I’m writing this at 8:07 on a Thursday night. "Go Diego Go" is on in the background, but there are no kids in the room – it’s just still running while Diego tries to save the baby porcupine. I don’t even hear it anymore. There is one tiny shoe in the chair with me – who knows where the other one is? I’ll find it at some point very early tomorrow morning when we’re all running around yelling and trying to get out the door by 7:30 a.m. There are two decks of playing cards strewn all over the floor (“strewn” – that word was invented to describe the interaction among small children, a clean floor, and all of the toys in the house), mixed in with some of Ruby’s homework papers. For dinner, one daughter just ate blue oatmeal that she made herself (the blue is from food coloring). The other one just ate three spoonfuls of sour cream and a questionable amount of soup before spilling the remainder on the floor and then playing a game called Volcano in the puddle. (Volcano, near as I can tell, involves jumping up and down in the mess while screaming, “My feet are the people! Run away!”)
The baby porcupine episode of Diego is over now. Now he’s trying to save a baby flamingo. The kids are back. Georgia is wearing a laundry basket on her head and singing the “Get Back Up Again” song from "Trolls" at the top of her voice while Ruby is sitting two inches away from me and telling me everything I never wanted to know about fidget spinners.
It’s been a long, stressful day at work, and it isn’t even close to over. The house is a mess. Everything is loud and close. The kids are not currently fighting, but they have been fighting all afternoon, and before the night is over, I know they will fight again. I still have emails to send, uniforms to wash, baths to give, homework to nag about.
And yet. I know I am lucky beyond measure. Being able to be annoyed is a kind of blessing – taking your kids, their health, their loud and endless chatter for granted to the point that it can annoy you is the greatest privilege. I want to remember that. But amidst the mess and the chaos, it is so, so easy to forget.
In honor of Mother’s Day – and to try to center myself and also if I’m being honest, to try to get Georgia to stop singing that song – I asked Georgia to tell me why mommies are important.
“How many reasons? Five? Wait. Can I do 10? No, can I do even more than 10? Can I do infinity reasons?”
She got to 12 before she tuned me out and started listening to Diego again and yelled, “Mommies eat algae like flamingoes!” and fell on the ground laughing.
- Mommies feed you things.
- Mommies take you to the park.
- Mommies read you books at bedtime.
- Mommies take you to the zoo when it’s summer or spring.
- Mommies record your favorite shows on the TV.
- Mommies take you to school.
- Mommies don’t forget to put your school bag on.
- Mommies cut up apples for you.
- Mommies get you a tissue when you have snot.
- Mommies buy you toys at Target.
- Mommies tickle you so you can smile.
- Mommies know the things you like.
If Mother’s Day is a hard holiday for you, for whatever reason, please know I’m sending love your way.
And to all the moms out there – to anyone out there raising kids – here’s hoping that whatever Mother’s Day looks like to you or how much of a disaster your house is or how much snot you have on your clothes – that you remember the really important things.