No one was around when it happened. Which, as a mother of three children ages five and under, means I was in the bathroom with the door locked. I wasn’t actually going to the bathroom, just stealing a few minutes to myself so I could check email and Facebook uninterrupted.
As I was reading through my Facebook feed, I read this amazing piece, about a mother with a sixth grader observing a mother of toddlers. I cried. Sitting right there on the closed toilet, tears streaming down my face. This time is so fleeting, this time when my children actually want to be with me, need to be with me. My five year old is already moving past it. I can see it, in real time. Why do I continue to squander it? Why am I locking myself in the bathroom when I can be out there with my children in this blink of time?
And then my three year old screamed at a pitch that, unfortunately, was not quite so high that only dogs could hear it but awfully close. And the spell was broken.
This is a constant tension for me. I love my children so much at times I actually want to eat them. I want to squeeze their squishy legs and bury my head into their squidgy tummies. I want to roll around with them like a lioness with her cubs. I want to completely envelop them, mimicking the short months they were actually part of me.
And then. Sometimes I just need a break. The mess. One room being tornadoed into a pile of paper and markers and superheroes as I’m in the process of cleaning another. The noise, the noise. It’s just so noisy all the time. Shrieking, screaming battles over a pair of socks. The increasingly high-pitched “ma ma ma ma” from my baby if I can’t get him more Cheerios the second he wants them. The need. I counted once and the word “Mommy” was uttered 46 times in the 30 minutes it took for me to prepare dinner. It is overwhelming to be needed so much. It is also lovely and necessary and I am so grateful for these three healthy children who can express what they need and feel comfortable asking for it. But it is just. so. much.
I am an introvert. I love being with other people, especially my family, but in order to recenter I need time to myself. I find this time in running and in my stolen minutes in the bathroom. This need seems to exist for a lot of other mothers. Perhaps you’ve also seen the many posts and pie charts and Facebook statuses of exhausted moms wishing for a day all to themselves this Mother’s Day.
That’s actually not my wish for Mother’s Day. What I really wish is that I can freeze this Mother’s Day – or any of these days – and come back to it when my baby is in sixth grade. Or when I’m fifty or seventy. When I have the perspective to appreciate how wonderful this time is, when the harshness of its edges have been rubbed smooth with time. When I stop young moms on the street and say “this time goes by so fast. Enjoy it.”
But since I can’t do that, my wish is that I can, for one day, live in this moment with my family. Living in the moment is not something I excel at. I can be at the top of a mountain, looking down at the view, but unable to fully enjoy it because I know that this majestic view means I’m very high up and have a very long way down. This is not just a metaphor, it is actually what happens when I am at the top of a mountain.
But on this one day, I want to focus on us – us as a unit and as individual parts – as we are right now. As a strong and kind husband, as one- and three- and five-year-old squishy, opinionated, loud, funny individuals. Because I know the number of Mother’s Days we all have together in one house is limited.
But I also need to focus on me, and my own needs, which will mean some time to myself, too. I want to embrace that dichotomy – the need to be with my husband and my kids, and the need to let them be. I want to embrace having no one around without guilt. And then I want to leave that aloneness and jump right back into our messy, noisy house, filled with love and life and laughter.
And to my husband, if you’re reading this: and chocolate. I also want chocolate.
This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the theme “No one was around when it happened.” This was my first time trying this out (basically writing a post based on a prompt thought up by someone in the group), and it was a lot of fun! If you’re interested, check out the Facebook page. This week was hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, Lisa (this week’s sentence thinker-upper) from Flingo, and Jessica from Ramblings of an add mommy.