The screaming started before sunlight could filter through the curtains. Exhausted from another sleepless night with the baby, I pulled my husband's pillow over my head. No matter how tightly I held it, W's angry wails and the patient tone of my husband's indecipherable words still bled through. Pain gathered and knotted at the base of my head, its roots growing deep into my neck and shoulders, as I imagined the catastrophe that caused such a reaction.
Did someone else flush the toilet? Did he need help reaching his cars? Did he forget how to speak English?
After a wordless detour to drop off the baby, my husband headed to the kitchen to start breakfast with the big boys. But while I lay in bed nursing, the barrage continued on the other side of the door. One crisis calmed, the next exploding seconds later. Even without joining the fray, I knew the root of the problem. Like everyone else in our house, W had not gotten enough sleep the night before.
Feeling slightly guilty about my reprieve from the action, if not the noise, I readied myself to provide backup, but frustration over W's behavior and our inability to redirect him mounted instantly. Every shrill sound from my son's scrunched up face ratcheted up the tension in my head, and I found myself wishing I could climb back in bed and erase the day.
The next calamity struck when W flung his shirt down the hall and demanded I pick it up. When I restated my request for him to bring me the shirt, he launched a full-fledged toddler tantrum. I was near my breaking point.
I closed my eyes, working hard to regroup.
I am the adult. I am patient. I am calm. I will not snap.
The screaming intensified as he called my name, trying regain my attention.
My eyes shut tighter. The thrumming in my head grew stronger. I took a deep breath.
Just then, my husband walked over. Kneeling beside our son, he drew him close and whispered in his ear. W continued his fit, and my husband pulled him in again, whispering so quietly only W could hear.
This time W stilled, and I opened my eyes.
E, who had watched the entire scene unfold, chose that moment to speak. "Mommy?" he asked, "Is that how God talks to us?"
Time froze as I tried to process the magnitude of his question. In the blaring chaos of my days, there is a beauty that never fails to peek through. A speck that stills me. Is this how God talks to me?
Finally able to speak, I answered. "Yes, Baby. That is how God talks to us."
Another moment of beauty at the end of a long day.