Emails. Phone calls; quickly place my Skype on mute while Porter screams about “sharpie scissors” (although I have no idea what it means and decide quickly to ignore him, because it doesn’t sound like the best idea he’s had).
Get apple juice.
Grab Simon from climbing up onto the fireplace.
Refill apple juice.
Find Simon’s missing sock.
Distract Porter from sharpie scissors with a piece of candy. Before breakfast. It’s fine.
Remember my muted phone call and rush back to catch up on what they are saying. Pretend like I haven’t gone missing, moonlighting as a waitress/maid for two very demanding clients when I should have been comparing the amount of October’s unique pageviews to the average organic session duration for a very high-profile client.
Tell Porter I’m fresh out of “sharpie scissors”. Again.
Turn off the water I forgot I left running in the sink.
Grab Simon from shoving his fingers into the fan in his room (which I forgot to turn off when he woke up), on my way to let Lennon outside.
Say “hold on” to my babies one too many times. Fight guilt one too many times.
That, my friends, is a peek into my typical afternoon.
Sometimes it feels like life is spinning in a mad, giant circle, and I’m only doing my best to keep steady. Porter’s changed his mind about breakfast for the tenth time in as many minutes, Simon is tugging on the bottom of my shirt, so proud to be standing. My computer is making noises, I’m tripping over Leggos, and losing. my. mind.
I think about it later, as I’m composing a blog post (like now), and the day is quieting down. I’m mentally exhausted. I want Paul to swoop in, home from work and ready to valiantly play the role of mom and dad for the several hours before bedtime (which, in itself, is quite the event). I want to retreat while this happens, to not say a word, to stare at my phone and just unplug and pretend I don’t have any responsibilities.
…except that I don’t. I don’t want that, at all. These people are my life, and my life is hectic and loud and super messy, but it’s incredibly fulfilling. I don’t want to unplug, I don’t want Paul to pull double duty. I think I do, but I only do until it happens, and I miss them all. I miss the craziness, and tripping over Leggos. I miss Porter’s bartering and Simon’s snuggles.
One time, Porter was bargaining with me about something (probably candy, stupid Halloween leftovers) and as his enticing offer to trick me into saying yes, he said “maybe you can lay down and sleep?” so he could do what he was fighting with me about. My blood turned cold.
Porter knows I want sleep. He knows it’s what I yearn for. Can he read it on my face? I’ve never told him sleep would make me happy. Is he just that smart, and guessing? Does he feel my disconnect? Do I look… worn out?
Sobering reminders that little eyes are watching. Every move I make, every short fuse that fires, every time I reprimanded when I should have had grace… they‘re watching. And while I assess myself with judgement, they probably think I’m pretty darn amazing. A little whacked out, sure. But overall amazing. When the day winds down and they want my cuddles, it reminds me that they do see all I do. But not with the judging eyes I assume they do – but with all the love in the world.
When there are two huge couches in our living room to sit on, and Porter wedges himself between me and the arm I’m leaning up against, I realize he can’t be too mad about how many times I took candy away from him before noon. When Simon sees me from across the room, and nothing, come hell or high water, is going to stop him from crawling right up to my feet and pulling himself into my lap, I know he can’t possibly remember when I rolled my eyes that he was ready to nurse again.
We are are own biggest critics, and I’m vowing to take better care of myself throughout the day, so in return, I can take even better care of them.