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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hangin' By a Chronos

Boy have I been chomping at the bit to talk with you all.

I read a blog yesterday by Glennon Melton called Don't Carpe Diem. Maybe you read it? If not, I'm amazed since it seems every single Facebook friend I have posted and shared it. It was shared over 76, 000 times on Facebook alone! 76 THOUSAND times.

If you are part of the 1% who has NOT read this...I urge you...go NOW and read it. And pretend I wrote it because I sort of did. I mean...I think she somehow mind-melded with me and took every single thought I've ever had about parenting and arranged it into this amazing and articulate masterpiece.

I was mentally kicking myself thinking, "Why didn't I write that??!"

My sister offered one possibility: Other than the obvious: I'm not Glennon Melton.  I'm too hung up on the need to tie things up with a bow so that I don't come across as too negative. I've been feeling my posts on here of late were pretty negative anyway. And you KNOW there will ALWAYS be that bonehead who has to be antagonistic and tear you to shreds about bemoaning any part of parenting.

Every time I want to be negative...or REAL, as I feel it is...I'm so afraid someone will think I am not grateful for my beautiful kids or I'll offend those who would give anything to have babies. What about those who are opposed to big families (for whatever inane reason)...I hate to give them the satisfaction of a smug,  "I told you so" attitude.

So, yes, the voices in my head are many. And I'm tired of listening to all of them.

In fact, I'm in a bit of a funk lately.

Seems that's typical for me in pregnancy. I get exceptionally moody and extra hormonal. I get the baby blues early and want to shut myself in a cave...I'm a breath of fresh air to live with.

And I tend to dwell on Chronos moments more than I should. You don't know what Chronos is? Then you obviously haven't read "Don't Carpe Diem" yet! Go ahead...I'll be here when you get back...

See? Wasn't that a good read? Don't tell me...you laughed. You cried...Right? Go ahead, share it on your FB page. I'll wait for that too...

Anyway...I was telling my sister how my Kairos moments tend to kick in at night, after I've rushed the kids to bed. I've held onto every vestige of patience I have waiting while they fight, put on pajamas, dig for 10 minutes for the perfect toy to have in bed, wrestle, brush teeth, play in the water, tattle on whoever wronged them, pick out a library of books to "read" in bed, tell me 22 last minute stories about the boy who sits next to them in school, and generally drive me mad. I threaten, I breathe heavy, I regain composure, I tuck in, I kiss them goodnight, I pray with them, and then...just when I am tip-toeing out of their rooms...looking at the light in the hallway like I'll one day look at the light surrounding St Peter, all hell breaks loose.

M cries that he wants a different book, L needs a drink, E's head hurts, R wants to tell me one more story about his day, and I look over to find the baby standing up in her crib, jumping up and down with not a care in the world...nor any sign that she will be going to sleep any time soon.

It's THOSE moments when my pleasant demeanor breaks and my "Goodnight-Mommy-Loves-You-Angels facade falls apart and I lose it.

I yell, "I said Good NIGHT! It's LATE! Mommy needs a BREAK!" And then I start barking orders and the peace and magic of the sweet bedtime is broken.

I usually end up apologizing, but by that time the damage is done. THAT'S how they will remember bedtime being. Not a soft kiss on their forehead and a sweet, whispered 'goodnight' but a guttural, animalistic, Linda Blair "GOOD NIGHT!"

And then I finally slink downstairs to the solace I've been pining for...okay so what if the dinner dishes are still on the table and the sink is overflowing with lunch dishes, and there is macaroni and cheese all over the floor, and toys strewn from here to there and everywhere, and our front door looks like a Payless store with everyone's shoes thrown haphazardly all around...it's my solace. I choose to ignore all that, the laundry in the basement, the baby banging her bottle off the back of her crib upstairs, M's weird bedtime chanting ritual, and I sit down. I take a breath and I enjoy the moment that no one is yelling at me or ordering me around or needing something from me.

And then...the guilt sets in. Those nagging voices that tell me how mean I was to the kids and how I will one day miss these days when they are all so little and at home with me. I feel the tears burning my eyes and my throat feels tight. I'm sure I've caused irrevocable damage--yet again--by being so short tempered with those little babies. I feel awful that I blew off R when he wanted to share something from his day with me. After all, it will be in no time at all when he won't want to tell me anything.

And poor E. How callus of me to disregard her headache. After all, I've had my share of migraines that no one cared about and I know how miserable they can be. Poor L. He didn't have a lot of juice at dinner. I'd sure hate to go to bed thirsty and not be allowed to have a drink.

So the guilt and the voices drive me up, out of my seat. I tip-toe back upstairs and into the boys' bedroom. I get L a drink of water and I tap R on his skinny little arm and say in a whisper, "Hey, Buddy! What was it you wanted to tell Mommy?" I smile serenely and rub my finger over his soft little cheek. And he starts to tell me his story. But it's not in the library-worthy soft whisper and tone that I used. It's in his full-on "Have I got a story for you" voice. I wince at how loud it is and sharply shush him. The shush gets M's attention, who rolls over abruptly in his crib and starts yelling that he wants a toy. Then L asks if he can get more water, and in doing so, gets E's attention across the hall. She, in turn, starts yelling to me that her head still hurts. I sigh very heavily and hold my head like it may explode at any moment. Because it very well may.

And then...I do it again. I yell to everyone to get quiet and get in bed,  in a voice Johnny Cash would have envied. And then I repeat all the same motions as the first go-round of bedtime...complete with the guilty walking of the gauntlet where I collapse on the couch downstairs feeling worse than I had the first time.

Moral of that story: Do your apologies the next morning.

No seriously...the moral is...I don't know the moral. That's just where I happen to be right now. I'm beaten. I'm tired. I'm done.

And yet I know it will all start again in just a few short hours. Plus, this house needs to be picked up before the husband gets home and utters the unforgivable. "What did you do all day? This house is a mess!" And I have to add murder to my list of sins for the evening.

And I'm reaching into that reserve of mothering-ness that we're all supposed to have somewhere. I think it got lost along with my waist, my desire to cook and sew and do my hair and makeup every day.

And I think, "This sucks."

Why can't I carpe diem better? I feel the diem keeps carpe-ing my ass instead.

And then I get hateful and think things like this about perfect strangers, "I hate you all. Get off my planet."

And I reel it back in...slowly I refocus and try to spin my head back around.

And I remember those other wise words I've heard parents with grown kids say...."Your kids won't remember those times you snapped at them. They will remember more how much you love them."

And I hope to God they're right!
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