*Drafted the day of the Newtown massacre.

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The whining is a gift. So too, the exaggerated shoulder slumping and foot slamming that comes with it. The forty-fifth time she asks for the iPad is a gift, even after she’s been told “No” forty-four previous times. The flopping around on the bathroom floor to avoid the toothbrush. The screaming about not wanting to take a bath. The water’s too hot. The water’s too cold. The water’s too wet. Each of those howls of protest are gifts. The milk spilled in the car, the peanut butter on the new couch. The second shirt every morning because the first was so very wrong. The tutu and tiara and baseball glove and twirling, twirling when it needs to be pajamas and bedtime. Running over there when I said to “Come here.” Outside voice when it’s time to use inside voice. A whine for ice cream when dinner is untouched on the plate.

It’s a gift to be irritated with them. It’s a gift to be frustrated with them. It’s a gift to be exasperated with them. It’s a gift to be with them.

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