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Kerry McLean: Why my morning from hell reminded me to celebrate life's little victories

By Kerry McLean

I had one of 'those' days this week, the kind of 24 hours that make you wonder why you just can't call time, go back to bed and wait for the day to reset itself. It started abruptly at half five in the morning, with my youngest climbing into bed for a cuddle. Normally having that warm wee bundle snuggle up to me is the perfect way to start my day but, for some reason, on this occasion, she twisted and turned so much that she eventually settled upside down. A fact I didn't realise until I got a boot to the head and had to make a bleary-eyed, half-awake dash to the bathroom for toilet roll to shove up my nostril to stem a nose bleed.

Not exceptional in terms of starts to the day. But what followed was a litany of errors and mistakes on my part that made me wonder if I'd accidentally walked under a ladder whilst carrying a black cat and smashing several mirrors.

I poured out cereal for the older two and absentmindedly topped them off with boiling water from the kettle, instead of milk.

I dashed upstairs for a quick shower but afterwards, in my hurry, instead of putting on moisturiser, I accidentally grabbed baby wash, rubbing the slimy stuff on my face before my brain connected the dots and I realised what I'd done.

Downstairs again and the toddler handed me her half-eaten slice of toast, and I did what many parents do - promptly finished it off. It was only afterwards that she looked at me and explained, 'Baby not want that toast because Tarka licked it'. Great. So I'd had toast half-chewed by the baby and the dog for breakfast. Speaking of which, I forgot to let the dog out into the garden before heading off on the school run and returned to find a guilty looking girl sitting beside a puddle on the hall floor.

And all this before nine o'clock in the morning.

Fighting the urge to climb into bed and pull the duvet over my head, I got ready and headed off to work, attempting to shake the feeling of doom from my shoulders and reminding myself not to sweat the small stuff. But then, the small stuff can feel pretty large most days. There are only a certain amount of big events, good or bad, in our lives. Good like your wedding day or the moment your babies are born. Birthdays and holidays are up there too, as are the days you start and finish school. Bad like the day you lose a job or a home or, more importantly, someone you love. Unless you're creating a cure for cancer or you're bringing about world peace, most of us have lives that are made up of minor moments, which is why we should celebrate the little victories in life.

So, forgetting all the unfortunate events of that morning, I have decided to concentrate on my tiny triumphs this week. Starting off with getting my hands on the last clean, dry towel. Unless you live in a big family, you'll not quite understand what a rare and wonderful treat that is. Towels are more precious than gold in this house and not having to reuse a damp one abandoned by the kids on their bedroom floor is a thing of joy.

I dropped off my precious pooch at the groomers for her summer haircut. Not only does she look gorgeous but, because my hubby collected her, he paid the bill. Result!

I was sitting at work when the horrible, panicky thought hit me that my parking had run out an hour beforehand. I lumbered down to the car, ready to take my punishment, only to see a complete absence of that little tell-tale white sticker on the windscreen. I'd escaped without a ticket!

You see, small victories are the important things to concentrate on and the moments that put a smile on our faces. I've never been great at maths, but I know that if we can finish a day with more pluses than minuses, we're doing okay. That adds up for me.

Belfast Telegraph

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