It’s been another one of those annoying days that began with an inkling of predestination. I was awake at ten till six, well before my son’s historically reliable seven to seven-fifteen wake-up call. But, as I quietly pad down our stairs preparing to accomplish a mere thirty minutes of exercise, I turn on our monitor and he’s stirring with his telltale signs of beginning his day.
It’s probably irrational the anger I feel when this happens. A friend with similarly young children described that it is the disappointment of losing time that I had allocated as my sparse, “me time.” Even as I write this post, my son refuses to play with his father in the other room. Suddenly he possesses the compulsion to enter our office where I am diligently writing and wage battle with our soiled diaper collection bin. When I decide to move the shit container not only closer to me, but straddle my legs around the contraption, thereby thwarting his plans, that’s when the banging and throwing of hard plastic toys against wood furniture ensues. Even when he runs from the room screaming at my cruelty, I’m too traumatized to release the diaper container, which smells terrible, incidentally.
But, such is motherhood. Even as early as it was, I immediately foresaw the depth of annoyance this day would bring. Blessedly, I am at a point in my primary caregiver experience to be proactive; there was no chance I would be spending the entire day at home with a kid I knew would have trouble napping and spend his waking hours crying and tantruming. I defaulted to my go-to emergency plan in such cases; a trip to the mall and attempt to rally the troops with a potential social call with any of my other Mommy friends who happen to be free for an impromptu outing.
I’ll spare the details of the day which amounted to strategizing on par with nuclear code protection, but suffice it to say that Plan F went off without a hitch.
Once we finally arrived at our destination, I used my time attempting to hold some semblance of a conversation with one Mommy available on such short notice. Embedded in our conversation was the strong current of the drain, difficulty, and hardship of caring for our toddler children. She shared in my reflection that this experience is relentless and all consuming regardless of my health or frame of mind. The demand is that I keep giving as much as necessary of what my son requires at any given moment. It’s easy to lose myself and to focus exclusively on the next available time for me to nap and eat chocolate without my son having a fit for not sharing enough. She noted that I will soon have two; thanks for that…
But, as we were griping about what sounded like regret of this path in life, absent was the bitterness that one assumes with the content of our discussion. Both of our children have the strong wills of toddlers, but on days like today mine is an added bonus of the incarnation of a toddler on little sleep because of a cough and possibly teething…Yeah, it’s that pleasant… After our mutual recognition of the difficulty of this process was the peace and comfort that even during annoying times, we both felt so grateful to have these little people in out lives to share in the times, both good and bad. There is something indescribable about my son’s existence in my life that feels like a part of me is more complete when I didn’t recognize anything missing. I, however, am not the world’s first Jewish saint. I don’t want to repeat the blessing of today.