Thursday, November 30, 2017

This Too Shall Pass

It’s not like this is going to last forever…

The thought stands silently-yet-firmly at the back of my mind, encouraging me to keep pressing on in spite of some of the more trying moments that accompany this season of life. 

I remember it when I’m meandering through a crowded Walmart store at 4:30 pm with an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler in tow, trying to keep the spinning preschooler out of the way of other shoppers and the toddler from twisting around and waking the sleeping infant as I attempt to stuff a week’s worth of groceries around the infant’s bulky carseat.  I remember it when the preschooler suddenly announces she has to pee, not only because it’s going to be a chore to trek all the way across the expansive store and drag all three kids into the potty room with me, but because my daughter is completely terrified of the automatically-flushing toilets.   I remember it as the four of us enter the last stall in our winter coats, my toddler’s mittens-on-a-string dangling down and kissing the dirty floor as I pull the preschooler’s pants down and she starts screaming bloody murder at the cacophony of flushing toilets and blasting hand dryers surrounding us.  I remember it as I gently-yet-forcibly set her down on the seat, telling her she’ll feel so much better once she goes and that I’ll hold her hands the entire time as I pray the other customers don’t start to speculate that some form of abuse is going on inside our stall.

I remember it when I’m huddled in the corner of our living room couch, attempting to nurse a distracted baby as the two-year-old and four-year-old shriek and wrestle and bounce around next to me, bumping into me as I shield the baby’s head and shove them away.
I remember it when it’s the night before Halloween and I’m learning I’ll be taking the kids trick-or-treating solo for the second year in a row because my husband will be working out-of-town overnight.

I remember it when I’m racing around the house to the sound of a screaming infant, tripping over kids as I change their diapers, fix their hair, and stuff them into puffy coats and gloves that make it near-impossible to get their little fingers into the right places, all in a mad dash to get the four-year-old off to preschool on time.

I remember it when I’m yanking the two-year-old off of the newborn for the umpteenth time in a row for fear that he’ll either crush or suffocate the baby with his lumbering love.

I remember it when I’m attempting to make a double batch of cookies to share with the
neighbors while the baby snores in his carrier, drooling on my chest, and the other two twerps suddenly pop up in front of me, blinking brightly, asking if they can please “help.”  I remember it when my focus gets fudged by their chatter as they’re taking turns dumping in cupfuls of flour and I have to take the four-year-old’s word as to how much they’ve already put in.  I remember it when the cookies come out of the oven smelling delicious but looking flat as pancakes and it takes me two hours of distracted, start-and-stop, trial-and-error to fix them because I’m stubborn and cheap and the thought of tossing them makes me want to “toss my cookies” in a whole different way.

I remember it when I go on a harried Christmas shopping spree for toys only to find out the next day that all toys from that store are 25% off.  Alanis would call the scenario ironic, but it’s actually just annoying.  I remember it when I drag myself across town to return the gifts and rebuy them for that one-day sale, and I remember it again when, thanks to all of the weird videos of grown men and women unpackaging and playing with the latest toys on YouTube, my daughter proceeds to change the top item on her Christmas wish list on a daily basis. 

…Oh, I remember it.

I remember it when I’ve finally finished cleaning our grimy kitchen only to find that the two-year-old has completely torn apart the back two bedrooms in the process.

I remember it when I consider my now-regular wardrobe of sweatpants, baggy T-shirts, and hoodies, when I suddenly notice how long my fingernails have gotten because I don’t take the time to trim them, and when I try to run my fingers through my hair but can’t because of the dreadlock-like snarls that have formed near the base of my neck from lack of brushing, because, again, who has time for that?

I remember it when it’s the end of a long day of caring for and playing with my three high-maintenance monkeys, and after the toddler has gone to bed, all I want to do is collapse on the couch, but the preschooler innocently approaches me and asks what we can do for some “special time” together.  Then, after she’s long been asleep and so has my husband, I remember it when the baby won’t settle down after his final feeding.  In tired desperation, I lie him down on the couch near my chest, facing me, and I listen to him squeak and sigh and sing sweetly into my heart, and as we’re both drifting off into dreamland, I remember to savor moments like these, because it’s not like this is going to last forever.

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