Every morning after waking up and taking a shower, I put on a mask.
After hustling and bustling and getting everyone where they need to be, I put a smile on my face and wear it as a mask. I try to act normal and positive, and take each day minute by minute, task by task. I try to forget certain realities, focus on the miracles, or just focus on each individual task at hand.
I keep hoping that if I do everything right, make it look like life is good, then it simply will be good. Everything will be okay.
This morning I woke up too early and I couldn’t go back to sleep, despite being extremely tired. I showered and put on my mask again, like every morning.
I silently walked past the basket of clean towels still sitting in my living room.
I silently walked past my not-done homework and the file folder of uncorrected papers.
I silently walked past the mess in my kitchen.
Then I heard my son say something negative, for the tenth time that morning, Finally, I stopped. Stared. Reacted.
“Why can’t you be positive? Why can’t we find the good in this world?”
I wanted to scream, yell and lose control. Instead, I ran into my room and cried.
I cried for not being the mom my kids deserve. I cried for my tiredness. I cried for my imperfections. I cried for my husband who is struggling with this round of chemo. I cried for the stressors. I cried for the overwhelming generosity. I cried for the illness, and the stresses it causes. I cried for having a job that does not completely support a family of four. And I cried for the fact that I let my kids see the mask fall off.
After a few minutes, I stopped crying and tried something new.
I paused, and took a deep breath.
I forgave myself. I forgave myself for the imperfections, the messes. I forgave myself for losing my mask. I forgave myself for the sleepless nights and the stress and worry. I even forgave myself the mistakes of the day I had yet to make.
I released myself. I released myself from getting everything done on time. I released myself from class if I need to. I released myself from some of the pressures of life.
I looked forward. I looked into the day and took it in small chunks: seconds, minutes, hours. I celebrated the successes, no matter how small.
Today, I learned that some days the mask is going to crumble, but I don’t have to. Pause. Forgive. Release. Move forward.
Courtney is a wife, mom, teacher, photographer, writer and dreamer. She loves her perfectly imperfect family and all of the adventures they have together. Follow Courtney on her blog, Our Small Moments.