Shoooo? Oh, shoe! That's where toes go. I loooove toes.
His voices pitches higher and lower as he says it, inflecting his excitement. Towards the end he'll move towards me holding his hands out in a tickling motion. He's already grinning from ear to ear.
He reaches forward and begins to tickle me, in what is really more of a poke all over. I pretend to giggle and scream and run away from him. I hear his little voice starting to say it again, giggling just as much as I am. We chase each other around, taking turns saying this line from our new favorite book. Over and over again, giggling and giggling again.
It's moments like these that I don't want to forget. Because there are days, more lately than there used to be, that I question if I'm still a good mother. It's no secret that Holl & Lane has taken up my time. It's no secret that I'm struggling in my roles of employee, business owner, wife, and mother. And lately it seems like I'm struggling more than I used to, that I'm less present than I once was, that I'm drowning in a sea of failures. What kind of mother chooses time to work on her business over time with her family?
I'm sitting at my desk in the basement, working for the fourth night in a row. Editing, designing, preparing, deciding. It's a circle that I go through every single day with a to-do list that is growing larger no matter how much time I spend ticking off the boxes. Above me I hear screeches, running footsteps, followed by more screeches. I hear yells of "Watch this Daddy!" and can picture Henry throwing himself off the couch into Brandon's arms as they wrestle each night. I can feel their bond getting tighter while my own bond with Henry and with Brandon feels as if it's slipping away from me. But still I continue to work.
I'm told to think of the little things in life, remember what I'm doing all this for, remember why I'm so exhausted. So I think about the wrestling, and I think about sitting down to play a puzzle, and I think about cuddling up to watch the same show for the tenth time in a row. I think about those things and tears come to my eyes because they are incredibly important to me. They're the reason I feel as if I'm killing myself day in and day out to create a life that allows me to have those moments every single day, not just on the weekends. And yet, what am I losing in the meantime?
My business coach tells me it's okay to feel the feelings and to feel sad and frustrated and angry and sad again. So I feel them. I allow them to rush through my body until the tears prick the corners of my eyes. And I wait to feel better.
"Again", he says to me, already scrunching up his face, preparing for the tickling.
"Shoo? Oh, shoe! That's where toes go. I looooove toes." I pause life and say this line over and over again. Giggling and giggling again. Waiting to feel better.