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When it Feels Like There's Nothing Left

I should have realized it was too quiet.

What a textbook mistake as the mom of a toddler.

The side effects of my ongoing cancer treatment include fatigue and irritability (here's looking at You, Menopause!). Unwelcome guests when you're raising three young children. Most of the time I think I manage these pretty well. But some days it catches up to me. It feels like I have nothing left. Emotionally, it's really hard for me to be in a body that lacks the strength it once had. It takes significant self discipline to just Be.

Yesterday was one of the tough days. I fell asleep holding my third cup of coffee. (Third! The struggle is real.) Determined to take it easy, I settled in with a glass of water and my iPad. The kids were playing quietly while I was pinning cute clothes. Meal planning....I mean meal planning.

When the twins are up to something naughty, they giggle. Like their mama. I have always been able to catch them before they cause too much damage. They've lulled me into a false sense of security.

But this little boy of ours! There is such a thing as too quiet.

It turns out Eli was playing car wash. In the toilet. The entire bathroom floor was covered in standing water. One sudsy bath and a master-bathroom-deep-clean later, I was definitely no longer Taking It Easy.

Whenever I feel like I have nothing left to give them, when I'm struggling to be engaged with the kids, when I'm exhausted or grumpy or distracted (all three?), it transforms my mood to point the camera at them. I started using this tactic when I was going through chemo. Getting down at their level. Doing silly things to make them laugh. Capturing their joy. Forgetting about my stresses. I know some people say " be IN the moment with your kids, not just taking pictures of them." But these moments. I can assure you, I was IN these moments. We were in these moments. Together.

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