Reality Isn’t So Bad.

Somehow I made it through another summer.

I know this because Maverick starts school tomorrow. And I know that because I filled out a bunch of forms today while a toddler pulled on my arm.

2nd grade! How did that happen? And also, isn’t it time for college? They’re all so big and so small and they need so much from me but not quite as much as they used to. So it’s just weird right now. We are all transitioning, I’m sleeping through the night, but there’s still poop all over the toilet seat. So clearly we aren’t out of the woods just yet.

I used to write about everything that happened, and now it all happens so fast that I don’t have time to write it down, because before I have a chance to form the words on paper another thing happens, followed by another. Days and weeks of hard things and hilarity and the monotonous joy of being a mother to three tiny humans who all know the words to Walk The Moon’s Shut Up And Dance have blended together into a chapter that I’ll just call 2015.

SummerToday I was looking at each of my children, thinking about what makes them special and how I don’t have enough time to dwell on their good qualities because I’m too busy keeping them from blowing up the house, and I realized that my job isn’t to document everything for them to review at a later date. My job is to keep them alive.

Keeping them alive is a full time job.

I wish I had more time to soak up the good things, and I wish the bad things would just stop happening, but that’s what they call denial. I live in reality.

So today, after a very long day of the last day of summer, after I split the boys up because they wouldn’t stop fighting, as I was half-heartedly stirring a pot of Tuna Mac with toddler wedged firmly underneath me, Robbie walked into the house and gave me the kind of kiss where you get dipped backwards.

Right there in the kitchen.

Reality isn’t so bad, you guys.

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Resist Urge To Scream.

This blog post is based on a series of real-life events.

6:30 a.m. Stumble to coffee maker. Mumble good morning to spouse. Wonder how this is happening again already.

7:00 a.m. Breakfast.

7:30 a.m. Tell Robbie goodbye. Hold screaming child back as he tries to run after the car. Brew another cup of coffee.

9:15 a.m. Look out of the kitchen window to see Asher standing naked in the driveway and Maverick on the roof of our vehicle with the water hose. Both are screaming.

9:16 a.m. Choose to ignore staring neighbors.

9:30 a.m. Boys come inside because they both have to poop and we don’t allow them to poop in the yard.

9:45 a.m. Pepper touches my unshaven legs while trying to climb into my lap and gets very upset because they “ouched” her.

9:46 a.m. Took a picture of her subsequent screaming because she wouldn’t stop and I didn’t know what else to do.

This is an actual photo of my child crying because she touched my hairy legs.

This is an actual photo of my child crying because she touched my hairy legs.

10:00 a.m. Take stock of my day.

10:10 a.m. Brew another cup of coffee.

10:15 a.m. Realize that the only method of survival is pool time.

10:45 a.m. Head to the pool.

Asher would wear his goggles 24/7 if we let him.

Asher would wear his goggles 24/7 if we let him.

11:00 a.m. Check Pepper into the nursery.

11:05 a.m. Arrive at pool with the boys and look for a lounge chair. The first two I sit in are broken. Resist urge to scream.

11:07 a.m. Move to chair number three. Notice that the lifeguard is looking at me from behind his smug hipster sunglasses.

Resist urge to scream.

11:09 a.m. OH MY GOD THIS CHAIR IS FUCKING BROKEN TOO.

12:00 p.m. Head home.

12:30 p.m. Prepare lunch that no one is excited about, including me.

1:30 p.m. Decide that the world will not end if Asher wears his Darth Vader costume to the grocery store.

This photo pretty much sums up my entire Summer. A whole lotta Darth.

This photo pretty much sums up my entire Summer. A whole lotta Darth.

1:45 p.m. Load kids into the van. Go inside to pee in peace.

1:48 p.m. Return to van and discover emergency brake was pulled while I was inside. No one will own up to it. Both boys are now buckled into their car seats. Realize I have never used the emergency brake in this vehicle. Unable to locate it because three children are yelling.

Resist urge to scream.

1:50 p.m. Call Robbie at work and ask him to tell me where the emergency brake is. FORBID HIM TO JUDGE ME.

2:00 p.m. Arrive at grocery store. Plunk Pepper into a shopping cart and find that the seat belt is broken. Select another cart. The seat belt is broken on that one, too.

Resist urge to scream.

2:25 p.m. Buy potatoes. Open “share size” bag of M&M’s in the checkout line and cram them furiously into my mouth.

Refuse to share.

3:00 p.m. Make potato salad from scratch. Wonder who fucking makes potato salad from scratch anymore because it’s a lot of fucking work.

3:10 p.m. Spend the next 30 minutes making sure my toddler doesn’t get burned by the pot of boiling water.

4:10 p.m. Verify Asher’s arm is not broken.

4:11 p.m.  Remind Maverick that no one wants to see his private parts.

4:15 p.m. Get band-aid and ice pack for injured child. Scream at boys to stop trying to put toys up their behinds. Finish potato salad.

4:20 p.m. Locate a large glass bowl and dump it in. Notice that the bowl is broken and there are shards of glass now mixed into the potato salad.

4:21 p.m. Walk outside to throw broken dish and the potato salad away.

Scream.

Screaming

No caption needed.

4:25 p.m. Count the days until school starts.

5:00 p.m. Start cooking dinner.

6:00 p.m. Wine.

7:00 p.m. Count the days until school starts again.

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Things I’m Not Afraid To Admit.

Life is fucking hard, man.

People don’t say that often enough. Maybe because they think they will sound weak or whiny. Maybe because they’re afraid of judgement. Maybe because they are worried that it’s not hard for other people. Maybe it’s just hard for them.

Maybe they’re afraid that if they open their mouths and admit to someone else that life is hard, it will mean that they just aren’t religious enough. Maybe they aren’t good enough for God to make it easier.

Maybe He can’t hear them. Maybe He isn’t even there.

I don’t believe any of that.

I long for Robbie and I to go back in time approximately 10-12 years, back to our previous life when our biggest concerns were as follows:

1. Where everyone was going to go that night,

2. What I was going to wear,

3. And how much sex was too much sex. Wait … never mind. That wasn’t a concern. So really we only had two things to worry about.

Throw in a fear of pregnancy and not having enough money to pay my $350/month rent, and that pretty much covers my early twenties. I want to go back to that time, not because I don’t want my kids or the life that I have now, but because I want to remember what it felt like to be less exhausted than I currently am. Right now, I’m close to being exhausted enough to stop showering, and if you know me, you know that this is MAJOR.

This thought hit me the other night when I was engrossed in watching a YouTube video of someone extracting impacted earwax from a man’s ear. I looked up to show Robbie, but he had fallen asleep listening to an audio book of Game of Thrones.

When I yelled, “What is happening to us?! WHO ARE WE?!?” it made him jump.

The next night, I sidled up to him and purred seductively, “Are you going to watch the rest of this baseball game?” He said, “I don’t know … I might fall asleep.”

I gathered my pillows and went to the couch, wishing for things to be less mid-thirties and more mid-twenties.

This morning I was passive-aggressively flipping through a magazine, feeling angry that I am so tired, that three-year-old children are so irrational, that my husband is just as tired as I am, that I don’t ever have time to write, and that people constantly need something from me.

Most of all, I was angry that I am becoming everything that I said I would never be.

I’m resentful, unkempt, and irritable. I yell. A lot.

I recoil when my husband touches me. I am touched out, talked out, cleaned out and incredibly tired of going to the grocery store. I’m exhausted of feeding people and cleaning up messes and hearing complaints from at least one person at all times, because there are five people in this house and no one is ever happy all at the same time and that includes me.

I’m a jerk.

I was gone for 4 days and it didn’t help. It just made me want more time away. It was a tiny drop in my dried-out bucket. I do my best to care for myself, but I still come up short. I’m being pulled in so many different directions, every day. I am asked to give more, even when I don’t have anything left, every day.

I am a frazzled mom.

That makes me wish that I could travel back in time to when life was simpler. Look how smooth our faces were. Look how close we are standing to each other. His hand is practically on my ass, and who could blame him? No one was squeezing in between us, yelling “MY Daddy!!!”

I want to warp-speed myself back to THIS.

I want to warp-speed myself back to THIS.

This is why people tell you not to rush your life — because you never know what the next season might bring. It might be really fucking hard.

You might have children stuck to you like agitated starfish for 12 hours a day.

You might have to unclog toilets and wipe up pee and chase small people who are surprisingly fast.

You might tear your hamstring in Kickboxing class because you’re getting old and you didn’t warm up properly.

As I mulled this over today in a brief moment of peace, during which I spaced out and sat completely motionless because no one needed me, I heard a sound coming from the bathroom.

“I bwush my teef.”

That’s what she was saying to me as she held up her toothbrush, smiling that double-dimpled smile that exposes her perfect toddler teeth.

I want to travel back in time.My baby just turned two and can hold full conversations.

“I bwush my teef.”

I stood there and stared at her. It was like I couldn’t breathe.

She’s so beautiful. So smart, so sweet. So cuddly and funny. She isn’t just beautiful because she’s pretty. She’s beautiful because she glows.

I am so grateful.

She held up her toothbrush. “MOUF!!!!” (That’s “mouth” in toddler-speak.)

The thing about seasons is that even on the darkest night, when the wind is howling at your door, there is still a moon in the sky. It’s not all bad, even when it’s fucking hard.

And I’m not afraid to admit that out loud, either.

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