“So,” someone will inevitably ask you by the end of the day.
“What did you do today?”
And you can tell them about lists checked off and conference calls and the crock pot you had to run through the dishwasher and still rinse out by hand. You can tell them about the chips crushed into the carpet that you vacuumed out or the four rooms that you swept clean. You can tell them about trips to the library and loads of laundry washed and folded.
You can tell them about diapers and changes of baby clothes and potty training sessions.
You can tell them about breakfast burned and abandoned for bagels or the temper tantrum that raged all the way to the car and down the school corridor and into the classroom. You can tell about Dollar store bows and arrows and the breakdown the minute they inevitably broke down after only an hour of use. You can tell them about Skype calls and text messages and deadlines ticking ever louder.
You can tell them about packing and families far away and road trip preparation and those two Target runs from yesterday.
You can tell them about the gum you cut out of someone’s hair or the temporary tattoo that seems to have morphed into something permanent on someone else’s cheek that you’ve tried everything to scrub off.
You can tell them about that last frustrating call for one more cup of water or kiss or paragraph of the book that never ends.
You can tell them about the last hour of daylight before bath and bed and comatose sleep. And how slowly the clock ticks toward nine.
You can tell them all this and it will be true.
Or you can tell them, “I changed the world today.”
You can tell them how you fought back the dark and held back the tide of all the broken, upside down bits and pieces and jagged names that this world will tsunami at our children.
You can tell them how you ran miles in the marathon of raising tiny humans who can make sense of their own emotions, choices, wants, fears and passions.
You can tell them that you stood in the gap, that you shone a light, that you cheered the loudest and sometimes it sounded like a second helping of Nutella spread thick on a slice of toast with a cup of hot, sweet tea.
You can tell them that you saved lives and dreams today.
That you learned how to listen and cry and open your arms to people who just five minutes earlier were pushing and pushing as hard against you as they will cling to you five minutes later. That you bandaged broken hearts and super glued a tender sense of self and hope and purpose back together again. Gently. Deliberately. With a shaking hand and a desperation you can hardly swallow past.
You can tell them that you made executive decisions that were questioned and challenged and ridiculed and sometimes accepted with bad grace and tears. But that you kept your head and your temper and you double dog dare any executive to top that kind of drama and guilt and determination all rolled up into a half hour chunk of the afternoon.
You can tell them you practiced brave like your life depended on it. Because it does.
You can tell them that you were artist, doctor, psychiatrist, beautician, chef, and personal trainer all in the space of one spin around the sun.
You can tell them that you were broken today. That you need to find a way to put yourself back together again before tomorrow.
You can tell them that you were beloved today. That you need to find a way to remember all this glory that will be starting up again tomorrow.
You can tell them that you are brave, weighed down, broken, and brand new all in the same breath.
You can tell them that you have bruises, but that you wouldn’t trade them.
And not for all the tomorrows.
And that will be the truth too.