In the midst of an endless sea of exhaustion, irritability, sickness, whining, and general misery, a buoy popped up. Its name was sugar. We discovered this buoy by accident–okay, by reluctant, grandma-induced temporarily single parent permission–and then the children clung to this buoy like the life preserver it was. When only fifteen minutes earlier, I was begging for anyone to answer me without tears (“I don’t care what the answer is, can you just say it without crying? Okay, without whining, either? No? Hello, puddle of child rolling on the floor?”), I was now chuckling alongside two belly-laughing children. Everything was funny! Everything was fun! Every answer was right! And funny! And fun! They were happy, blissfully happy. I felt like my children had emerged from somewhere very unpleasant. I felt like it was a gift.
It was sugar. I know it was sugar. I know I shouldn’t have let them have it in the first place. I know there are moms right now clucking their tongues at me and my irresponsible ways. But still, I have to admit that the forty-five minutes that followed were the most delightful forty-five minutes of my entire day. It just makes me wonder, wading into that sea again today, if there’s anything that would work quite the same? Because while sugar is, of course, not good, neither is misery.