” are given in praise for doing something good.) She didn’t mourn the chance to see her friend and play with fire. She celebrated her mother’s choice.

Another movie immediately popped into my head, Monsters, Inc. I heard the nasally voice of Roz; “I’m always watching.”

“They’re always watching,” I thought. They learn from every choice we make. Do I want to raise a daughter that denies what her body is telling her? Have I not always sent A to bed when she has a migraine? Have I not encouraged both girls to listen to what their body tells them? Have I done the same, in example?

Truthfully, no. I haven’t always done the same. But, if I am ever tempted to make a “do as I say, not as I do” choice again, I will remember the snaps I received from A yesterday. I had made a good choice. I snuggled up and went to sleep.

After almost 16 hours of sleep, the world seems brighter today, full of possibility and opportunities to make good choices. And, good choices I will make, because, as I was reminded yesterday, they’re always watching.

What choices (if any) would you make differently knowing they are always watching?

6 thoughts on “Snaps for mom.”

  1. I think you need a legal disclaimer for putting your advil dosage on here LOL.. (as in this is not intended to diagnose or cure 🙂

    Seriously a great piece! Though my children do not share my physical ills, I still think our martyr attitude does not do justice to the finish line (list) we are attempting to cross. I know I end up apologizing for my short temper or bad attitude. In the end, I am trying to realize RELATIONSHIPS are more precious than any list with every box checked off…. and relationships mean family AND friends 🙂


    1. OK, here is my disclaimer: “This post is not intended to diagnose or cure. See your doctor if your children begin actin like animals as you may have completely checked out as a parent.”

      What do ya think? 🙂


  2. What a great reminder. Thank you! But truthfully, I would have done anything to get out of teaching about the “Life of a Cell” too!


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