This morning I was awake at 3 am, hacking up pieces of lung while The Husband slept peacefully beside me and The Kid lay between us, having crawled into our bed at some point in the night as he always does, despite the rules I set about cosleeping before having children. I could barely catch my breath, inhaling raggedly just to sputter into my pillow. This happened, naturally, in our bedroom, which some recent child-sized guests referred to as a playroom because of all the toys on the floor there, despite the rules I set, pre-kids again, about not allowing such objects to take over our decor.
We actually have a real playroom. It is currently being used for storage.
Mondays are our (my) hardest day: Little Brother is home at “mommy school,” I have to clean up and leave the house for hours to accomodate the cleaners (#typeA; #firstworldproblems), we pick TK up early from school and rush from there to our suburb’s village area for speech therapy, then we rush from there to another suburb for his behavioural therapy. All the while I’m with either one or two kids, answering questions and refereeing fights and driving on the left side of the road. By the end of it, I’m too tired for even wine. We open the door to our takeaway dinner and I review, from a hot bath (#firstworldproblems), whether I have any deep regrets over how I’ve parented over the last twelve hours. Then two small boys fall asleep in their bedroom on either side of me and I sneak away to my own room, where I pass out and occasionally awaken briefly to hack up a lung.
This is the list-form version of our life. Of our–ugh–Mondays. I have lived so much of my years in list form, hopping from one activity to the next, setting goals and reaching them/re-assessing them. Ticking items off lists. This morning, I struggled to drink what coffee hadn’t spilled from my mug when someone or other bumped into the table where it was sitting. Two boys climbed all over me, demanding to play. I took my sore ribs into the kitchen and set out the makings for TK’s lunch, and he followed me over, whines accompanying him, yelling for me to play Monopoly with him even as he directed me on how to prepare his food. And I don’t know, maybe I was too tired to snap. I do know that I wanted to, and that I’m usually so up for it. But something’s been happening lately; I don’t know if it’s spring and its longer days and cool breezes, or the relationships here that are becoming part of my emotional scaffolding, or the book project that has, with my writing partner, become a lifeline, or the very real divine love I’ve been feeling more strongly than…maybe ever. But I looked down on him and in some other person’s patient voice explained the situation and that I’d be there in a minute.
Then I gave myself some mental space to acknowledge how f#cking ridiculous it is to have two small people making insane and impossible demands on your time, and how normal it is to grow weary of that.
Then I checked Twitter.
Then…then I sat down. And I played Monopoly. And as I did that, I looked at TK across from me and LB, who had by now climbed aboard my lap, and I could see, briefly, what was really going on here–what I miss when it’s all become a list. Which is that they want more of me than I can give. But I can give some. In this case, I gave five minutes. And it was enough. They were thrilled. It filled them. And, contrary to expectation, it didn’t empty me, but filled me too. In five minutes, something dead within me was raised to life.
Not bad for a Tuesday morning.
TK has been asking a lot of questions about death lately, and heaven, and man is that shit hard. I want to engage his curiosity even as I feel not up to the task in any way. But we’re all doing it, together, and I suspect it won’t all be resolved by tonight at dinner, and that has to be okay. Can’t tick it off the list yet. What we’re ticking off instead, which is adding up, really, are moments. Moments of friendships growing deeper, of kids their age coming over and falling asleep beside them while the adults laugh and drink way too much downstairs. Of being welcomed into other homes ourselves. Of having full calendars and exhausted bodies. Of putting up a Christmas tree by an open door in seventy-degree weather at 7 pm when it’s still bright outside and feeling so wrong about it, even though I’m listening to the Christmas music channel on Amazon, because some things may never slide completely into place and that has to be okay too.
This morning I drove home by myself, both boys ensconced in their beloved schools, and felt the quiet. I considered how it is most of the time, with one or two in the backseat keeping me awake. Killing the quiet. And how one way of looking at it might be that they are waking me up. Bringing me back to life.