Things have been dreadful around here.
Okay, so maybe the word “dreadful” is taking it a bit too far. But, I don’t want to lie to you, things have not been fun.
The Northeastern sector of the country, where we live, has been drenched with rain for nearly the entire month of May. I am not exaggerating. At all.
This means a lot of days inside. A lot of television watched. A lot children going crazy from cabin fever.
I must have jinxed myself. Because I started going to the gym again. I dared to catch up tremendously on lots of house work, and even thought I might be able to manage repainting my master bedroom this summer. I did all sorts of productive things.
Which meant that, naturally, half of the family would be wiped out with sickness over the course of the last three weeks, and I would be considering fumigation as a viable housekeeping option.
Let me back up to the three-solid-weeks-of-germs thing.
I have had boogers smeared across my shoulder, and in my hair by grumpy and needy children. Fevers. Wakeful nights. More fevers.
Now, I’m even infected.
I recently put all of the medicine bottles back in the bathroom the other day. We normally keep them handy in the kitchen when we are dosing children around the clock. Decorating with ibuprofen bottles and medicine droppers is kind of the hipster thing to do. You wouldn’t understand if you’re not a parent. </sarcasm>
This is what I get for deigning to think that we were done with sickness. Or that life was calm.
I brought this on myself.
I feel like this is the way it always goes.
We have a few good weeks. I feel on top of things. Things are running relatively smooth.
Then the pendulum swings back the other way…
And handily knocks me over.
This is the cycle of being a stay at home mother.
You feel as though you pay dearly for those lulls in activity and stress. When things seem too easy, you come to find out that they probably are, and you are reminded of the way that life is supposed to be. Or really is? I’m not sure.
Everyone is telling you that you’ll wish you had these days back, but truthfully, nobody wants cold and flu and allergy season with small children. We just think that we do. We love the idea of nursing babies and kids through colds with soup and crackers, love and snuggles because it seems so easy. We don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
Then we live it, and we try not to bang our head against the wall.
See? The pendulum does a-swingeth.
The best that I can do, as I console myself over the amount of television my children have watched and the amount of frozen meals that we have heated over the last month, is remind myself that I’m doing my best.
It’s nothing magical. There is nothing outright soothing about reminding yourself that you are doing the best that you can do. It doesn’t magically do the dishes in the sink, or get the laundry folded, or the smushed banana out of the carpet. It doesn’t quell the fevers, doesn’t wipe the red noses. It doesn’t make that five hour stretch of sleep you had feel like eight.
But sometimes, it does restore a bit of sanity. It helps us reset. The only thing that we can do sometimes is our best. And maybe try to tell ourselves that our children will remember us rocking them to sleep when they were feverish. Or how we laid in bed with them until they were able to fall asleep.
I dare say, that my kids aren’t gonna remember how messy or how clean the house was on that Tuesday in May when they were four, and I were busy realizing that the place was trashed, yet again. But they do remember how I laid with them on my shoulder, with a wet rag draped across their forehead.
They probably won’t notice the way that we moms breathe in the scent of their hair. Or how we couldn’t get over how pink their cheeks were when we were standing over them in the dark.
Those moments are just for us. They’re our due as we try to reconcile the perpetual hurricane that is mothering. It’s the things that only we can notice, because only we can mother them. Only we can find a couple of snot-nosed, grumpy kids the stuff of poetry. Only we can sense the divine in days spent dealing with children who argue over granola bars or dumping toilet water on the floor in the bathroom. It’s a harvest that is ripe for the gathering.