To be absolutely clear: I need to write like I need to breathe. Inhale and exhale the words onto the page, a release of expression, aaah so freeing. I say anything I want. As I am still navigating my way through this new life, I take pride in the evolution of the process. But seriously, how do I ever find any time to write? I actually get this question quite often. I have four kids and as many jobs, and routine dedication to writing is an ongoing attempt to manage my sanity, to compress my anxiety and filter out the toxic thoughts. I fear the person I will become if I don’t write. (The person I was). Write in the morning. I tell myself. Write at night. Write while the kids are eating lunch, write while they are playing outside. In reality, I scamper through my house with my notebook tucked under my arm, trying to jot a few things down, hopeful for a prompt for later or a feeling that just needed to come out.
Love of Health
Last day of the month. Love month is almost over and this post almost didn’t make it. When a family of six gets sick, it is pretty much game over.
I have plans. Big plans. The week started with a list of demands that has me wondering if I am, once again, “just trying to get by” at too many jobs. But isn’t that what motherhood, or just adulthood, is? I sat on my bed, my to-do list physically sprinkled about my cross folded legs. This is how I work best, sitting on my bed with everything laid out in front of me. My slippers slide my running shoes under the bed and cuddled onto my feet in silent encouragement that it was ok to skip my run today. My stomach dipped. I instinctively knew to lie down, slowly pulling my legs closer and closer into my chest. Suddenly I was nestled deep in my to-do list and I wanted to sleep. My stomach quivered in the way that is usually reserved for anxiety. Great, I have overwhelmed my self to sleep like a scary lullaby – a rocky –a- bye baby for the modern world. But it wasn’t anxiety. Fuck. I realized. It was nausea. I don’t have time to get sick. I cursed. Josh was home to work to check on me shortly after. I got the nap blessing and the “take all the time you need” reassurance to my health. I knew it was short lived, Layla, Jackson and Cece had been infected, and it was only a matter of time before we turned to puke zombies and healthy babies outnumbered healthy adults. I tried to force sleep but my stomach taunted me to stay awake. Just say it. It would say. No. No. I pleaded, desperate for sleep. Say it! Fine. I want to throw up. Please, I just want to throw up. My wish was granted. Infected count: 4-2.
Love and Marriage
Continuing the theme for the month of love, I reflected on something I normally don’t write about (at least publish), my husband and my marriage.
I look at the clock again, it’s a quarter past stuck in time with two toddlers. There is a melodic echo of a knife smacking down on the cutting board; I am preparing dinner. The drawer next to me squeaks and I close it again, careful not to pinch the small fingers that keep desperately prying it open to pull out one more measuring cup. It topples out, plastic, disposable, already knowing the fate of soon becoming buried in mystery corners of the house. 1/3 cup. Who needs that one? I fill it with sweet cereal hoping that will allow me to finish chopping carrots. The clock reminds me of how much longer until he comes home and I crave him walking in the front door with fresh relief and companionship.
For the Love of Toddlers
Maybe it is midnight. Maybe it is four am. I am emotionally and physically exhausted; as I have been for the last few years. Am I still watching TV? Mountains dissolve into the screen answering my question: screen saver is on. A tiny voice yells out. First it cries, then begins saying my name “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” with increasing desperation. Jackson. I open the bedroom door. “Blue stars. Need blue stars.” He says knowing I will be sleeping next to him tonight. I turn on the stars, (part of a toy that shuts off after twenty minutes) reminding my self to continue looking for his missing nightlight. He rolls over, as if the crying never existed, and burrows his head into the space between my chin and shoulders. I kiss him on the forehead and whisper, “love you”. “I luff you Mommy” he whispers back.
My Not-so-typical Teenagers
To be a parent to teenagers and toddlers often puts me into a weird parenting tug-of-war. Then I take a step back and realize the advantages I have. This week I focused on a little ode to my beautiful teenage (well Liv, 12, is technically not a teenager yet..) daughters.
I am in my car, with two toddlers. Only a two and half hours until home. I reassure myself. A quick check to the rear view mirror reminds me that I am alone with them. The older two are at home. Help Mommy! Ipad stuck! Jackson shrieks as I pull onto the freeway. He locked it. I curse. Mamamamamamamamamamama!!! Cece chimes in. Her arms reaching out trying to hand me the bag of cereal she was eating. I watch as she sprinkles half the bag onto the car floor I had just cleaned. I see a Mickey Mouse book beyond my reach. Refocusing my attention on the road, I turn up the music. “I had that dream; that you were mine. I had that dream a thousand times; The car seems lonely, I realize how much I miss my girls. I don’t hear their chatter: silly, sarcastic, intelligent, confusing, and comforting. I want to see their faces when I surprise them with hot chocolate from Starbucks; a gesture of appreciation for them fixing the Ipad for Jackson or replacing the cereal in Cece’s outstretched little arm for the book in front of her feet. My thought haze dissolves as Cece coughs up green Lucky Charm tinted blob of vomit.