By: Mia L. Black
I woke up on Sunday morning to the soft cooing of our 19 month-old daughter down the hall in her crib. My eyes flickered and I turned to roll over to my snoring husband, only to hear, “ouch” from our six year-old daughter, who had snuck into the bed in the wee hours of the morning. I apologize for elbowing her and relay that I did not see her, only to be interrupted by a loud, “Mooomeeeee” from down the hall. Apparently our voices had traveled and now she wanted to be included in all the fun. It was going on nine o’clock as I swung my feet out of bed. I had actually gotten to “sleep in.”
I stepped into the hallway and caught a glimpse of my daughter facing me with arms in the air, ready for me to scoop her up. My major dilemma at this point came down to, do I go pick her up, change her, and let her begin her day, or do I make a quick pit stop at the bathroom and listen to her scream and cry as I disappear from sight? I opt for the latter. No sooner do I get into the bathroom…the wailing begins. The door is wide open, I try to soothe her as I finish my business and wash my hands. Meanwhile, my husband still lay at rest and my six year-old is standing in the doorway giving me the second to second update of her sister’s tantrum. Mind you I have only been up for four minutes.
I get the kids situated, fed and begin dinner. Because I am going to make a beef stew and crock pot it all day, I want to turn it on for at least six hours. What should take about twenty minutes from beginning to end, takes me close to forty-five. I have opted to only get involved in my daughters’ arguments if they become physical. Unfortunately for dinner that happened three times….all the while, my husband lay at peace in the bedroom. I finally finished dinner preparation and tried to figure out what I would eat for breakfast at about eleven o’clock. I made me and my husband breakfast, which of course made my daughters hungry again. As we were finishing our breakfast (going on noon) I had the idea to write this exact blog. My husband said he would take care of the dishes and put the baby down for her afternoon nap. With the girls sharing a bedroom, nap time means our oldest must remove everything she wants to play with before the baby goes down. This usually means all of her toys take over my living room.
I get to my couch, coffee in hand and pull my laptop out. I check my emails and try to formulate in my head what I am going to write. I kick out my first sentence and my daughter leans on me to view what I am writing. I know this doesn’t sound right, but after about four times of telling her to stop leaning on me and go play, I wanted to just push her. Yes, I said it, a grown ass woman felt like pushing a six year-old. I was not able to get through three more sentences with any type of flow, because every time she moved I would punch the wrong key. I spent more time correcting than I did typing. Meanwhile, my husband had gone back to bed. As I complete my first paragraph, she now tells me she wants lunch. I am so annoyed at this point, that I tell her to go tell her father.
Finally peace.I reread what I have typed and erase it all. Not at all where I wanted to go with the story. Two minutes into my peace, I can hear my daughter running towards the living room. “Mommy, Daddy said come quick into the kitchen. He’s not even playin’. It’s really an emergency.” She retreats. I close my computer down defeated. I make the decision not to jump right to my husband’s rescue, but instead lean my head back and take a quick doze. Upon his messenger’s second request, I drag myself into the kitchen. My husband is wiping spillage around the crock pot with my good hand towel. This is the emergency? I think to myself. How could this be an emergency? I’m only glad I came into the kitchen when I did, after he tells me what he was going to do to our dinner. He was going to dump out all the “juice.” I’m thinking “juice?” You mean you were going to dump out the stew? I repot the stew and save dinner.
My daughter goes and eats her lunch and I begin my blog again. Again my husband returns to bed. At this point I begin to think, is this what it’s all about? Is this life when you have no plans? If not for the horrible weather, we probably would have gone shopping or to go visit someone, but I had no plans. I wasn’t pulling the family out into the storm. So now all four of us are stuck in the house, all trying to do our own thing, but I seem to be the only one jumping to everyone’s rescue. Because no sooner am I a paragraph into my blog, when our youngest wakes up. I try to outwait my husband, but he is not trying to budge from his rest. All the while our six year-old is running to each one of us, to announce that her sister is awake. I finally get up annoyed and stomp to our daughter’s room. I peak up the hallway to see my husband act as if he is going to get out of bed. I kiss my daughter, take her out of her crib, and bring her and a new diaper to my bedroom. I drop them off and turn to leave the room. I stumble over my six year-old because since I left the living room, she has been inches from me.
She follows me to the bathroom and I gently push her back from the door, and proceed to shut and lock the door behind me. I don’t have to go to the bathroom, but it is the only door that has a lock. I sit on the toilet and hear my daughter cry outside. A minute goes by and the crying is joined by, “Moooooomeeeeeeeee”. I’m not sure how much time passed until they realize I wasn’t coming out. But I finally won when I heard the sweet sound of victory, “Daaaaadeeeeeee.” I smile and listen to him tell them to go find me. They tattle and relay I am locked in the bathroom. My victory is short lived because then I have all three of them on the other side of the door trying to get in. Again I question myself, is this what it’s about? Is this what my life has come to? Locking myself away from my family? In the bathroom at that?I summon up the courage and unlock the door. I look into hurt confused faces and try to step around them and make my way back to the living room. Before I take a second step, my husband wants to know what is wrong, my six year-old tells me she is going to poop and will need help wiping herself, all the while in the background, “Mommy, Mommy, Mooommmeeee.”
I somehow feel like a bad mom, because I have done nothing with my family. I decide to make Christmas cookies. My husband finds a new location to do nothing, the living room with the football game. I pull out bowls, ingredients, and the mixer. I take the youngest into the living room and ask my husband if he can watch her while we make cookies. He doesn’t budge and says yes. I don’t even make it back to the kitchen before I hear a little pitter patter following me back into the kitchen. I go back and stand in the doorway and glare at my husband. He is completely dumbfounded and asks me “What?” He looks back at the TV and calls for our youngest. I manage to make the cookie dough and then have to deal with a meltdown with my daughter, because she doesn’t understand why you have to refrigerate the dough after you make it.
By this time I want to fall on my face and I am checking the clock at three in the afternoon. Five more hours, just five more hours until bedtime. Again, is this what it’s all about? Six hours in with these people and I’m already wishing it was their bedtime? But I won’t allow them to break me, I press on and walk into the living room. My husband is getting on his shoveling gear and the kids are within inches of him. I’ve come to notice with these little people, there is no such thing as personal space. They have to be right on top of you. I decide to let them get a little energy out…I simply lie on the floor. I don’t make it all the way down until they are on top of me. Laughing, giggling and having a ball at my expense, all because I am laying on the floor and they are able to sit, jump and play on top of me. My husband goes outside to shovel and I play as their jungle gym for the next twenty minutes.
I look at their happy faces and am able to answer my question with the question. Yes, this is what it’s about. It’s about being the occasional jungle gym, the referee, the cook, the refugee, the caretaker, the problem solver…all and all, it’s summed up in two words, mother/wife. So it may be two days later that I am now getting the peace to write and post this blog, but these past two days with my family have been worth it.