I am so sorry; I have toddlers

I am so sorry. I have this tendency to over apologize. As if the words convey the same amount of sincerity each time they are senselessly uttered like a montage of movie clips. Don’t be sorry. Be quiet. Sorry! (Spaceballs). When I get angry, I want to yell out that I am just so sorry. Sorry for all the things I cannot control and all the things that the rest of the world (or my anxiety) perceive as wrong. I’M SORRY, ASSHOLE! (Uncle Buck). These days, most of my apologies are toddler related. The things they do that are beyond my control.  I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end that came out of.” (Bridesmaids)

To the world; the unapproving stranger’s glance when I pull an Ipad out of my purse for my toddler and the looming Target meltdown. To the sock police, whose eyes the site of toddler feet in public have bludgeoned. To cashiers, servers, and customer service representatives who had to pretend their screaming voices are cute. To the person waiting for my parking spot as I buckle them in and dismantle a stroller. (or frustratingly say screw it and throw the entire unfolded beast in the back of my SUV) To the driver I flicked off in a fit of toddler style road rage, because driving is frustrating enough but then you add the stereo echo of crying and I am a kettle of boiling blood. To the three employees of Sears who collectively tried to stop my running son as he weaved in and out of washing machines and I trotted behind trying not to drop my crying daughter:

 

 

 

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One Year

One year later. those words keep echoing as I was writing this week’s essay. It is about growth, acceptance and adventure. My favorite topics to write about. As you are reading this, try this writing prompt: where were you last year? what did your expectations for the immediate future include and how is the reality different? 

I realize I am curled up next to a crackling fire. My toes are heating up and the night air above me takes on an embracing calm chill. I need this now more than ever. My phone is unable to reach a call, or a buzz of bank alerts as a reminder of how close I am to failing at this. But I can’t yet define failing as every day is just a struggle to get from one moment to the next. So many people depend on me not to fail that I may have been doomed before I started. (According to my anxiety) What a year it has been. I say to the fire, and the air. Here I am, writing in the dark. Living this moment a year later than when I started this journey. Two toddlers are asleep in a tent; I hear a soft roar of their snoring as I take my sigh of relief in the form of a freshly poured glass of wine. The fire is begging me for it and I am happy to abide. This is my therapy, my happy place. My love hate relationship with the world, especially the people in it, has pushed me toward solo relaxation. No waiting in line to use the restroom or nudging my way through crowds while lost in a sea of people watching – Just me, the fire, the chatter of my older daughters and light conversation with my husband.

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I Should Take a Day Off

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
October 12, 2017

I wrote the below essay when I was desperately trying to get the most out of a little free time. When we have a day off, are we truly able to shut down? This isn’t just for parents, but anyone who has trouble truly putting their mind in a relaxed state. 

I am taking a few hours off, I decide. From everything. I am ignoring the pile of dishes that beg for my attention like my absent toddlers. All these things ring in my head like the distant church bell echoing the words, “should, should, should” But guilt is always in my atmosphere. I should update my calendar, I should watch this show, and I should clean my room. My TV is stuck on the Netflix screen saver in all its glorious temptation of shows that reach for my legs to trap me like quick sand onto my couch. I hear Jackson’s little voice interpreting the show previews, as he often does. Orange is the New Black: look at all those doctors. The Crown: The princess is looking at a helicopter. House of Cards: Those guys are monsters. Fuller House: they are having a picnic and need another dog. Luke Cage: He is trying to get through the window. But Jackson isn’t home right now, and I really don’t want to watch TV.

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Uncomfortable

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
June 7, 2017

I lay in my hospital bed shortly after giving birth for the fourth time. A spot I knew too well. I struggle to find the right position that doesn’t rupture my still aching lower body, and upper body and tired brain. “Are you comfortable?” a nurse asks, after taking my temperature for the millionth time. “I think so.” I lie.

 I am in Cece’s bed. Again. She never wants to sleep all night, alone, or with her brother. I am too tired to train her, so it goes like this: she cries. I wake up. I glance at Josh’s loud snores, and I go to her room trying not to wake Jackson up as I crawl out of bed. He has been barreling out of his room lately just as we are about to go to bed. I spin another round of wondering if we will ever be the kind of family with normal sleeping arrangements, again. I cuddle next to Cece, calming her crying. She looks at me, “where Papa go?” she asks, drifting back to sleep. I kiss her squishy soft little cheek and try my best to ease my body into the mattress, between pillows and blankets. I pull a block from under my leg and set it under the bed. So often we end up scattered, like our various throw pillows, with at least one toddler awkwardly lying near my feet wondering what is going on beyond our closed eyes to get us here. Somehow, I am perfectly aligned with the direction of the bed and Cece curled right under my chin and we are breathing in sync. The air outside is unsettled as thunder rumbles a soft roar in the distance and the rain taps melodically against the window. I pull her even closer in a soft embrace, imagining the rain is feeding her growth like the outdoor garden we just planted. If I can just hold her long enough, I can stop it, or slow it down, or just enjoy it. My back is always sore from the many nights of sleeping where ever would calm a crying toddler. But yet, in this moment, the soft tap of rain is echoing her breathing. Her hair tickles my nose as it gently sways from the ceiling fan and her little golden curls move in a slow bounce, a contrast to the way they bounce about due to her awake constant motion. In this passing moment of a thunderstorm causing us to sleep too late, I am the most comfortable that I have been in a while.

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Motherly Advice

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
May 26, 2017

I hold on to Jackson’s arm as he flings him self around me on a set of bleachers. It is Layla’s eighth grade graduation and I was trying to hold onto some sort of emotion long enough to be nostalgic. It is really hard when my head turns like a wind up toy every time Jackson breathes funny. Josh had already taken Cece out to the hallway but I was stubbornly holding on to the notion that I would see them announce her name. I craved hearing the words they used to describe her, creative and poetic. I fought the urge to raise my hand and list off additional synonyms for Layla Taylor: artistic, unique, passionate, genuine, old soul, good friend. I can go on and on and on – and not just because I am her mother. “Are we bringing them to the ceremony?” she asked, in the snarky teenage tone that suddenly worked its way into her inflection range. “They can’t stay home alone.” I said, in my new defensive tone – a mom/teenage hybrid. This is common now. Teenagers and toddlers are the epitome of the self-centered years, the time in your life where being an asshole can be explained simply by referencing age and everyone nods in agreement. Trying to explain to Layla that Jackson’s behaviors are mostly because toddlers lack impulse control is like explaining to Jackson that Layla is hormonal.* Back in the gym, as I am just as focused onto Jackson and I am swallowing my tears as a beautiful girl stands on the podium, with a soft pink dress that contrasted her bright green hair, and she is giving a speech about how much middle school made her grow. I envied her, almost as much as I envied Layla, at the very beginning of adult hood with so much ahead. Like a Hallmark greeting card, I mouthed the words along knowing the theme and how graduations go. I look at Jackson; he is sitting on the step smiling at me. That smile, the way he twists his lips into a perfect little grin, he looks angelic – and completely full of mischief. I see the spark and he ignites, across the gym floor. I am spry and suddenly thankful for all the running I do as I dart across he gym after him. I could hear the entire gym laughing. My mouth can’t figure out whether to laugh or cry and my lips start shaking at the confusion. I realize half my bra may be hanging out, but I am moving too fast for anyone else to notice. “Good catch” someone comments as I scoop him up and drag him into the hallway.

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