Last Tuesday, one of the kids, excited to help set the table for dinner, carried a heavy Pyrex lidded bowl of beet soup to the dinner table. It was on the tip of my tongue to say That’s too heavy; let me do it. But I stopped myself, and watched, self-congratulatory at letting my kids be independent and responsible.
Then (maybe predictably?) the kid’s socks slipped on the wood floor and suddenly: glass and pureed beets covering a 3-foot-square area mostly under the dining room table.
Miraculously, no one was injured by the glass. Also miraculously, all three kids stayed on the other side of the dining-room-chair-blockade that I set up to keep them away from any glass shards. For all thirty minutes it took to clean up. (It was everywhere, man.)
Which brings me to my tagline: It’s never boring around here.
Like the day I spent 3 hours in the ER at Children’s Hospital to make sure Theresa didn’t have a concussion after she fell backwards in a dining room chair and hit the back of her head so hard on the floor.
Like the day I called the pediatric dentist to check on what the signs of tooth trauma were, because Audrey chipped her front tooth after falling off her bike.
Wednesday, at the Children’s Museum, I left two kids playing safely and went to switch zones with Nicole in a different room. In the less than 10 seconds of the hand-off, one of the kids went looking for me and couldn’t find me, and was found, very upset, by a Museum employee. The employee helped the kid find Nicole who found me. Then the employee needed “to remind [me] of our policy that children are accompanied by an adult at all times.”
Which I’m sure they have to remind everyone, but with a sobbing child in my arms, I felt bad enough without being called out for negligent parenting.
Thursday, I cut short an after-school meeting and rushed to accomplish everything I needed for a sub on Friday in order to get home in time for the kids’ preschool lantern walk at the lake. Which was cancelled due to high wind, but my e-mail had accidentally been deleted from the mailing list that day, so we got all bundled and out there in the cold wind only to have to do it again next week.
Friday, one of my dear friends got married on a beautiful day in a beautiful church with a beautiful ceremony that had everyone crying and laughing–the best kind of wedding. And we ate and chatted and danced and whooped and celebrated their journey together, and it was glorious.
Yesterday, I spent an hour and a half talking with a mama who is 17 weeks pregnant with triplets, reliving my own pregnancy and the early days as she asked me, “What surprised you? What do you wish you had known?” And I told her lots of logistical details and advice on how to get the 15 servings of protein per day that she needs and suggestions for gear, and above all: Be kind and gentle with yourself. Really, really kind.
And today, Alan left on a three-day mission of mercy and I brought the kids to Mass but there was no babysitting, and I had no books or crayons or church toys but we were there and I couldn’t just bail and come home. So we sat in the soundproof children’s room and my kids were so polite with other kids and well-behaved…and then one of them pooped. And I realized that I had schlepped two kids in a double stroller and one in an Ergo on my back and did not schlep the diaper bag.
As I ground my teeth at my own disorganization and started getting their jackets on, explaining as they asked why we had to go, a kind dad pulled out a correct-size diaper and container of wipes from his bag. He looked exactly like Jesus in that moment. In fact, I’m pretty sure Jesus carried extra diapers and wipes with him in case he ran into unprepared parents of young children. Even in the desert.
And now, after I thought I was finished with this post, tonight at bedtime, Theresa dove into bed to avoid being caught out of bed, and nailed her upper lip on the bedrail. Blood on the comforter and I foresee a fat lip tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, I was being capsized by fewer things-gone-wrong.
Instead, I’m digging deep and finding the space beyond the annoyance, the relaxed jaw just after the teeth-grinding. I’m finding the inspiration to pretend to be Mary Poppins in order to garner cooperation. Inspiration coming out of nowhere after ten minutes of goading and nagging them to pick up the total mess they made on the kitchen floor with pretty much every kitchen implement they can safely get their hands on, after they’ve stalled and run away and ended up all three prostrate on the floor and fake-crying, all facing the same way, to avoid picking up. The fake British accent and “A Spoonful of Sugar” sung with different words worked this time.
I don’t understand why some weeks feel like my soul has been torpedoed, and other similar weeks feel simply long. I don’t understand why some cyclones of crazitude pitch me under and keep me there, while others become funny stories I tell my friends.
For now I’ll just feel grateful, that this week in its insanity was punctuated by the joyful festivities of a wedding and seeing many of my old friends, and also punctuated by Moments of Yes:
- finding an elusive and beloved animal lost before bedtime
- trimming 30 fingernails and 30 toenails in two days
- Audrey, while listening to The Nutcracker and having us narrate the story: “Drosselmeyer should have set the timer, but he didn’t. Then when the timer went off, Fritz can have a turn.”
- Theresa, after Alan asked her if her Bath Baby had cradle cap: “No, she doesn’t have cradle crack.”
- Jamie loves spelling his own name, his sisters’ names, and now is interested in everyone’s name: “What does your name spell? Mine spells J-A-M-I-E.”
- my kids–all three of them–spontaneously telling me they love me
- these days of mostly solo care that I can actually enjoy