I’m sitting here in my bathrobe with a towel wrapped around my wet hair stealing a few moments to write these words that wouldn’t leave my head while I showered. And, oh my, my Friday shower is a favorite thing as the house is quiet and it’s the only day of the week little people aren’t running in to ask me questions about outfits, lodge complaints about siblings or tell me the dog has eaten yet another loaf of bread from the pantry.
These days have me balancing on a not-so-steady tightrope. The all-too-fast-passage of time and the guilt of not being good enough sit underneath me while my dreams and my attempt(although sometimes lame) to do it all are delicately pushing me forward. See this motherhood gig comes with a load of guilt(and I’m Catholic so maybe in theory mine is exponentially greater sometimes). Because in my house and my mind it goes like this…after spending two hours with Eva and her friend sewing skirts without patterns and buying all the material and supplies after I left work that afternoon, Eva asked why I was mad at her. And my response was fast and maybe too sharp because I couldn’t believe she could possibly think I was mad at her. After more words were exchanged, I realized she had no idea I had hit my head on her new loft bed and my statement made in a moment of pain made her think I was upset with her instead of the stupid piece of metal next to my forehead. So the guilt tightened its grip and I found myself fawning all over her which in turn made her younger sister lodge her complaint about the little amount of time I’d spent with her so far that night. She’d conveniently forgotten she’d been at soccer practice for most of it. I find myself trying to balance the necessary household chores with the tug of children wanting to go to the park but I can’t leave because a dinner I pinned from Pinterest is in the oven…little did I realize I should have left because it turned into an epic disaster leaving us foraging through the freezer. And I feel like the more time I spend with them the more they want from me and the circle of guilt starts to have a strangling affect because at the same time a story, my fourth book, is also tugging at my heart. Suddenly these Spring days leave me with only hours that I’d rather be curled up under my blanket counting sheep as my only writing time.
As I struggle with the list of things to do that every mother makes no matter her situation, I can’t forget these children, the loves of my life, only live in our house for a finite period of time. My big guy will start finding his independence in a few years that will seem to go by faster than I can recite how much wood will a woodchuck chuck. So I capture the moments of happy and store them away in my heart but I want to fill their hearts and souls with happy ones too. I want to discard the reminders of the meals or sharp words consumed in the car as we rush from practice to practice. I want them to forget that Mommy neglected to buy bread at the grocery store(after the dog ate it) and instead think about how I filled their lunch boxes with homemade blueberry muffins in lieu of a sandwich. But I can’t cherry pick their memories so I need to hope that the good ones outweigh the not-so-good and the stolen smiles and heartfelt exchanges mean as much to them as they do to me.
We, all mothers, have this internal gymnastics routine that follows them around on their daily travels. And since we’re not going to get that twenty-fifth hour that might make everything feel a little bit better and we may fall off the tightrope every once in a while, I think what we need is a little more grace, a lot less comparison and trying to keep up with the Joneses, and some forgiveness…for ourselves. With that, I’m off to blow dry my hair and make my way to an Egyptian museum in my two favorite second graders, classrooms.