This morning, amidst a birthday celebration of cards and fresh waffles for T, we had to remind J about a dozen times -seriously- to stay on task: "put on your socks, please put on your socks, where are your socks?, have you brushed your teeth?, carpool is coming, please get your socks." My insides were roiling, the anxiety bubbling like I'd just poured some vinegar over a mound of baking soda. We all knew what was coming, but who would break first? Carpool arrived, Jack was MIA doing god knows what, and as we called and called to him, he flounced up the basement stairs and through the door, ranting like a tiny mad-man. Your child's Jekyll/Hyde moments are always so unappetizing, and I find these times to be some of motherhood's most awful and difficult; the moments in which you actively dislike the little being before you even if you can vaguely understand the source of his frustration. These are the moments in which the grind of parenthood's regular challenges crosses the threshold into some sort of despair, be it disappointment, sadness, depression or some unsettling mixture of all. The moments when you wonder what you're doing, how you got there, if you can ride many more years of these waves, and how these buggers are going to turn out.
It is my belief that unless you aren't actually the one raising your kids, you're living in a perpetual state of to-the-core exhaustion; the kind that could be considered torture. So much is asked of you ALL the time, and as you're learning to handle whatever stage it is your child(ren) is in, they're, dynamically, moving up and on.
This morning took a lot out of me to be honest. I'd let T sleep in the basement last night so he could feel marginally rested on his 35th, and I knew that all he really wanted this morning was an easy one. I wanted to cook him a good breakfast, the kids wanted to show him the cards they'd made, and for a while, despite the regular mayhem that is our home each day before 9am, all was manageable. Until it wasn't, and we all ultimately went our separate ways in a much less cheery way than I would've liked.
I've spent this morning at Pilates (helpful!) and prepping everything for tonight's dinner (the creamy tomato soup is riDICulously good; the truffle butter- how could it be anything but fabulous?). It's been quiet and productive and nice, but I have a pit in my stomach and can't wait to leave tomorrow. In all honesty, I wish it were today. I can think of several things I'd rather do than hang out with the kids this afternoon. I need and have been pining for a break for so long, and it was with such dismay that I watched (and participated in) this morning unfold. Everything any parent puts off, in their own lives, seems highlighted in these crappy experiences. All the thoughts and feelings of "wow this is tough/taxing/dull/long" come to the fore anew, pushed there on a wave of disbelief and defeat. You just want to scream, "fuck, guys, come on. Throw me a bone." At least I do.
Perhaps I'm trying too hard to maintain an identity distinct from Mom, but I just can't imagine giving up that effort. I can't imagine that doing so, while surely simpler in some respects, would be fulfilling or wise. I chose to stay at home with my kids, and I never regret doing so. Most of the time I actually do love it. But I am always aware that I value -equally!- the person I am when they're at school or asleep or with their grandparents. The person who'll need to still be here when they leave for college, careers, their lives as adults if I'm not to then look around with utter confusion: what now?
Grateful that I've got about an hour and a half of solitude left, I'm trying to put this morning and sadness and fatigue behind me and muster again the enthusiasm I do believe my boys both need and deserve. They're children trying to navigate the challenges of growing up, not petulant adults who're acting like juveniles. But in the midst of all that understanding, it's also important to honor the challenges you, I, face when doing so. Do the same for yourselves!
With that I'm off to fix myself a good lunch and figure out dessert for tonight. I did just receive my check-in reminder for our flight tomorrow, and it is, and is supposed to remain, glorious in Charleston. T- 22 hours!