I Will Be Happy, or So Help Me


Nothing will break my good mood — do you hear me, children? You cannot break me. Try as you might, and I’ll credit you all three for trying.

Now that I’m working part time, after years of working five days a week til 6 p.m., I am resolved to enjoy this new season. Through gritted teeth, maybe, but I will be smiling the whole time.

Not even did I whine when, on my Monday off, I pushed a stroller at a snail’s pace the 10 minutes to the park with a toddler strolling behind in her rain boots on an 80-degree sunny day; her 4-year-old sister pedaling her tricycle slowly, oh so slowly. See her stop to stare at a dog in a back yard … a car … la-di-dah. “Earth to you, A.,” I waved. “Ah yes,” she seemed to remember and resume one or two turns of the pedals, til she was distracted again.

This is cute, I forced myself to remember. You could be working, remember!, I scolded myself.

When we entered the park gate, I willed myself not to scream when A. didn’t even leave her bike before she declared “I hafta go potty.” Not even when we turned right around and again danced that awkward push-carry-drag routine across four cross streets while I fake-cheerfully yelled “Stay with Mama while we cross the street!” My back ached; my shirt clung to me in the heat. No, no! Still happy here!

You cannot break my stride, children.

Not even when we, hours later, were supposed to be having nap time and instead you, V., could be heard from my spot folding laundry in the room below, as you bounced on your knees on your bed, tossed out books, your cup, your diaper.

Your diaper, V. Honestly. Why. Why do you hate me? But no, no. I’m happy, I promise.

Or you, L., who stopped sleeping through the night in favor of more than a dozen wake-ups to have your pacifier put back in your mouth — but just long enough for me to fall face-first into bed and start dreaming again before you beckon. Why, dear child, can you not use your thumb?

Nevertheless, you cannot break me.

And I promise to go back to work Tuesday with a renewed sense that I cannot do that every day. But I will continue to prattle on about it, anyhow. Work, you cannot break me.


About Erin

Erin's a transplant Wisconsinite living with four people and a dog who strive daily to test her perfectionist traits. She and her husband, D., are learning to breathe normally again after outnumbering themselves in rapid succession with three girls -- A. (b. 2008), V. (b. 2010) and L. (b. 2012). She's constantly worried she's not doing it right (no matter what “it” is), but she's learning to act as if she has it all together by smiling and nodding a lot. She plans on taking her three kids out in public without another adult's assistance just as soon as never, and maybe not even then. She's an editor by profession, a writer by choice, and a new runner out of a need for an hour without someone pulling on her pant leg. She thinks few things can't be solved with some chocolate and peanut butter. Come to think of it, that makes running an appropriate hobby.

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