Sitting here, trying to be grateful for all of it, today.
But in the end, irritation prevails as my plans for work and escaping the house and never ending demands of motherhood have been thwarted by the most demanding of all, a vomiting toddler.
A good excuse to stay in and vacuum countless cracker crumbs up off the neglected living room floor while sick toddler and just fine older brother binge watch Netflix on this hot and muggy morning. At least I finally have that chance to clean those living room windows so I can actually see what’s happening out there in a world that I feel is spinning around at warp speed while this inner world which I have chosen seems to be standing still.
The struggle so many of us face. Those who have chosen this lifestyle, or maybe the life style chose us, yearning to be singing as Snow White in constant optimism of the most menial of jobs, but in reality acknowledging, as we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the hallway mirror, noticing we are wearing breakfast instead of eating it, that each day feels a little bit like all the rest, and wondering, when will we finally get a chance to write that short story that has been brewing for months in the back of our brains? When will we have the energy to finally read that book- or even just get through the first damned chapter without falling asleep? When will w find the time and energy to stop drinking white wine during the witching hour and finally lose that 10 pounds? When?
When will it get easier? This load of being constantly needed- forever wanted -always being touched?
Sometimes I think it actually hurts my body, all this constant needing. And just as I twist to work that kink out of my crooked and tender back, someone falls on the floor in a sobbing heap, or has drawn me the most prolific of pictures and my attention once again goes from my own aches and pains, sorrows and griefs to that of kissing boo-boos and knees, washing sticky fingers and retrieving yet ANOTHER snack as the afternoon gives way to another evening of warm and yellow summer sun.
I really should be more thankful.
The older one, crawls onto me as I am trying to settle in on the sofa, savoring the luxury of a second cup of coffee for the day, while the younger one is passed out, letting sleep heal and do its thing, sits up and runs his finger over the scar still healing across my neck and asks me if it hurts. Not anymore, I tell him, taking another sip.
He asks to hear the story of how he was born- inwardly, I know, as much as I am craving solitude and caffeine, these moments of connection matter, for me, even more than him really, and so I begin, searching my memory for the very abridged version, because he’s still too young to understand the meaning of time and how it heals, or at least this is my belief.
I refrain from telling him about the moment I realized I was pregnant with him only weeks after the greatest trauma I will ever endure, and how I didn’t think I could be a mother in the state I was in, but that motherhood, at that EXACT time, was indeed, and forever more will have been the greatest and most generous gift that has ever been granted me.
After a few memories, he finishes his own story of life by describing how he popped out of my belly and then the doctors stitched me up. I smile and leave it for another day. Seems about right.
Did having him pop out of my belly hurt? He asks.
I tell him the truth.
It hurt a lot. But more than just the stitches in my tummy.
I leave that part out, only for me.
Knowing and so wise, his soulful brown eyes, I swear, could see, just for an instant, into my mother’s soul as he gently shook his head and answered:
It’s ok for things to hurt sometimes, Mama, they won’t hurt forever…it takes time, but things always heal.
Then he laid down next to me, and within moments, fell into a deep and delicious sleep.
I write this so I can remember. In case my mind betrays me someday and decides to forget. When I am hopefully old and listless, knowing I’m the burden instead of the lifter, I want to find a copy of this pasted inside my journal so I can remember the long days that belong to the short years, that the hours spent seemingly doing nothing, but in the space and time of watching butterflies dance and birds flit in and out, whiling away hours answering the same questions, picking up the same toys thinking the same thoughts…all of that time I wasn’t doing nothing-
All that time, I was just healing.