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I’m going to start this out with a positive story. Well first a hey, Happy Valentine’s Day! I like the holiday. It takes many turns along the years. I loved it as a kid when my mom put out a huge cardboard box for us to “mail” our valentines to each other with. Then we’d wake up the next morning to open our valentines and get little presents and eat Lucky Charms. We never really ate Lucky Charms. Only on Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day (clover marshmallows!) and our birthdays, if that was the “junk” cereal we so chose. I loved Valentine’s Day as a teenager when we sent carnations to classmates through messengers. You got singled out in class on Valentine’s Day morning. I always received carnations from my sister and my gay guy friends. I also loved Valentine’s Day as a young adult because it was pretty great if I had a boyfriend, and it was also pretty great (maybe even greater) if I didn’t. I liked the mystery – wondering if something might happen for me.

I generally went through ages four through my twenties always with a crush on someone, or I was in a relationship, or both. (That sounds worse than it was)

I love Valentine’s Day as a wife because I have a Valentine. And I love it as a mother because it’s starting to get very fun for Scarlet as her understanding of holidays grows. It’s not always magical. Sometimes it downright can suck. Even today. I don’t care if it’s “cool” to love Valentine’s Day or hate it. I don’t care about the origins of the holiday or how it’s become all about Hallmark consumerism. So I’m just going to love it with the family and eat some heart-shaped cookies from a friend.

Oh, and Scarlet took one of the valentines her classmate made, licked it, wrote on it in pencil and declared it her own original valentine. She gave it to me and said, “I licked it.” Thanks?

Do you ever have “hanging by a thread” days? I know some people feel that way for weeks or months or years, or worse – for lifetimes. I generally don’t. It’s so temporary sometimes that it can turn in an instant. Yesterday I had a day like that. I felt at my wit’s end. Then I went to Target to get diapers and I got Scarlet another magic wand. She wanted me to open it for her right after we left the store. So I stood by a trashcan to open it, realizing I was blocking the path of a skateboarding boy who was watching us. He may have been ten or eleven. Tops. I apologized and got out of his way and he stopped me and said, “No. I just want you to know that your kids are..so awesome.”

Moments like that take me back from the wit’s end edge.

It changed my whole outlook. Des had had a bad night two nights ago and that always ruins my morale and gets me thinking insane thoughts about putting him alone in a soundproof room for the night, or sleeping in my car. I also start to think that even when he’s 30, he’ll still be in my house giggling and banging a rattle into a crib at some terrible hour. And after this nice exchange with the skateboarding boy, my mind cleared and I thought, “He might have a bad night again. So what? I’ll get up and nurse him even though I always say I won’t. I’ll hug him and love him and when he’s an adult, I’ll come into his room at 3:00 am and bang a drum.” Well at least you know I’m not totally rational. Halfway, maybe.

Maybe many of us are always hanging by one thread, and we just don’t know it. The brink before one missed paycheck, one car repair too many, another freakin’ snowstorm, a sleepless night or a spousal argument. A leaky roof. A bad tantrum. A year of missed paychecks. Half a year of bad tantrums. And then I wonder if that last thread were to be cut, from any of the aforementioned scenarios, would we fall to an untimely death on a hardwood floor? I’d like to believe that instead you band together with other loose or already cut threads and form new material.

Maybe you just fall into a soft, plush pile of friends, family, partners, neighbors, and skateboarding boys in front of Target threads. All together in this soft mess. Heartstrings.

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  1. I love this post and I SO know exactly what you mean. Especially about wanting to sleep in the car ;)I'm glad you had that experience with that kid to bring you back from the edge! When I have those days I actually remind myself to look for stuff like that – a little something to shake me out of it, make me smile, and remind me that everything is really fine (in the bigger sense of the word) and I will indeed survive the day.

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