We had a beautiful weekend, basking in family and friends into wee hours - laughing enough to earn new wrinkles, and bodies hurting with cheated sleep and heavy eyes. BUT too many late nights is a sure way to empty a child of their sweetness. Even in silence they are growly today - painting their faces in all manner of 'Back off, momma!'
They sit at the table while I reheat leftovers for dinner, one trying to tell the other of some wonderful new level they've reached in their ever important gaming world. "Just be quiet, Zander! I don't care!" Liam spits across the table.
"You're being an idiot!" Zander spits right back.
"Hey!" I call out, turning from stirring the gravy, dripping it on the floor and my sock. They freeze and glare at me. "What does that make you?" I ask Zander.
His jaw works and anger darts from his eyes in frantic beams of chaos. I hold his gaze as if I've shackled his eyes to mine. Slowly he softens. It's like watching a flower turn to the sun. "It makes me a bully," he says quietly.
"And Liam," I say. "What does that make you, talking to your brother like that?"
"Mean," he says.
I serve them their plates and we hold hands like we like each other. Noa prays and we eat quietly. "We're all tired," I finally say. "It's early to bed tonight."
No one argues. They know. I can see it in the shadows that hang beneath their eyes.
Not every day can be perfect.
But every day can be redeemed.
"I love you," I say to each of them as I tuck them in - even that big thirteen year old who doesn't think he needs me anymore.
"Love you too," they each say back and I'm sure they mostly mean it.
Tomorrow will be a better day.