I awaken and it’s still dark, yet I know that it’s almost time to get up. I go to the bathroom to retrieve my phone…4:35AM. Yes. 25 more minutes. Not enough to go back to sleep, but enough to climb under the covers and review my before-bed temper tantrum. I am aware of the wind chimes and the blustering wind outside whipping against the darkened house; the apologizes that I had to make to my family last night are echoing through my still-foggy brain.
Gentle reader, please let me explain myself. Friday had been built like a fine stack of cards. I had enlisted the help of a mommy friend and a babysitter. I had asked employees to change their schedules and work late. An after-hours community event requires our store to stay open two-and-a-half hours later. My sixth grader is attending a football game an hour away at school (mommy-friend to the rescue). My kindergartener and my second grader need to be gotten from the bus during the event . My daughter then has music lessons (aided by our now-has-a-real-job babysitter). Arrange. Rearrange. How is everyone going to get dinner? All of this on the heels of the older two going with my mom the Thursday night before to see their first real concert–Eric Clapton. Whew. My mind is swirling just typing this all out.
So rewind to last night–Monday night. The week had just begun. All the kids pile in late from school. The older three get home most nights at 7:15PM. Dinner isn’t quite ready; I’d forgotten to pick up the hamburger for the spaghetti. My sweet husband gets it thawing while I fuss at the younger two to get showers–and HURRY. We sit down to a simple supper. The buzz of four children all talking about school fills my ears. This is supposed to be the best time of my day, but I am overwhelmed at the pulls for my attention. This nightly sprint from hometime to bedtime is in full swing.
My teenager has had a difficult week. He lost a friend to suicide and broke up with his first girlfriend. He’s trying to get my attention in that soft mumbly way he has when he needs to tell me something that he thinks that I won’t like. Our only princess interrupts with her loud, take-over-any-room energy. My first explosion. I know immediately that I have messed up because the dinner table falls to a hush. All four of my children and my husband are staring at me. Well, now I can hear the teen. Yes? Sure enough, something I didn’t want to hear. Can we get him to school Friday morning (an hour from our house) by 7AM so he can ride the bus with his classmates to the funeral somewhere in South Carolina? He will be back “late.” My reaction was less-than stellar. I know that this is impossible because I am the card-stacker. I know that we can’t pile one more thing on–Not One. Can’t anyone see that except me? He emotionally reminds me that in two weeks he will be able to drive and I will not ever have to drive him “Anywhere Ever Again.” Does he think parenting stops then?
I collect myself to read a couple of library books that my five-year-old checked out at the school library today and apologize to my daughter for losing my temper and ask for her forgiveness. I excuse myself to take a shower while Kevin reads the Bible story tonight and tucks the littler two in, giving silent thanks for a strong partner who can take up my slack. My sweet husband enters the bathroom asks me if I am feeling better. I start through the list for the week. I organize the whole week on Sunday. I know where all six of us are at all times. I know what we are going to eat and how the groceries will get there. I make sure that the clothes are clean, agendas are signed, snacks are packed, and water bottles are filled. Usually, I do a good job at all of this organizing. “Tonight,” I said, “it feels like confetti thrown up in the air.”
As I lay in bed, another image comes to my mind. I run back into the kitchen to share with my 12-year-old doing homework at the island and my husband who is finishing the dishes. “It’s like someone gave me a 2,000 piece LEGO set. Should be exciting and fun, right? Except, they ripped open all 20 numbered bags and threw the bricks in the air, hid the manual, and told me to build it. That’s what tonight felt like.” My soon-to-be-second teen, nods in acknowledgement. He gets my analogy.
I know that there are lessons here in Grace and Forgiveness and also some parenting wins that can be recognized in the HUGE fails that I made last night. I will need to ponder on those later, though, because now it is 6:09AM. Snacks need to be packed. My four-month old puppy needs to be walked. Agendas need to be signed. Children need to be awakened, fed, and dressed. Another day has begun. Today I have a women’s business meeting and a consult for a colonoscopy. (Yes, I am an old mom on top of all of this.) Probably too much information, but if you have read this far already you may as well know.
Hugs and love to you mamas who may be lost in the mess this morning, too. I see you. Come sit in the LEGO pile with me for awhile; we can have a cup of something warm on this rainy morning.
Melissa, let me tell you friend, from a much older mom, you’re doing great! You have a lot on your plate for sure. I look back to when I have two teenagers and all of their activities and a toddler and newborn. It was crazy! I tell Bob sometimes I don’t know how I got through those days. BUT… the memories! I have them. With our older two out of state and living their own lives… I miss them but remember the chaos and don’t regret it. Your kids are amazing, beautiful, talented and kind. Great job to you and Kevin! One day at a time! You’ve got this. And… I would love a cup of coffee or lunch one day!
Thank you, Lynne! Yes, I have always watched you—sort of one generation of raising kids ahead of me. Now you are a grandma!!! I enjoyed watching all of our kids grow up together in this community in the same circle. You and Bob are a great example for both parenting and marriage!
I don’t know if you remember me but some dozen years ago I was in MOPS with you. I loved reading your blog! I just turned double nickles and still have 2 teens at home and run a nonprofit. When the daily Legos fall sometimes we just choose to spend a moment picking out our favorite colors! Keep writing, its beautiful. Tracie Frese
Yes, I remember you! It seems like both an eternity and yesterday that ours now-teens were little together. MOPS was a God-send to me when I was new to both this community and mommy-hood. Thank you for taking the time to write to me. It means so much to be heard.