I always think its funny when my friends ask me what I did all day, before work, or on my days off, and because most of them do not have kids, I just sigh.
All of you part of this hidden underground reality of raising children know what I’m talking about.
Hmmm…. What did I do today?
Well, I woke up, tired from working late, to hear the girls playing, which always puts me on the edge because the laughing and giggling in ten seconds can turn into murderous screaming, my door being burst open like a barricade, with voices loud and fast, each trying to talk over the other one, certain that if I heard the loudest version first, that would be the one I immediately believed.
The story that Kat threw Penny the stuffed dog against the fan is coming out of Lola’s red tearful face, with Kat stuttering that was not her fault, an accident. Then, she’ll throw in something bizarre to back her story like, “But, she took a Pop Tart without asking yesterday,” her arms crossed triumphantly, Lola glaring.
Then I will say “SEPARATE, NOW!” and the glaring stops and the begging begins, because more than anything, even having fight after fight, is the thought of being broken apart, which makes them hug, decide to go play hide and seek, or get out their dolls for pretend play school.
That is truly the reality of the first half hour of my eyes opening, every day, and it is exhausting the way they love each other, and I can’t keep up, not before coffee.
This summer has been much more fun than I ever thought, with both of them home all day together, and we have had mostly great days, joyful, creative, adorable moments full of cuddling and adventure.
Today was not one of those days.
I had goals today, yes, haters, real goals. I was to figure out my credit score, get my loan on the go for camera equipment, research some grants, call the people I had put off last week, research plain tickets to a friend’s wedding, my laundry done for work, details, boring important problem solving kind of details, details, details.
My head was aching, my temper short, and my emotions on the edge, seeing as Aunt Flow is coming, my back cramping, and my lack of sleep fueling my emotions.
My usual “SEPARATE NOW!” routine resulted in a rare fatigue emotional response from me, and I just burst into tears.
They kind of looked at me, stopped talking, looked at each other, a little confused. I think they would have preferred grouchy tired mom, groaning, pulling her pillow over her head.
Kat does this creepy thing where she just gets really close to you, and just stares with her big brown eyes, with an intense gaze, not allowing you to break eye contact.
“Mommy, what is it?” she asked. That made me cry even more. How do you tell your girls that on some days, you are not anything but human, tired, and completely drained to exhaustion? Lola came back to my bed, and said, “Kat, here is Penny, Jenny, Marissa, and a list of others I can’t ever keep up with all their changing names.” I guess that meant something to Kat because she understood, taking the dolls and stuffed animals and burying them by my head and my arms, like they each owned a certain position, placed with meticulous detail, Lola even taking Penny from by my feet and stuffing her in my armpit, making Kat giggle.
Lola is the storyteller as always, and never acknowledges when I cry, ever, but finds a way to tell me about a butterfly or pen she found under her bed to initiate a different route, perhaps the four year old of positive thinking. Kat wants to dig into the questions, uncover the holes, and with her, there is never a bottom, and twelve million answers would never satisfy her. Today, I suppose they were a balance together, because I was given open heart surgery, Lola directing for the stitches, Kat holding down the animal fort while Lola smashed my breast down with her elbow on accident, using some kind of barbie accessory to seal me up, probably a shoe knowing her. I hid my knee jerk reaction from the jolt of pain from my boob like a pro.
“All better!” she said with such childlike love, and she even leaned in to let me kiss her on the side of the head, a bow I get from Lola, not a smoocher, so I knew this was a love offering.
Kat is a cuddler and a clinger, so she had to lay on top of me, squeezing me until I politely explain I am unable to breathe, but she doesn’t stop until she is ready to believe I am okay, or until Lola picks up her hula hoop, and then they are off, Kat demanding it back, Lola antagonizing her until I say, “SEPARATE NOW.”
Mom is back again, so their little eyes seem to brighten, and Lola promises to give the hula back, putting her arms around Kat, squeezing, begging, promising they wont fight, and so I nod with a sigh, and they yell, “YAAYYYY!” and run to the kitchen, laughing, giggling, and I can hear them being silly from my room. I smile, thinking of my heart, putting my hand over it, loving the way they nurture with their little magical minds, and in the midst of intense love I feel choking back tears on, I hear it.
“MOM!!!!!!!! LOLA TOOK MY BLUE CEREAL BOWL.”
“But, but, but, she wont give me back my princess cup.”
To all my childless single friends, of course, you all know me well enough I never have to explain how fiercely in love I am with these little girls, how they are the reason I do anything not well, but fanatically well, because I want them to be better than me, and that passion drives me to be better, all the time, and nothing in my life would ever matter without my little voices who cuddle and climb and kiss and love me, to the point of stitching me up with pink barbie heels to keep me from being sad.
But all my childless single friends, I am a little pissed at you today, sleeping until your body says wake up, harassing me about always having only one beer, telling me not to whine but to grab a red bull when I say how good my bed looks. So, when you call, don’t take it personally today if after asking what I have going on all you hear is one gigantic, SIGH.
I just don’t have the energy to explain it, that’s all.