Lately, I just keep running. My brain is so full. I am a bottle of champagne just waiting to be corked and running allows me to pop the cork, no one else. I need an appointment with my own thoughts, but they were so busy they couldn’t fit me in. So it got clogged. I made mistakes, first little ones then much larger ones. Or was it a lot of little ones that made me look like one big failure? Either way, I didn’t have time to organize my (many) thoughts. And the cork blew on me. With running, I am alone in my head, letting it all go. All those analysis, those worries, the funny musings and the downright cliché; it all piled on top of each other, like the laundry I don’t have time to sort. This isn’t something that happened last year or recently; this is a lifetime of bubbling anxiety. I need to get healthy. I promised myself.
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.
Confidence. That word is kicked around a lot. The only confidence I can count on is the ability to settle a constant dispute between toddlers. Barely. Confidence. What does it mean? I own this room. I landed that job. I made that sale. Is it being completely comfortable in your own skin? I think about it a lot. I scribble, “work on confidence” on the top of my carefully selected 2017 planner. My guide to a beautiful life, it promises. The flower pattern on the cover is too irresistible to pass up. I want to work on my confidence. I have been meaning to do that for a while now since it has been a long struggle for me. Somewhere, I will always be that twelve-year-old girl who was the butt of unattractive jokes. When I am feeling especially down on myself, I can hear whispers of past classmates, loser. Adolescence came at me pretty fast; I wasn’t prepared to be a woman. I was happy just being a kid. I was perfectly content to hang out at my friend’s pool wearing a neon pink bathing suit that my mom picked out, not thinking twice about how it makes my boobs look or whether or not I should have shaved. Last year brought a lot of that feeling back. The fourth baby was a total shocker. I wasn’t prepared to be a full-time working mother of four. And like my sad attempt to hide my blossoming sixth grade chest in a sports bra under my uniform white tennis shirt, I wasn’t fooling anyone. And dwindling amount of confidence I had going into 2016 completely faded by the end of the year.
I am running around the house trying to prepare for another holiday gathering. Presents need to be wrapped bought, and my house is in its normal state of cluttered chaos. Why do they need to dump the toy bins to play with one little thing? Cece has attached herself to my leg and Jackson weaseled a bike in from outside and was running over my foot, again. The girls were just waking up and their faces were glued to some device. I was letting Josh sleep in since he was fresh off two double shifts. I stood there, looking down at my ratty sweat pants tucked into my slipper boots and stopped in the now familiar command: breathe
“Hell of a winter we are having, eh?” An imagined passerby calls out to me smiling at the two toddlers playing around in the back yard. I tell myself they are some how missing the piles of dog poop were buried under the snow then thawed back out. Another thing on my to do list. I sigh as I am oddly reminded of the three-inch layer of dust on my windowsill. Jackson and Cece are battling each other with sticks as the dog darts out of the way. They are probably too young to be playing with those sticks. Oh wait, I stopped giving a shit what people thought especially in the judgment free zone that is my back yard. The trees are shaking in the loneliness that comes about when all your leaves have fallen. The breeze causes a ripple shiver in my shoulder. My watch dings. Breathe. I inhale, my gaze softening on the babies giggling around the yard. I exhale these insignificant moments of my day that I
will most likely forget tomorrow. I just breathe.