I’m sitting outside your bedroom door. I hear you two. I hear your breathlessness as the bedsprings creak under the weight of your continuous jumping. I hear pages being ripped from our favorite books. I hear a loud bang, but since there is no screaming, I don’t rush in – your tough little asses are just fine. I hear the giggles and the shrieks of joy. I consider all the objects that might have caused that bang, and decide it was the humidifier. I KNOW what is going on in there, and I have something to tell you…
You think you are so silly, so sly. You know you are mischievous even though you are ignorant to the etymology of the word – I see the glimmer of pride in those beautiful blue eyes when you are caught in the act. Every damn time.
Let me tell you some things you don’t know…
I have plenty of towels to soak up the basketball-sized puddle you left on the carpet when you threw the humidifier across the room.
I just bought a 3-pack of scotch tape that will stitch up those books you tore to shreds.
I can pick up the pillows, the blankets, the sheets, faster than you can throw them.
We have more wipes in the basement – make it rain, babies! Make it rain!
Even at your tender ages of one and two, you fully understand that chocolate can make everything right in the world again. WelI, babies, I have full access to that dark brown magic elixir in the metal basket on top of our craft-covered kitchen island. And I ain’t afraid of a couple extra pounds.
You may be winning this battle, but you will never win the war. I am MOTHER, queen of this pigsty, ruler of your universe, protector of your destructive, violent, needy, hungry little bodies and your ever-so-fragile, yet fiercely independent minds. I rule this house, boys. I lead. I conquer. And I will win. You will nap in your bed. And you won’t destroy your room.
In the meantime, my sweet boys, I will sit here, knowing my bravado is just a futile mask for my vulnerability as a mother. Knowing I am ignoring your big sister, who downstairs, is patiently waiting for your shenanigans to stop. I will worry about her, how lonely she must feel, even when she plays by herself without complaint, because I’m trying so desperately to succeed at winning this hopeless battle. I will wonder why I ever thought this was a battle. I will sit here outside your door, and I will fail her. As I’m probably failing you.
I will sit here and let all the self-depreciating thoughts flood my throbbing head. Only a bad mom wouldn’t have figured out the perfect activity for her daughter to do while she is putting the siblings down for a nap. Only a bad mom would have three children that she can’t control at naptime. Only a bad mom would think, “Why the fuck did I want this? No one told me they would be such assholes sometimes….”
The intense guilt and regret for thinking such ungrateful thoughts pours over my body like an unexpected tidal wave taking my breath away, igniting a fight for THIS life I know I could never give up on. I know the only asshole here is me. They are toddlers. Show love…Show love…SHOW LOVE....
I run downstairs and tell your sister I love her. I ask her if she is OK. I call you boys “silly” and giggle with her at your antics. And I remind her how lucky she is to have little brothers jumping on pillows and not sleeping like they should be. She smiles and jumps on me, and I offer to read her a story upstairs – very quietly, of course, in the guest room. She happily obliges.
We head upstairs and then we hear it. A real cry coming from your room. And our plan to cuddle up and read a story, just the two of us, disintegrates.
I open the door, and there you are, jumping off the bed into a pile of pillows, already past your moment of needing me. But your sister joins you, and I smile as she jumps.
There will be no nap today, but I’m happy. Jump on, my little angels…run into me, wrap your tiny arms around my robe, make the struggle worth it. You are worth it.
I promise I’ll do better tomorrow.