I hesitate to say my life is easy lately. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. I know there are some readers out there without kids and, no offense, but our standards are just different. I’m quite sure that if you spent the day with us, you would not consider it easy. But to you mamas out there, especially those with two little ones, I can safely say without fear of miscommunication that my life has gotten just a little bit easy lately.
Oh, there’s still screaming, daily. And plenty of long, drawn out nap fighting, and way too much night-sleep interrupting. And squabbling and pushing. Not to mention dinner to cook, diapers to wash, and my now endless list of things to clean.
But in between the squawks and squabbles, there are many moments of two little kids playing, happily. Sometimes they play for almost an hour, with practically no intervention. Giving me actual time to tackle that list. It’s glorious.
I mean, it’s great because I get time to get shit done, right? But what I really want to say is that it’s great because it’s great. I can work at my own project and every few minutes look over and watch them working at their projects. I can hardly get enough of seeing their little selves unfold. The ideas they get, the things they learn, the gears of their brains whirring. I get to be their mama! Here with them all day, every day, to witness this unfolding. I think often lately, “Oh, this is how it’s supposed to be!” The stuff of dreams.
For some strange and unfortunate reason, it’s much easier for me to write of hard times than good times. The gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair always sounds genuine. Everyone can relate. But it’s hard to write about joy and happiness without sounding cliche. Or maybe it just lacks a plot. No problem to solve? Boring.
Not to imply our life is problem free, by any stretch. It’s still really damn hard. So much to do, never any time with My Man, still tapping the bottom of my resevoir every single day. But not exceeding, that’s the difference. Having two littles has stretched me to previously unimagined dimensions. And I do feel like I’m still using all of that extra me. But now it feels like enough, life feels possible. I don’t feel like I’m mid-jump off a cliff with no parachute.
I think I’ve finally found the distance perspective, a hard-won and absolutely pivotal mothering tool. I can see how they’ve grown, how they’re going to keep growing. When you’re mid-jump like that, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you it’ll get easier soon enough. You listen and say, ‘mm-hmm’ and might believe it with your brain. But in your heart you know it will always be like this. Forever and ever, amen. Till the end of time, you will never get to sleep again, never get to crap all alone with the door shut, never get to cook dinner with both arms and all your legs, never be more than 15 feet from a poopy diaper, never get to wake up in the morning and ask yourself, ‘What would I like to do today?’
It’s not that I didn’t feel the impending loss of milky soft baby-hood. Somehow, even though I felt the hard times were here to stay, I was always acutely aware of how I would (if all goes as planned) never get to hold my very own, sweet flesh of flesh, tiny perfection of spirit again. This was the last time and I’d better goddamned enjoy every minute of it. Or else.
A few days ago I realized this is my blessed overlap. My glory days. I can see how they will grow and in a few years they won’t need me to do much more than feed them. But for now, they’re still babies really. There’s still time. I finally feel like I have the space and sliver of peace I need to step back, breath, watch, smile, and be the joyful and grateful mama I always wanted to be.