Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some Years Are Just Like That

"Some years are just like that" was my mother-in-law's text comment, on me thanking her for flying across the country for Thanksgiving instead of expecting us to fly out West.  "Like what?!" I whisper acerbically, to the sleeping baby who's somehow still nursing after 35 minutes and the dog, who's whining at the small rodent inside the wall between the master bedroom and closet.  It's 9:30 at night and I have finally descended the stairs after a grand total of 3.5 hours since I ushered the boys into the bathtub.  "Like what?!" I mutter again, now only to the dog, who wags her tail enthusiastically.  She begins to whine excitedly, which is because she mistook my comment as "Let's go out to the garage and grab the sledgehammer and bust open the wall so you can nab that little rodent and teach him a lesson or two about sneaking around in humans' houses."  As I plop down on the couch, the dog realizes we're not on the same page and redirects her attention toward sideways digging at the carpet for a lost bone under the love seat.  Her tail brushes a balloon and she nearly jumps out of her skin.  Oh skittish rescue mutts. 

I grab the laptop, flip it open, throw my feet up on the ottoman and take a big sigh. 

Smells like baby vomit and syrup.  The former because it's all over Andy's Old Navy blob-ish sweatshirt I'm sporting, and the latter because that's what's on the plates that are still sitting at the table.  Yep, pancakes for dinner.  Classic.  If only the dish-fairy were real.  That's one I'd actually teach my kids about. 
I look around the living room for blogging inspiration and my eyes rest on the monster in the room: the laundry basket piled high with about 7 loads of laundry just waiting for eager hands to fold it.  At least they're clean.  Though if they sit there long enough, they might get musty and then I'll have the joy of washing them all over again.  But Andy's so sweet about the whole laundry thing.  Like today.  In a flurry of get-home-from-Red-Robin-and-leave-for-work-in-2.5-minutes, he kindly asks "And where can I look for some clean work pants?"  How can I be mad at that?
I grab for another mini-Twix bar, willing it to not add extra inches to my waist as I scarf it down.  Ahh, the 10 seconds of chocolate-induces heaven.  Priceless.  If only I could live in sweatpants.  Then I'd have to shop exclusively at Walmart.  They don't have a gas-discount-program, so that idea's out.

I used to think I was cool.  High heels, curled hair, flashy red car, great job.  Then for some reason I wanted to get pregnant.  (Thank goodness I was married.  And for 3 years.  Cuz kids can count.)  5 years after that, I have 3 kids, a SUV that comfortably seats 7, LLBean "comfort" shoes lining my closet, and found myself in a parenting class at church this morning, clutching my coffee mug like it was life support, late, of course, because I was in the nursery having the 2 year old being surgically removed from my arms, kicking and screaming.  Him, not me, just for the record.  Oh, and a bunion.  From all the high heels.  WebMD says I have to have it surgically removed.  I'll just fit that in between nursing a 3 month old 10 times a day and running to and from preschool.  And all the "older" parents I know say these are the good years.  They say it only gets tougher.  Really?  Really?!?!?  Because I'm having a hard time visualizing that. 

Pretty sure I'll be a better parent when I have a full night's sleep, no indigestion from scarfing dinner down in order to break up a fight over who has more apple slices, and don't have to run around the house doing everything one-handed with the baby hugging my shoulder, spit-up dripping down my back, onto the floor and the dog following me, dutifully cleaning the vomit trail with her tongue!!!

And Andy thanks me for not letting myself go.  He must be blind, or at least unconscious when he's around me, because as far as I'm concerned, I am 180 degrees from the woman I used to be.  I used to be the girl who went to Vegas in 4 inch gold heels right after she turned 21.  Now I can't watch Law and Order because it gives me nightmares.  My socks have holes in them, I get excited to go to the grocery store at 10pm because it means no embarrassing or frustrating kid meltdowns in the produce department over red vs. green grapes, and I can hear the couch cushion I'm sitting on yelling for a reprieve.  I pray that one day when I am finally at peace to "be done" having babies that I will have restored myself to at least a fraction of the cool, organized person I used to call "self."

So I guess right now is just "one of those years."  I'm supposing these things are not new to history.  I mean, I can't really sit at home until the kids are all in college and THEN hit play on the remote control of my life.  That would be silly. 

But right now, as the kids and their Stalin-istic ways bombard my every waking moment and make me wonder if being a soldier in World War III might not be so hard, the idea of "letting myself go" both physically and mentally is not too far off.  Or maybe it's just because I'm sleep and shower deprived that I'm contemplating self-loathing and depravity in the scariest ways that make a husband shutter in horror (Hmm.  Tomorrow IS Halloween.  Although I don't think my two and four year old will understand Mommy dressing up as "Seriously Desperate Housewife").  I should really leave the dishes and laundry, drag myself and the mutt to bed and pray to my Creator, Author and Perfecter of my faith, that this day-that-felt-like-a-year will quickly become history. 

Dearest mother-in-law: please pray for me to realize that "some years are just like that."  And by "that," I mean, all of the above.