I consoled myself with a pile of frozen waffles.
I stood at my kitchen counter, hovered over my phone and a plate of golden, crunchy goodness, drowning them in syrup.
The waffles, not the phone.
Yesterday, it was a fast food lunch.
Chicken nuggets that had been overcooked and that tasted dry in my mouth. I didn’t care, and just smothered them with an unseemly amount of honey mustard while I took sips from my cold coke, praying that my children wouldn’t interrupt me before I could continue on to the euphoria also known as onion rings.
My husband and I went away last weekend.
For two and half days, we had only each other, and the blissful silence of a beach house down in Virginia. It was wonderful. I laid in bed for two hours stretches on more than one occasion, looking at my phone, staring at the ceiling, trying to decide if I actually wanted to get up.
Who was I kidding? Of course not!
I accomplished exactly nothing in two days. Except for reconnecting with my husband and remembering why we fell in love in the first place, and also that he’s painfully slow at cooking, but really, really good at it.
We returned home, and I fully anticipated the afterglow of our weekend away to last a lot longer than it did.
Then I realized how messy my house actually was on Monday morning, even without counting the laundry I now needed to do for five people who had been away all weekend.
By Monday night, my youngest child’s diaper rash that we have been fighting with for weeks flared up to the worst it’s been (I might need to consider calling in FEMA), and my oldest child has a fever.
I was woken up two hours early yesterday because my sick child crawled into bed with me in tears, and pressed his hot body against mine in a bid for comfort. He was burning up and miserable.
We spent a good chunk of time at the doctor’s office yesterday, during which time I remembered hearing about cases of hand, foot and mouth disease making the rounds at the local YMCA, where my children go for child watch while I sweat to death trying to rid myself of my muffin top.
My son had red spots and ulcers in his mouth, but tested negative for the big S (str*p). Surprise surprise, my youngest also was found to have ulcers in her throat, and she was also tested for strep. The skin on her bottom was also swabbed and tested for other potential issues in case we weren’t just dealing with a Paris Hilton-sized wreck of a rash.
After we returned home and I was scrubbing remnants of food left on plates that had piled high in the sink this morning, a hot lump formed in my throat as I realized, in frustration, how far away last weekend felt. How that two day long reprieve seemed like a small, insignificant drop in the bucket of life.
It almost feels like it didn’t even happen.
And I find myself here again, ready for a break. Craving space. Some relief. Some peace.
It seems like almost everything in my life is interrupted by children.
Does that sound harsh? If it does, then you’re not a parent.
Phone calls. Conversations. Sleep. Thoughts. Songs on the radio. Prayers. Well laid plans. Time at the gym. Time away from the house. Time for myself. Chores. Errands.
Bless their hearts, I love them so. But sometimes, I am so tired of having my life and my plans interrupted by the needs of others.
I know how selfish that sounds. I really, really do.
But after almost seven years, I’d like to start having SOME sense of having a plan, of having it all together. I’d like to think that if I intend to do one thing, and set out to do so, that it might get seen through to the end.
The kids being sick means I can’t go to the gym. The kids being sick means I need to stay home instead of finding something productive or exciting to do with our time. The kids being sick means I’m getting up at night to divvy out Motrin or check someone’s temperature.
It just means yet another symphony of interruption.
Side note: I tried to adopt a dog this past spring.
We lost our two beloved family canines this past winter, and we were devastated. My mom works at the local animal shelter, and she called me about a marvelous dog named Traveller. Part border Collie, part shepherd. He was handsome. He was laid back. He looked as American as apple pie. He was everything.
I tried for two weeks help Traveller adapt to living in our house. But it was all pointless. He was used to more space and freedom than we without a fence could give him (I feel you, buddy.) He needed more exercise than I was able to keep up with.
I loved him so, and we bonded in those two weeks. I was crushed when it didn’t work out.
If we had met five years ago, this doggy and me, or five years from now, maybe it could have worked. He was an amazing dog for another time in my life. A time that doesn’t really really exist right now.
Since then, I have selfishly mourned where I am in my life.
In this season, I am up to my eyeballs in the needs of others, as only mothers of small children can be. I don’t kid myself in believing that it will somehow magically be easier when they are older, but the physical demands of small children have no parallel.
That still doesn’t stop me from wallowing when I just want to feel refreshed for more than six minutes after a weekend away.
It doesn’t stop me from wallowing when the baby is sick, again. Or when our date night is cancelled, again. Or my thirty minutes of Netflix time is interrupted. Or my gym time is interrupted. Or when time to just sit in silence and pray is cut short.
When everything is interrupted, I wonder why I even try.
I wonder what the point of even bothering to do so is. Why tempt myself only to have the rug pulled out from under me. Why create boundaries when people will ignore them and come to ask me questions about granola bars while I’m standing in the shower.
Those really weren’t questions, they’re more like statements.
I’m struggling. I’m learning about how I can be at peace with whatever life throws my way. I’m trying to see the forrest through the trees, the poetry of children in motion. This time in my life is also one that I can never get back. But that’s just as true about any time in your life, right??
I know that a full life is one of interruption. It’s one that makes you stop, and smell the roses, or sometimes, it just makes you stop to remember that there even are roses. I know that interruptions are the seeds of a life well lived. That is just as true today as it is tomorrow.
For now, though, I’ll just take the waffles.