As a writer, I have a responsibility to be genuinely vulnerable with my feelings when I write… and tonight I am struggling with that vulnerability. See, the best things I’ve ever read were things I could relate to or envision with clarity. They were words put down by people who could put fear aside with the hope that the relatability of their own experiences would have a greater impact than the sting in their words.
I feel like I need a disclaimer that I would never write something to be intentionally hurtful to anyone; especially those that I love. But sometimes, my best writing comes from my darkest places… from the hurt, confusion, and sadness brought on by conflict. I can’t grow if I hold myself to the belief that I have to apologize for what I’m learning and feeling. I cannot grow with eggshells beneath my feet.
That being said, today was really hard. I knew it was going to be a long few days when I picked up my three-year-old from the sitter yesterday: rosy cheeks and teary eyes which led to a sleepless night and early doctor appointment today. Life, in general, is a huge challenge at 36 weeks pregnant… but somedays it feels downright impossible with two littles in my care all day. Today, was one of those days.
Here is where I struggle. I want to write about being hurt right now. I want to complain about the plethora of injustices that I experienced today; from a late start, to a closed route, low fuel… no stroller… all before 9am… I want to blame my hurt on some of the people close to me and shout from the rooftops how absolutely disappointed I am. But I cannot – for the life of me – see how it’s going to help anything right now. That in and of itself probably said enough. I will be ugly crying at my computer, writing in circles, laying on the “delete” key time and time again. Maybe that’s the process, but I’m hoping that tonight, my writing can take a more productive turn than a destructive one. I don’t need my “dirty laundry” aired for your entertainment.
I have to reevaluate my day based on what I’ve learned. I have to make it a better day tomorrow – based on this reevaluation – or I will surely stress myself into labor. I’ve got to find humor in it somewhere. Here goes…
Vaida went to bed last night with the most pathetic case of the chills and whines I’ve ever seen… so pathetic that “going to bed” constituted curling up in my pregnancy pillow and claiming 3/4 of *our* bed. (You guys, I don’t know if you know about pregnancy pillows or not, but the bottom line is that I simply cannot live without this pillow. And sleeping without it? Not happening. #bigfatnope) But Vaida has affectionately taken over my pillow during her nap time and turns it into a goddess’ plushy retreat of fluffy dreamland miracles. And since she was sick last night: how could I tell her no? Besides, sticking her in her own bed would have had Claire up all night too and I just wasn’t up for that battle.
So at 11:30 last night when I attempted to crawl into my bed sideways with my feet hanging off I actually said out loud “I should probably just quit now.”
Brandon wedged himself over to one side of the Queen’s Nest and we attempted the night. Lucky for him, he sleeps through everything… But me? Nope. And even less without my precious pillow. Vaida spent the night whining, grinding her teeth, asking for juice, and talking all kinds of crazy things in her sleep. At 5:30am she wanted to tell me about every YouTube video she’s ever watched and thought it would be an excellent time to start a movie marathon in the living room. So, I *literally* rolled myself out to the couch and got her set up with Alice in Wonderland, juice and Motrin, then resigned to the fact that this was my day. It had begun… though yesterday had never officially ended. I curled up on the couch when a small miracle happened…
She says “Mom. Go to your bed. I don’t want you distracting me out here.”
Whatever that means. GLADLY! No hard feelings! See ya, kid!
And for 2 hours, I reclaimed my beloved pillow and crashed – as did she. At 8:30 I was awakened by the sounds of Claire and the realization that I had made a 9:30 doctor appointment that was 40 minutes away. That meant I had a mere 20 minutes to get both girls up, “fed”, and out the door. So the first lesson of my day was:
Pajamas are clothes too. Go ahead and judge. But let’s think about this; I already do far more laundry than I care to… and we’re headed to the germiest place in the world to get more germy. Why are we putting on clean clothes for this? That’s right, WE AREN’T! Shoes and socks, done! Am I dressed? WHO CARES!
So I get the girls in the car (which is right outside my door) as I “run” [expedited waddle] back and forth 50 times to grab all of the stuff one needs for lengthy car trips. Bags of cheerios. Cups of milk. Fruit snacks (for when I’ve just had enough), toys for the wait… And we’re off. I get behind the wheel, go to put the car in reverse and it shuts off. Oops. Remote Start. Keys aren’t in the ignition. Where are they, you ask? Why, locked in the house… Where else?! So now, this momma has to climb through A WINDOW to retrieve said keys and make it to the appointment. Lordy, that right there is comedy. (Thankfully, I found a big window.)
Back in action, reverse out of the driveway, put the car in drive… *DING!* Low fuel, 35 miles to empty. Murphy, you suck. I decide to tempt fate and go to the doctor first (even though it’s a lengthy drive, the GPS says it’s only 13 miles from the house) and I head on my way. As we travel to the sounds of Peppa Pig, I’m quietly planning our trip inside when it occurs to me that of the 627 strollers we own – not a single one is in my car. Typically, that wouldn’t be an issue. But since Vaida’s fever actually broke both of her legs <insert sarcasm> and Claire likes to play in traffic.. oh and I’m a house… that stroller was supposed to be my saving grace.
This is about the time my husband texts me with his morning dilemma: He left his delicious hot coffee on the kitchen counter (but kindly offers it up to me if I haven’t left yet!)
I. Can’t. Even.
In that moment I learned my second lesson of the day: In the heat of our moments, all of our problems seem big. The truth is, none of my “problems” were big at all. Just a long string of inconveniences and obstacles exacerbated by no sleep and pregnancy…. It totally sucked that he forgot his coffee (and that I missed out on the pick-me-up I needed.) But problems? Nah, there really weren’t any… In that moment though, I nearly lost my ever-loving mind.
The doctor’s appointment went as planned, including a self-led circus of glove balloon roosters and how-many-dixie-cups-can-we-use. We rounded off our visit with Claire’s slow-motion face plant and full body roll onto the floor of the exam room while every contagious disease known to man ran through my head. We managed to make it back to the car mostly unscathed.
We got home in time for me to prepare a lunch they didn’t eat and a get out toys they didn’t play with. And while the clock slowly counted down the minutes until nap time, I was hit with a waive of exhaustion that I’ve never felt before. It occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten… or had any water… and that I absolutely had to drop everything and lay down. So I rushed the nap time routine, stuck Claire in her crib and asked Vaida where she wanted to nap. Her answer of “on the couch with Alice in Wonderland” was a gift from God himself… because that’s exactly where I left her.
Lesson 3: Sometimes, you have to just stop everything and take care of yourself. Because clearly, you’re all you’ve got when these days happen. A short nap and glass of water made all the difference, all at the expense of massive amounts of screen time and juice. I did what I had to do and I’m not going to let anybody insinuate I should feel guilty for it.
Nap time ended when Claire woke up with a fever (yay! take #2!) and a wicked case of the angries. At least I had a little time to get myself together? (and as it turns out, when you leave a 3-year-old to handle nap time in front of the TV on their own… they don’t actually sleep. Which I royally paid for tonight when I had an over-tired, sick, kid who couldn’t handle if someone in the house so much as breathed the wrong way. Someone = me.)
At some point after nap my mom brought me carryout in hopes it would put a little fuel in my tank as I had absolutely no energy to cook/clean/argue. See how that happens? She’s still momming. Nearly 33 years later when I can’t get myself together – there she is! Saving the day with Outback in hand! Thanks mom! Without dinner, I likely would be in a heap under my table waiting for someone to come rescue me from my verbally abusive threenager and her sidekick.
The rest of the night is a blur, really. It was long. So long. And lonely. My kids were so out-of-sorts. Though they are both in their beds as I write this, I have a sneaking suspicion that we are up for another long night – it’s Claire’s turn. So as I shut down for the night… I’m thinking about the last thing I’ve learned and that I need to remember – because today this was me:
Some days you merely SURVIVE… and that’s perfectly OKAY. Because tomorrow, you’ll get to try again which is a privilege denied to so many. We all have days that are less than picture-perfect. Where our kids call the shots because we are simply too tired. It’s small potatoes. Call it a night and try again tomorrow.
Goodnight (for now),