How raising children can be like a difficult-to-peel hard-boiled egg

This will come as an enormous shock to you, but I am tired today. Really tired. It took T and me nearly two hours to get to Baltimore last night (generally a 45-60 min trek) for the rehearsal dinner, and we didn't roll into bed until about 11:30p. The dinner was absolutely lovely- fun, full of warmth, laughter and love, and I'm sure I speak for everyone there when I say that we left feeling like this was a couple destined for a long, happy life together. That said, T and I do not usually stay up until midnight, and, as it seems de rigueur these days, I was awakened at, you guessed it, 5:20a. This time it was Ol crawling into bed with us; I can't remember why and at this point it doesn't really matter, but I never got back to sleep and finally threw in the towel when Tom rolled over and accidentally elbowed me in the face. Not an auspicious start to the day.

A fantastic local nursery (American Plant for those of you here) is having its summer 25% off day today, so while T took the boys to Tae Kwon Do, I went out and got some soil amendments and a few pretty fleurs to spruce up the yard. After lunch, T got ready for the wedding and returned to B'more while the boys and I worked outside. It's a beautiful day, and I went to town with a hand-saw, shovel, rake and so forth. Some horrid posse of white flies razed all my greens, so I decided to just remove what was left and take the opportunity to freshen that bed. I re-potted my hanging basket with a colorful, pink-spectrum lantana, a happy flower I've always loved, mostly because it reminds me of my Nanny's yard and neighborhood back in Lake Charles.

DSC_4003I didn't know the proper name, lantana, until about two years ago; growing up, we called them bacon-and-eggs because the predominant version that grew around town boasted yellow-orange blooms. In the tropics of SW LA, lantana grow into giant bushes (they are never the meek, hanging-pot types you can manage here), and I remember them pushing through metal fences, onto and over the sidewalks we'd stroll down in Nanny's part of town. To this day, bacon-and-eggs, in all shades, never cease to make me smile.

I love to work in the yard - mosquitoes and weird, white-butt ground-spiders be damned - and so it's always fairly disappointing to me when the boys and I can't simply be out there together without having to directly interact, in mostly pesty ways, at all times. Why do they need to comb the hydrangea blossoms with a large rake? Why must they turn the entire yard into a giant mud-pie despite my protestations? Why don't they play in the g-damn playhouse T and I slaved to build? Why are they so terrified of small spiders sitting silently in their work-of-art webs? Why do they ignore the stone walkway I built through my veggie bed and instead opt to walk on the veggies? I asked myself each and every one of these questions today, in about a five minute period, and became increasingly frustrated and bummed. It is in this way (and frankly, in a number of others) that parenting sometimes reminds me of the utterly stupid torture that is peeling a hard-boiled egg whose shell seems epoxied to the outer layer of the white.

You want that g-damn egg so much, and really, a hard-boiled egg should be a quick, almost-mindless yet extremely satisfying snack. You've gone to the trouble to boil and then chill the eggs, you've put them gently and lovingly into a bowl near the front of the fridge so that they are easily accessible and not forgotten. A pang of hunger strikes, and you see this perfect oval blob of protein just waiting to be consumed, and then damn if you don't almost lose the will to eat it after spending 12 minutes peeling off minute bits of shell so that you're not left with only that nasty, chalky yolk (I don't groove on HB egg-yolks; only the whites which are lovely plain but all the better stuffed with hummus and a sun-dried tomato).

Just like you want so badly to have great/good/special/hell, just calm times with your kiddos on a tired but beautiful Saturday afternoon, and so you get everything ready, spray everyone with deet-free bug repellent, get out all your garden tools, find some random bush that won't die if the kids prune it because, obviously, they "have to," but instead you end up soaking wet, half-finished jobs here and there, seething and resigned over the equivalent of a sticky egg shell.