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I conceived of this space as a refuge, a haven, a reminder. I come here to celebrate the Happy Corners in our lives, and there are many to celebrate. And yet, the very title, “Happy Corner,” is proof that there are those corners that are not.

This stuff is so very hard. Loving, working, parenting, teaching, creating, learning,  remembering, cleaning, growing, caring. It’s a lot. No matter how deeply I breathe, how much I try to move through one thing at a time, some days I just can’t do it. Some days I’m inert, paralyzed by the sheer enormity of all that depends on me. Some days I’m not very nice.

This afternoon I was shepherding boys out the door to play. My motives were mixed, I admit. Primarily, I wanted for them to be out-of-doors, to build forts and sculptures from the perfect packing snow, to breathe the air, to move their bodies, to be part of the earth. But also, I wanted them to be away. Away from the piles of laundry needing folded, from the mountain of papers needing grades, from my own foul humor. Out.

Silas dawdled, as always. Oh, this boy of mine. He is so much mine. Lost in daydreams and big schemes, distracted by anything that bears the printed word, he’s always the last one ready. But today, with Emerson already outside alone, with my temper eroding each second, I needed him out.

“Good grief, boy! Do you have any speed other than slow?”

Yes, I said those words. In that tone. And even as my mouth was moving I knew that it needed to stop. But it didn’t. And in a small mean way, it almost felt good to voice some of that frustration.

He was only quiet a second.

“Good grief, Mom! Don’t you have any mood other than mad?”

That hit the mark. Did I have any mood other than mad? To a small boy, it probably hadn’t seemed like it lately.

So now I’m breathing. It’s not perfect, and for right now at least my calm is more act than actuality. But I’m trying to be mindful of the atmosphere I create, and to act with intention rather than reacting with fear or anger. I’ve walked away from the work for a little while, and I’m trying really hard not to worry about it. It’s not going anywhere, after all. On the other hand, my boys are going somewhere, and a lot faster than I’d like.

I do have moods other than mad, and I guess I’d better make a pretty serious effort to find them more often.