There are times, not terribly infrequently, where I feel like I'm looking up at an enormous tidal wave that's about to rush over me. There's nothing I can do about, no time to move, no place to seek cover, so I just stand there, anxious and horrified. For the most part, this feeling comes in the context of parenting. It's not necessarily because of the boys but it is related to them and how much they need. The needing, asking, talking, touching feels so, so constant sometimes, like an uncomfortable skin I cannot slip. On top of what I must provide them is a marriage to maintain, a dog who would be my conjoined twin if that was an available option, friends to see and talk to, volunteering to do, cleaning that never seems to end. Nowhere in much of that is me- the sleep I need to get, the books I want to read, the silence I crave, the cooking I would prefer to do in a patient and quiet manner, the no one needing a damn thing from me. As you've probably surmised, my kids wake up early and hit the ground running. By 9am, I feel like I've worked an overtime shift herding cattle (children) while also serving as a voice-activated reference book. I know I'm supposed to enjoy these years when they think I know everything rather than poo-pooing my insights as will come as the teen years near, but I really don't, and I sure don't know everything, not least about some of the things they MUST KNOW NOW. Without much childcare, I have found that when I expect I'll get some quiet time (naps, school hours, etc), I depend on it more than I know. When it's snatched from me (O won't nap, someone gets sick, there's a school vacation I forgot about, etc), I realize how little reserve I'm always running on, the proverbial fumes to the nth degree.
Yesterday, I was to deliver two cakes downtown during Ol's nap. A friend was going to come over and stay here while he slept so that I could scoot out. He didn't nap, I had to finish frosting the last cake with him underfoot, and then load up the car and him and head downtown. It was all totally fine, but I realized just how much I wish I could count on the little things, like the damn nap. And when last night finally arrived, there was still all the laundry, the Valentine's treats to wrap and ready, the dog had never been walked and so on. When Tom told me he needed to work late, I was like, hallelujah, take-out and the couch, here I come. I was asleep by 9, and the whole thing began anew today.
I haven't even begun to put together our dinner, and I know T wouldn't even care if I didn't. But it's Valentine's Day, and he's leaving first thing in the morning and won't be home until Sunday. Remember, there's that marriage that needs to be maintained- not to mention that making dinner is actually something I want to do. I haven't walked the dog, haven't exercised, haven't seen the paper, haven't even had a glass of water since our playdate this morning. It's just overwhelming, you know?