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I roasted a chicken and a half with vegetables on Sunday evening. 

Being the ever-on-top-of –it working mother that I am, I had dutifully read my Real Simple magazine, gotten new cooking ideas and recipes, made my grocery list and ran through the store at breakneck speed so I could get back in time for Jay to go pick up our Phish tickets for this coming Saturday’s show. I wanted to cook a nice Sunday dinner, especially since Greta was home.

I had cleaned the kitchen, poured a glass of pinot grigio and began to cook.  I was cooking enough for dinner that night, dinner the next night and lunch leftovers for me for the next couple of days at work.

I was busy. Things were being cleaned and cooked and prepped in a small space at a high rate of multitasking speed…and there was that pinot.

For reasons I will not get into, I was a bit distracted and emotional.  I had also fielded a couple of calls from my emotional and high strung mother while cooking said meals and was even more distracted than cooking for 5 people and 4 meals would have normally been – and that would have been hard enough.

When it came time to take the chicken out and check for doneness, I could not find the meat thermometer. 

I am horrible about timing chicken.  In an effort to make sure I do not serve my family salmonella on a plate, I over cook the chicken every time.  Then I am disappointed when I cut into that chicken and realize with the first bite that I did it again and, therefore, my efforts for a perfectly cooked meal were in vain. After all that work. Dammit.

So I have begun to rely on the thermometer.  Once that baby says my chicken has reached 165 degrees, it is out of the oven to rest.  I will not over cook the chicken.  I will not over cook the chicken.

But, when I tried to find the thermometer I had specifically laid out on the counter in preparation, it was not there.  I had just had it.  Greta had seen it on the counter as well. Still it was nowhere to be found. 

After a few minutes search, I realized I was wasting too much time looking for it and cut into the chicken to check for doneness.  It wasn’t. So I put it back into the oven and, after thinking about it, decided that the 10 minutes Jay had suggested could not be long enough and I doubled it to 20 minutes.  (Ensuring later, of course, that the chicken would, once again, be over cooked.) 

I moved on to the next step in the recipe – prepping the maple Dijon sauce. As I got the Dijon mustard out of the refrigerator, my mother called. again.  I listened to whatever it was she’d forgotten to tell me when we were on the phone 30 minutes before as I shook the mustard. I sat it down and checked the vegetables. 

Realizing they were almost overdone, I pulled out the roasted vegetables and poured them up into a corning ware dish and covered them with foil while I waited the last few minutes for the chicken (to over cook).  

I got off the phone with my mother and got out the maple syrup and a bowl.  I went to get the mustard and wisk.  No mustard on the counter.  Or in the frige.  Or in the pantry.  Or next to the sink. 

Where the hell was the mustard, dammit???

I had just had it. 

Of course, I had also just had the meat thermometer as well.  And no one could find it, either.  Jay had come into the kitchen and looked; Greta had come into the kitchen and looked.  It was gone.

And now the mustard.  AAARrrrrgggghhhh.

Jay, hearing my frustration and frantic search for the mustard, came into the kitchen.  With a “what is it this time?” and a cursory look around the kitchen, Jay helpfully suggested that I use the creole mustard he found in the frige instead of the Dijon mustard whose whereabouts I was currently losing my mind over. 

No.

No, no, no.  I was not using the creole mustard.  It was not like I had not checked the frige before I went to the grocery store and made sure we had the ingredients I needed to make the recipe.  Had I screwed up and not had it, ok. I would use a substitute mustard, as much as I would have hated doing it.  But I had the right mustard.  Hell, I had HAD IT IN MY HAND shaking it up not 10 minutes ago.  I would only need to use the creole mustard if we did not HAVE Dijon.  And, unless someone came into the kitchen and DELIBERATELY took the Dijon mustard and threw it outside, we HAD Dijon mustard. 

I AM NOT CRAZY.  It was here.  It was right here. I was on the phone with Mother.  I took it out of the frige.  I shook it up so the watery stuff that settles would not drip into my dish. 

I put it right HERE. I slapped the counter in the spot where I knew I had set the mustard a few minutes before. 

Or had I?  Had I imagined it?

Jay told me I was overreacting.  He told me it was not there anymore and no one knew what I had done with it.  We checked cabinets, the freezer, drawers.  I got more and more upset because the stranger the places we looked, the worse I felt.  If we did find the Dijon mustard in the freezer, then I am a lot more scatterbrained and out of control than even I thought.  And I hate that about myself.  I hate being scatterbrained and high strung.   I want desperately to be one of those calm, in control moms who have all the tools and time everything out – and never over cook the chicken.    

I was on the verge of tears.

Have you ever seen the movie Midnight Lace? It is a Doris Day, Rex Harrison 1960s thriller.  It has been a while for me, but from what I remember it is about a married woman who starts to doubt her own sanity.  Things start happening she cannot explain. She gets death threats by phone.  Then notes that disappear. When she tries to show proof, there is none to be found.  Her loving husband and best friend stand staunchly beside her as she descends into madness and hysteria.

I am pretty sure in one scene the husband takes his nutty, hysterical wife by the shoulders and tells her she is overreacting.  

Only the husband and best friend are having an affair and have orchestrated the whole thing so when the poor wife winds up dead it is not from them murdering her (which they fully intend on doing) but from her tragically taking her own life due to her stedily increasing paranoia.  Their mutual grief (and the conveniently dead wife’s inheritance) is the basis for their growing love and affection leading to their marriage and happily ever after.

Apparently, Ezra has seen this movie.  And understands it well enough to use their tactics to get rid of me. 

While Jay was in the kitchen holding me by the shoulders telling me I was freaking out for no apparent cause and it was just mustard, for heaven’s sake, who cares which one you use, Greta took Ezra into the living room and asked him where he put the mustard. 

Just as I was trying to tearfully explain to Jay that I felt like I was losing my mind and I had already been upset and THIS WAS NOT HELPING, Ezra showed Greta where in the pantry he had hidden the Dijon fucking mustard. I never even saw him sneak into the kitchen, the little rascal.

I understand that I had Ezra when I was 37 and that means I will be old, demented and crusty when he is in his 30s. I just never thought he’d have the wherewithal to start laying the groundwork for my incompetency hearing this far in advance.

He never would fess up about the thermometer though. 

Greta found that under her bag in the living room the next day. 

I am going to have to keep an eye on this one.

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It is serious what we do.  I know it is not what we choose to talk about most of the time, but there is a reason for that. 

This is just one of the many, many, many mommy blogs out there. 

I try to post things here that are thoughtful and (hopefully) a little bit funny.  I want people to come back, after all.  And I try not to make it all mommy all the time.

But mommy blogs give an outlet to both the writers and the readers – a much needed one. 

The reason?

Because raising your children is one of the scariest and most serious things you will do in life. 

One of my friends told her husband once not to get all high and mighty with his job and his responsibilities while she is a SAHM.  He may very well be doing something important and serious, but she is making people.  People who will one day be well-balanced, well-adjusted, responsible, happy human beings who will then go on to do good things with their lives.  Top that. 

She is so right. 

You worry and fret.  You model and teach.  You set boundaries and rules.  You hand out rewards and punishments. 

You above all pray for their safety, because someone always knows someone else who has been struck with tragedy.

And all mothers know it can happen to them. Even if they are vigilant and responsible there are always sicknesses and accidents – the randomness of life – in addition to the danger and evil inherent in this world. I look back on my own life and know that there were a few times that, if things had gone just a little bit differently, I might be just another sad story. 

And the fear of becoming a cautionary tale or a tragic story of loss is something mothers live with all the time.  No mother will ever let her kid go off to camp or play football or drive without thinking about all the news stories she’s heard about a kid going missing or being injured or having a wreck.

But if we dwelled on this fear we would be paralyzed and damage our kids with our overprotectiveness. So that well-adjusted part would be out the window.

And that is why mommy blogs mostly talk about the funny and the inspirational parts of parenting, because not one of us need to be reminded of the Fear.

But a lot of moms take being moms so seriously that they forget to have a good time.  Put up the dish gloves, let down their hair and just have a good damn time. 

We need to laugh and enjoy what is right now because, although we give assurances to our kids that all will be fine and things will work out in the end, we know that happy endings are only a sure thing in fairy tales. 

Real life is more unpredictable than that. 

But as uncertain as it is and as scary as it can be, this life that we live and the children we raise are worth the risk we take by allowing them to carry our hearts with them every day. 

That is why I put off dinner and threw the football with Ezra last night.

It is why so thoroughly enjoy t-ball games. 

It is why I want to take the boys to Disney World and Washington DC and the beach and the mountains. 

It is the uncertainty of life and the fleeting nature of it that gives deep meaning to having a good time and enjoying the people you love as much as you possibly can. 

It is why we all need to make sure we have a good dose of fun to balance the responsibility of life. 

Now, go have a good time with someone you love.  I am.

CONNER!! I have to find him!!”

Elaine woke with a start with David’s arms wrapped tight around her. He was whispering in her ear, trying to calm her.  It was the way she usually woke up now.  Poor David.  It must be hard on him to have to console her like this every morning.  She was ripped, sometimes screaming, from nightmares.  Other times out of blissful dreams where the five of them were together. Either way it really didn’t matter.

She was thrown out every day into the living Hell of not knowing where her son was. 

Well, she knew where his body was now, of course.  Somehow, people seemed to think that should help. 

Reigning in her grief, Elaine kissed her husband and thanked him for his comforting arms as she did every morning now.  As she sat up on the side of the bed, the deep ache settled into the place it had carved in her heart and she rose to greet the day. 

It was the 157th day she had woken without Conner in her life. She would live through another day without seeing his face and hearing his laugh. 

Elaine slid her feet into her slippers and she went to wake her remaining sons.  The days she had left with them were numbered, so she took a deep sigh, masked her grief and walked out of their bedroom.

“Rise and Shine, Sleepy Heads!” she said loudly and cheerfully. 

There had to be a way to show them how to live through the grief of loss.  They would be doing it again soon, she thought with deep regret.

David was a wonderful husband and father.  She could not imagine what life was like from his perspective.  He was working through his grief as well.  At the same time he bucked up and supported her, Sam and Jake. She loved him with all her heart. 

She felt such sorrow for David and prayed once again that he would understand her plan and not hate her for it. David may not ever forgive her, she knew.  But then, his acceptance was not necessary, either. 

Every day at breakfast they said a prayer for Conner.  They had done it every morning since the first morning after he’d gone missing.  The fact that his body was buried now did not seem enough of a reason to stop. 

Besides, Elaine knew that Conner was still somewhere.  What haunted her was that she was sure he still needed her.  Just like he had when he was lost and wondering.  Just like he had needed her to be there to catch him before he fell to his death. 

She tried and tried to stop herself from imagining his cries for her and for help.  She never could stop imagining that, though.  At times throughout the day his cries and pleas broke out of her imagination and she could hear him with her ears as well as her mind.

Elaine tried to tell her dead child that she was sorry for it all and she would be there with him soon. She prayed he could hear her. 

It seemed like Elaine prayed a lot – and to everyone. 

It would not be long now, she knew.  All the letters had been written.  All the plans had been made. 

She had seen the priest, a lawyer and a financial advisor.  While none of them agreed with her and all thought her plan insane, two were barred from sharing her plans by confidentiality.  The other did not really know the whole truth. 

Elaine had explained it as best she could.  She knew where Sam and Jake were.  She knew that David was capable of raising them and being there for them. 

But who was there for Conner since he died?  Was he with her grandmother who’d died a couple of years before?  What about her recently deceased uncle, was he there with Conner?

How did that work when you died? She had no idea.  She knew what she’d been taught as a child about the afterlife.  But she did not know if that was right or not.  And there was only one way to find out.

Had Conner been on a trip to Europe and needed her, she would have packed a bag and gone immediately without question.  David would have put the trip on the credit card and told her to call him when she landed.  If Conner or any of their sons had ever needed her in life, David would have understood.  Elaine did not know if David would understand that following Conner into death to find him and be with him and make up for the last days and moments of his life when she was not there made just as much sense. 

And if she was wrong?

What if there was nothing after death? 

Then she would go into oblivion. She would never find Conner and would have abandoned David, Sam and Jake for nothing.  But then, blissfully, she would never know it.  That was selfish, she knew, but there was a big part of her that simply couldn’t accept that would be the case.

What if Heaven and Hell existed?

Would she be sentenced to Hell for killing herself in order to find her son? She hoped God would not be that cold and callous, although, she also knew that there were plenty of Hell-worthy sins in her life to atone for.   At the very least before banishing her He would have to let her see Conner – even if it was the last time for eternity.  Conner would know that his mother would go through death to find him. She could tell him she was sorry.  She could let him know she should have been there when he needed her.  She could tell him she would always love him and he would know that if there was a way for her to prevent it, he would never be alone again.

She could go to Hell after that and be ok, she thought.

But then there was hope. 

Hope that she would find him.  Hope that she would be able to still see David, Sam and Jake in some way after her death.  Hope that her grandmothers already had found Conner and were keeping him safe until she could get there.  Hope that Conner would still love her and not hate her for letting him go camping and get lost and fall and break his neck.  

Hope that David, Sam and Jake would be ok and know she loved them and was waiting for them. Hope they would be able to forgive her over time and have good lives before they joined her and Conner.

Elaine realized over the next few weeks that a calm had come over her. 

She enjoyed Sam and Jake. She spent time with them together and alone.  She told them the things she though it was important for them to hear from their mother. 

And she loved David as best she could.  He was beginning to think she was getting better.  He was enjoying the time with her like they had years before, both before and after the boys were born.  They were happy.  

She had chosen a date that she hoped would not ruin any happy times she had with David or the boys.  It was just a Wednesday.  She’d been saving up the pills and would take them one night and leave quietly to go find Conner. 

Her parents and the rest of her family would be devastated, she knew, but there was nothing she could do about that. If her letters could not explain, then nothing could

Her biggest fear (besides not finding Conner) was that Sam and Jake would hate her for abandoning them.  She hoped one day they would understand how she could leave them. 

She knew where Sam and Jake were and she trusted they would be okay with David’s guidance.  She’d left letters that would come to them on different occasions in their lives from the lawyer.  She hoped they knew that if it had been either one of them instead of Conner she would have gone after them, too. 

David had agreed with the idea that Sam and Jake would have a good week split between their grandparents.  She had tried not to cry too hard when they left.  Elaine did not want them to think anything was wrong.  Her mother had known something was wrong, though, and Elaine knew she would not be shocked when they got the call. 

Later on in the week, after a few (last) nights together, Elaine confessed to David what she had done when it was too late for him to stop her. She begged his forgiveness and told him she loved him as she drifted off in his arms for the last time. 

All of a sudden, the light was blinding.  The feeling of falling and flying at the same time made her feel nauseous, or would have if she still had a body. The near-death experiences she’d heard had been accurate, she supposed. 

Elaine stopped in the light and looked back.  She saw David panicking – screaming and shaking her.  Voicelessly, she once again she told him how much she loved him.  To her surprise, Elaine saw David look up at her instead of down at the body he was holding, his eyes wide with shock.  He’d heard her. Maybe he would understand one day after all. She drank in what was possibly her last glimpse of him, filled with hope…

Then she bolted though the light into whatever was beyond Life screaming for her child.

I had an excellent weekend.  It was my birthday. Remind me and I will tell you all about it sometime – if you’re interested, that is.

But this post is not about that.  It is about another rite of passage…one rarer than a birthday. 

Jay put Sawyer’s crib together this weekend.

The boys now share a bedroom.  We are officially raising brothers.

Toys were sorted; furniture rearranged; pictures and mirror hung. I even made the bed and put away their clothes. 

No going back now.  Jay can check that one off his “Now That I am a Dad To Do List.”

There was even the obligatory run to Home Depot for screws. 

Luckily for Jay there was not a problem with instructions and he did not have parts left over at the end, so it all went smoother than an American Express commercial.

Afterwards, we stood back as proud parents and surveyed the results of our efforts with satisfaction, happy and contented.

I wonder if robins do the same thing after a particularly satisfying day of nest feathering.

I looked at the girl as I got on the elevator.  I supposed she was beautiful.  She was certainly dressed the part of the socialite granddaughter of a talented and, in many circles, famous man – complete with suede platform wedges at least eight inches high bought, most assuredly, at Neiman Marcus. 

The man in the elevator with her had already noticed what I had not.  She was holding balloons and remnants of a birthday cake.  He congratulated her.  And she quickly thanked him, countering – proudly and without hesitation – that it was her 25th birthday today. 

I looked at her and thought about when I was 25. 

I remembered that year vividly.  It was the year Lee died

Greta was 4.  An adorable ponytailed t-ball player. 

Kind of like Ezra is now. 

I remarked to the girl that 25 was a good year.  She agreed.  And she then proceeded to tell me how she felt really old now; how she and some friends were going out celebrating tonight; how she was getting up in years and needed to stop smoking a pack a day soon.  You know, start taking care of herself now that she was getting “up there.”

Her voice was a bit raspy.  I imagined she did a good deal of partying. I had heard her in the elevators before.  She was no quiet, demur socialite.  She had a mouth on her… an opinionated one.  I imagined she had been a handful in private school. 

At 25 I had a kid and still managed to have my share of fun.  I could not imagine what it would have been like if, instead of being a single mom raising my child, going to school and working, I was single, living in a kick-ass apartment in downtown Atlanta , had a brand spanking new college degree (on Daddy’s dime, of course), a job at the family company and a fabulous night planned  for my 25th birthday at a club where I would wear $325 stilettoes and be hit on constantly. 

For about a minute I thought how fun that would be. 

But then I remembered that this privileged 25 year-old’s life would pale in comparison to my life at 40.

I had married the man of my dreams and started our family together this (my 40th) year. 

I have replaced waking up hungover and alone on a Saturday or Sunday…

… with waking up in bed every morning with the three most amazing guys on the planet.  Of course, one may have his foot in my face and the other his elbow in my ribs, while the 3rd is waaaay on the other side of a king size bed snoring….. but it is still Heaven.  For the 20 minutes I am awake and they are all still asleep, at least.  Then Ezra’s eyes open and his tongue starts wagging. 

I have replaced constant running conversations with girlfriends about possibilities with this guy or what that guy thinks about our almost hooking up 3 weeks ago but then he only called once like 6 days ago and I am going crazy thinking he is just blowing me off….

…with actually having a conversations with my amazing, talented and funny husband about everything from our plan upon winning the Mega Millions, to issues Ezra has been having at school and Sawyer’s physical therapy… to laughing our asses off about some silly, but hilarious, joke dreamed up halfway through the second (large) bottle of wine at 11:30 on a Sunday evening, how business is going… and where we are going together as a family.

I have replaced bars, dancing to live bands and shots…

…with NOLA jazz (the Loose Marbles) in the kitchen while cooking, drinking wine, and, on occasion, impromptu dances with Ezra and/or holding Sawyer until we are all three laughing and winded in the dining room.  [This is not to say that is totally behind me, however.  When I am IN New Orleans, I will certainly be hearing live music somewhere on Frenchman… more than likely there will also be shots involved.] 

There are other wonderful perks as well…

Last night, while Jay worked, Sawyer was the perfect gentlemen patiently watching a chick flick with me on the couch.  He snuggled up and gave plenty of love and kisses, while both cooing and talking to me here and there – but also sitting quietly and letting me watch the cheesy ending where the girl got the guy but didn’t compromise herself or whatever.  When it was over, he did not once comment on the silliness of the movie. He was the perfect date. 

Tonight Ezra will run to see me when I pick him up from school.  He will want me to read him a book at bedtime.  He will spontaneously tell me I am beautiful and want to sit close to me and just BE together. He will tell me, “Mommy, I you best friend!” (that is, if it has been a good day, it is just as likely that he will say, “I not talking to you, Mommy!” if it has been a bad day…the difference between a tired and hungry toddler and a well-rested and fed toddler)

And then there is quiet time with Jay while children sleep. 

Yeah, that 25 year old doesn’t have a clue what she is missing. 

I wouldn’t change places with her for anything.  My life is too good.

Poor Ezra has been having a rough few days. Last Thursday Jay’s mother, sister and twin nephews came up and spent the night. He had a blast. It was basically a surprise sleep-over for him. They were even allowed to watch part of a movie after lights out. It was a glorious suspension of rigid bedtime rules. He was thrilled.

That started the downfall.

Ezra’s father continued it by (over) filling his weekend with, in addition to t-ball, hiking, visiting friends, playground (which included a nasty – literally, he fell into the mud – fall off a merry-go-round). He was playing to his heart’s content. He was happy and active…
He got to bed late 4 out of 6 nights.

This is a recipe for disaster for Ezra. And it is taking its toll.

He is in a really bad mood. Sometimes. Other times he is breathtakingly adorable, oozing a sweetness and loving nature that shows how kind he truly is.

But those deep emotions run the gamut for Ezra and he has quite a temper. Teaching him to control it is going to be a challenge.

The problem for me is that Ezra is struggling with emotions, concepts and communication. And these are a big deal. Not to mention that his efforts to deal with these big things can be comical and interesting in an absolutely adorable way.

But he can be a defiant little shit child when he is struggling with these things and that is not funny at all. It is maddening.

His latest thing is to tell me, “I not talking to you anymore!”

The vehemence with which he tells me this removes any doubt whether (i) he means what he says and (ii)  is he fully aware of how mean it sounds – he kinda means it that way. He also tells me over and over – talking to me by announcing that he is most certainly NOT talking to me.

I am trying to remove the stressors that contribute to his meltdowns – get him to bed earlier, allow him time to rest and heal up from all his bumps and bruises, feed him well so he is not hungry or on a sugar high in addition to all the other challenges and (try) to deal with him calmly and rationally.

Especially when he isn’t.

Therein lies the problem.

It requires me to stop and think like him. To get inside that little head and find a way to talk to him and explain the situation to him. And get him to understand the appropriate and acceptable way of dealing with the situation. In a way he can not only understand, but also in a way he will accept and try to implement.

There is a lot of bargaining. I try and make sure it is not done by compromising my expectations, but instead by showing him how acting appropriately is beneficial to him, both practically and emotionally.
[Do what you NEED to do first, then you can do what you WANT to do.  If you walk to the car and get on your seatbelt first, it will be easier for you to figure out how to turn your Bumblebee transformer back into a car rather than try and do it WHILE you are walking to the car. If you wait until you get to the car to do it, you will walk faster (which will make Mommy happier) and you will have an easier time putting Bumblebee together when you can focus on what you are doing. But, not doing that and getting too frustrated does NOT mean it is ok to lose your temper and throw Bumblebee across the car.]

So I find myself saying, “Calm down and pay attention.”

Over and over and over again for an hour and a half every morning.

But you know the even more frustrating thing about all this?

It means I have to watch myself. I have to “Calm down and pay attention.” Because if I cannot do it, then exactly how am I going to be able to teach a four-year-old little boy with a lot of conflicting emotions how to do it? Yeah, that is the sucky flip-side of parenting – the responsibility part.

The living example part. Even on the small thngs. 

Just another way in which I have to grow up so I can raise good kids. Not my favorite part of parenting, but it is a requirement – at least for me, anyway.

Some of you may be all grown up already. But I don’t think that would be near as much fun. 

Do you ever feel like that? 

Like you know that the time of your life you are living right this very minute is precious and will be the time that you will look back on with nostalgia 10 or 15 years from now…. But you still have that overwhelming feeling that you are hanging on by your fingernails?

Every morning I wake up with either Jay and Sawyer or (most days) with Jay, Sawyer and Ezra sleeping soundly next to me.  We have a hard time getting out of bed at our house, so alarms go off starting at 6a.  That would be Jay’s phone first at 6a (not that we get up then… it is just the warning shot across the bow that time is drawing nigh).  My alarm clock goes off at 7a, and 7:30a (yes, I set 2 alarms on that baby) and it snoozes a couple of times in between (I must get up at 7a, I usually make it by 7:15).  BOTH Jay and I have our cells set to go off at 8a.  My 8a alarm on my phone is aptly titled “Walk out the door” because I need, every single bleeping day, to drop whatever I am doing and head to my car at 8a sharp.  This rarely happens. I usually make it by 8:10, which puts me rushed, but still most likely at my desk at 9a (unless Atlanta traffic intervenes, which it sometimes does). 

But in that time between 6a and 7:15 or so I lay there and bask in the quiet breathing of all my guys.  Ezra is not allowed to sleep with us, however, he is allowed snuggle time sometime after 5:30a.  Jay would rather this not happen, but I cannot help it. 

Do you know why?

Because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this will end without any prompting.  One day he will not only NOT want to snuggle up in bed with me, I won’t be able to bribe or pay him to do it. 

And I will look back on this time right now and miss it so badly that I will ache. 

I will remember the days of t-ball when he somehow switched teams after a base hit and, instead of running to second on the next hit, chased the ball into the outfield with the other team. 

I will miss the days when he said “LEL-LOW” for “yellow” and the way his sentences sounded before he learned “your” is the possessive form of “you.”

I will think back fondly to the days when he would look up and ask, “Mommy, you want to watch Caillou with me?”  patting the seat next to him, batting those eyelashes and looking at me with big blue eyes.  And I will regret telling him that I can’t right now because Mommy has to __________ (clean the kitchen/cook dinner/go to the grocery store)….even though part of me knew it was really because I could not handle watching another second of Caillou …for the millionth time. 

I will hate that I told him that Mommy could not turn on the music and dance with him right now because I had a headache.  Because I KNOW he will not want to dance with his mother very long. 

But as much as I know I will miss this and, even though I am getting teary-eyed as I type this right now, I know it HAS to happen. 

Because I have been faced with the idea of what it means if he doesn’t out-grow all those things. 

I know what it means if Sawyer still wants to do all those things with me when he is 14. 

It will mean that he probably has not developed normally and that he may not be able to live on his own – maybe he will never be able to.   And that is, oh, so much worse. 

But even knowing all this, I still struggle.  I still feel stressed and overwhelmed.  I still feel some days like I am barely hanging on and I am simply trying to fool everyone into thinking that I have it together – and that very thought makes me laugh out loud at myself to think I could possibly fool anyone into thinking something so stupid.  I still want that glass (or bottle) of wine at the end of the day on a Tuesday night to take the edge off.  And I still think about the last 3 xanax in my possession and wonder if tonight is the night I should take one. 

This worries me. 

Because how will I ever be able to hold it together when these boys are teenagers and have homework and girlfriends and social problems at school??  Not to even mention the hormonal crap (Jay knows this will be his area) that will hit around 12! 

In other words, if I am struggling with working and mothering and balancing it all now, during the easy part, how will I ever manage when it is hard?? 

Of course, that is borrowing trouble from the future, now isn’t it? And each day has enough troubles to fill it without reaching out to worry about problems that haven’t even happened yet (I am pretty sure that concept is Biblical, and put way more eloquently).

I suppose the only answer I need is found at 6:15a when I am surrounded by the people most precious to me. When we are in our little nest together I know that everything is perfect and I am exactly the person I need to be. 

I need to keep in mind throughout the day when I am feeling stressed and vulnerable and inadequate that this morning at 6a I was all I needed to be… and the reason that I am out here in the world working and doing all the other things I do is so I can be safe and content in that nest with them tomorrow at 6:15a. 

Please, let me keep this in the forefront of my mind.  Because when compared to my husband and my three children, there truly is nothing else that matters.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34. 

Told you it was more eloquent.