Laura called me out the other day, asking me if I was grumpy.

It was second or third thing in the morning, on a weekend, and I was making breakfast per her request. I vividly remember my completely normal reaction.

The defensiveness bubbled up, immediate, visceral, hot.

I wasn’t grumpy. What the hell was she talking about? And even if I was, it was justified. I’d had to change my morning routine to deal with a sick kid, I hadn’t gotten anything done that I was supposed to, and…

This whole inner monologue took less than a second to get me worked up, but at about that point I noticed what my brain was doing. In stepping back I saw the machinery, and realized I had a choice.

“Yeah, I think I am grumpy,” I admitted. It was the hardest thing to do.

“Okay,” Laura said, giving me a side-eye and going back to what she was doing, which I noticed was juggling both of our boys so that I could cook in peace.

When I put eggs and bacon on the table, I realized that I wasn’t grumpy anymore. I couldn’t tell when the feeling had passed.

We went to the zoo that day with friends. I still remember Laura and I watching the kids getting their faces painted.

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