The older I get, the more I’m becoming like Connor. For example, I feel that I have begun to adopt his frustrating, unpredictable mood swings. Couples often prepare themselves for the wild mama-to-be hormone pony ride of pregnancy, but we needed to prepared ourselves for me as a mom. It’s different for everyone, but having kids running around, whining, and talking back to me outside the womb ruffles my feathers more than a few of months of sore hips and forced waddling. And we’re talking about a lot of whining and talking back – a pile comparable to Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout‘s legendary trash heap. At times it seems productive to marvel, sign loudly, and hang my head at its height. Sometimes I just want to throw my fists into that damned junk pile, sending “But Moms!” and “Nos!” flying while adding a few of my own choice words and phrases on top. Usually a bit of both happens. Some days one happens more than the other and I usually end up feeling bad regardless of the ratio.
Some days I wake up driven to be a fit, healthy mother with sinewy arms because carrying a baby and a toddler around – sometimes simultaneously – is a workout. I visualize my day with avocado slices, fresh fruit, some yoga, and however many gallons of water Jennifer Aniston says I should drink. When it materializes, my day is a tired jumble of hot and cold coffee, hot and cold toast, kid corralling, and a near-midnight bowl of ice cream (oh lord, I hope I’m not turning into a Cathy comic strip, because I really could never stand her). To remove any part of my day is like taking the critical Jenga piece out of an already precarious structure.
Being “good” seems to be so much work because at this point I’m just holding on for dear life. I may like to do things the hard way, but I’m not trying to kill myself. So I surrender to the afternoon cup of cold coffee, the late-night bowl of ice cream, and the call of the couch. On those days, when I give into what my life is really like, I find peace.
So what if “fresh fruit” only finds its way into my mouth when it’s on a bowl of ice cream drizzled in chocolate? So what if “vegetables” are something I insist on feeding the boys but that I only eat when there are absolutely no chips left in the cupboard? Is it really so bad that I never go to bed before midnight and always watch tv just before hitting the hay (you can keep the Yeses to yourself on that one)? Because I’m not changing my life. As exhausting and frustrating as the days may be, they are always filled with moments of heart-wrenching beauty and expressions of love. Sometimes the most I can squeeze out of a day are a few minutes in the morning before I realize we are running late when I catch Connor nuzzling with Ike in his room. And that’s enough. I dine on those moments like a feast, fill in the gaps with caffeine, and I’m full.