"Then this baby will come and your life will never be your own again."
She said this really flippantly, like you might say, "I guess we'll just eat out tonight" or "Time to do another load of laundry." I was indescribably horrified--I already felt like there was no baby in me at all but a demon alien. The idea of "your life will never be your own" pretty much put me over the edge.
I was only twenty-five. Both then and now, I never really felt that my life was my own to begin with. My life always seemed to belong to someone or something else anyway--whether it was to my parents, who had given me everything, or to my goals, which at that time were all about teaching and education, or to my new husband, who I'm pretty sure everyone was expecting me to fail. And maybe I have. You know, you may find my blog colorful and fun, but I'm an impossibly difficult person. I'm a control freak. I am loud and opinionated and neurotic and sometimes a little crazy. Joe calls me "his firecracker," and he doesn't mean it in a cute way.
My favorite time to write--anything, not just this blog--is just after I have put Joey and Noah to bed. Our bedtime routine is a whirlwind, and while I know I will one day wistfully regret it, I rush through it just to reach these moments of total silence and stillness. Tonight--and I am NOT making this up--I picked up my laptop and had just finished typing my mother's quote when over the monitor came Noah's powerful voice, "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM."
I tried to ignore it. I repeated in my mind the words of all my mommy friends, of my sister, and of our pediatrician: Do not give in to his demands. But then it came again: "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM."
Don't other people care like I do that one child will wake another? Um, seriously? It does make a bad situation worse.
So I set my laptop to the side and took the stairs two at a time in my fuzzy boot slippers, a Christmas gift from my mom. I quietly nudged open Noah's door and said, "Yes, honey."
"Mommy, I pooped in my pants. I'm reeeeeeally sorry."
And he is really sorry. For many who think that I'm just a failure at potty training, I'm not. Joey was potty trained before he was two. But Noah has had bowel issues since he was infant, and though he is potty trained, he has been constipated so many times that his body has stopped giving the signal that he has to go at all. He is medicated for this daily, and we are currently working on a "system clean-out," which is absolutely as disgusting as it sounds. I mean it's just really gross. They could make entire horror movies about system clean-outs. People would leave the movie theater shaken and disturbed, going home to lie awake and their beds saying over and over, "Please don't let that happen to me."
But this is it. This is what my mother meant. My life doesn't belong to me. I don't get to write a blog when I want to. I can't say everything I want when I think it. I can't call up my friends and say, "Hey, want to go to..." ANYWHERE because a lot of the time, we just can't. I don't get to have a snack because I'm hungry, or even pee when I really, really have to go. Ladies and gentlemen, I HAVE peed my pants since becoming a mom. Not like a big splash or anything, but still. Just when I think my moment of Alone Time has come, somebody falls down. Somebody flips off the couch. Somebody poops his pants. And, sometimes, somebody just REALLY needs a cuddle. And I want to be there to give it. Even if my already weak bladder is crying inside my body. And when a bladder cries, well....
Maybe you're a super intuitive person, and tonight you can read my tone and recognize that today was a particularly bad day. After I changed Noah's poopy pants, put him to bed, and came back downstairs only to discover that he had begun singing a jaunty rendition of "Moves Like Jagger," my husband said for the millionth time in six years, "Seriously. Do you want to just go sleep at your mom's? Just this once? I've got this."
I was tempted. My old room is almost exactly as I left it--pink walls and eyelet window valance. I could curl up in my old bed and sleep as long as I wanted. But like I already said: I'm a control freak. I am loud and opinionated and neurotic and sometimes a little crazy. So instead of taking a break, I took a deep breath instead. My children will sleep, and so will I, and tomorrow it will start all over. I will trudge up the stairs in the morning to help Noah to the potty. I will feel exhausted and run down and miserable. But when I open his door and he says, "Well, hey, Momma!" my heart will open and I won't be able to keep from squeezing him and kissing him a hundred times.
When Joe said, "Do you want to just go sleep at your mom's?" I said, "No, that's okay. Thanks."
Look at this picture. My house is a mess, my kids need haircuts, and...that's my whole life right there. <3