My Instant Gratification Monkey is so wide-awake right now, you guys.
I’m pulling an all-nighter. Sorting, tossing, packing and repeating. Tomorrow is moving day- we’re going to live in our own place, me and these kids, for the first time ever. I’m afraid of what it will mean for them, what emotions it is going to bring up. Mostly it feels like a relief, like a prize at the end of a year of the hardest work I’ve ever attempted. Thinking about it like a prize is probably a good way to set myself up to have the wind knocked out of me by life again, so I’ll try and dial back my enthusiasm here to a solid “content and hopeful”.
My oldest has been horribly behaved lately- mean and sneaky, explosive with his emotions. I have been so absent since I started working full time again. We all started up a new routine at the same time. Summer ended and they went off to school and day care, I went off to work, and we’ve found ourselves in a place where we only see each other in the last few hours of the day. We are all exhausted, cranky and starving. We are all about to burst from holding it together all day long in the presence of other people and we all end up exploding together. One tantrum sets off another and the other, the fighting never ends. I shut down, robotically cook and clean whatever I can, half listen to them and say things like, “What? No I don’t know. Yeah. Hmm.” The only thing that snaps me out of my haze is when they eventually start bickering, or the baby stands up in his high chair to throw his milk across the room.
I do know that I am doing my best. I know that.
I wonder why my best isn’t enough.
I keep trying to figure out some trick, some thing I can do that will make me expand, that will make me, finally, enough. I need to plan and work and budget and clean and cook and do all the everyday maintenance things. I need to be present and listen and say the right things to them so they know they are loved and supported. I need to comfort them through the ongoing strangeness of our family being ripped apart. The strangeness of knowing that accepting things unfamiliar is our new way of life; of being completely and totally heartbroken. Especially because they don’t know that they’re heartbroken. They will realize it over and over in small ways until one day when they’re grown they’ll realize they’ve had a gaping wound the whole time. Who will they see when they look back at me? Is she enough? Are they going to forgive me for the spaces in their lives that I couldn’t fill?
I’m packing these boxes and being so careful with what we have. It’s amazing to me what we’ve managed to accumulate over the last year. I wonder how things will look in our new place. What paths will we weave once our space is our own? How long until it feels familiar? How long until we feel at home? How long until we start to heal?
God I do not want to keep working on this shit right now. It’s 2am! I have so much to do tomorrow, so much physical work. Staying up all night is a bad move, but I am not enough during the day to have been able to get this done in any other way. I knew it would be like this from the minute I signed the lease. I know it’s going to be like this for a long time. I am going to be up in the wee hours, borrowing energy from tomorrow, for years and years to come.
Cleaning up tonight, making room for bins of things that I still have to pack up, I came across Ben’s latest piece of non-fiction. I don’t remember stepping on the book, but it was probably when I was trying to drag the baby out of the TV room to get him to bed and telling them, for the five millionth time today, to clean up all the stuff they dumped out on the floor because we are MOVING IN THE MORNING FOR CHRIST’S SAKE CAN I GET A BREAK HERE?!
Without any further adieu, I present: Mama being Meen Book
He took money out of my wallet and pretended it was his. It did not go over well. He didn’t want to talk about it, but I forced him to. Because I am MEAN.
This actually made me laugh at first, before it started hurting, because it is so absurd. I am the Berlin Wall of mothers. My eyebrows are made of lightning and my heart (not pictured) is made of ice.
Mother: giver of life, ruiner of dreams.
Damn, little dude.