Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Snapshots: The Last Quarter of the Easiest Year Ever.

It’s Spring. I am at my brother’s college graduation. Josh and I are pacing the halls because the girls were fussy. There is another young mom standing in a corner, swaying with her sleeping baby in her arms. Her baby looks close to the age of the twins, and he is sound asleep on her chest. I am jealous. Not because “one baby looks so easy” (WHICH IT DOES BY THE WAY) but because she gets to cuddle with her baby endlessly and I can’t remember the last time either of my babies slept on my chest. Two at once doesn’t feel hard, today it feels unfair.

It’s the last week of Winter. I’m at work. My four hour shift of massage therapy is about to start, but my patient hasn’t arrived and the office is empty. I’m hiding my face in my hands as I stand at the front desk, crying to my sweet friend and coworker, Michelle. It was a hard day with the children and all three had only just fallen asleep for their afternoon naps when I walked out the door to pour myself out professionally. Even my bones feel tired. Michelle has never seen me like this. My first patient pulls into the parking lot. I collect myself, fix my make-up, and start work. With good intentions, patient #1 makes a comment to me about how nice it must be to be able to come to work to “have a break”. I am polite and agree that yes, it is really nice to be here to have a break. I say it in a tone that implies relief which makes it sound like I’m being honest. Michelle brings me a coffee after my first hour. I feel better.

It’s Friday. I’ve just returned home from work. Piper runs to greet me at the door. She jumps in my arms and wraps her legs around my waist, exclaiming, “My mommy!! My Mommy! You’re home!! I missed you SO much!” and suddenly working isn’t such a bad idea and I think that maybe leaving to go there is, somehow, a break.

What day is it again? I don’t even know anymore. All I know is that it’s 2:37am. Nora just woke up and she is doing her unique brand of cry-yelling. I rush into the room; hoping she won’t wake up her sisters who also sleep in the same room. I don’t make it in time. The domino falls, and Piper is now awake. Then Ruby. All three are crying and I am delirious with sleeplessness. I mentally unravel while I prepare a bottle and I THROW that sucker as hard as I can into the sink… The lid disappears and I don’t even care, I’ll find it in the morning. I slam the microwave door shut and am vaguely aware that doing that is a generally bad idea and I might break the door. I won’t do it next time. I rock Ruby and feed her while Nora cry-yells a lullaby to the both of us a mere 6 inches away, trapped behind the prison bars of her crib. I hate that they share a room. I can’t figure out why we are so stupid to have them arranged this way. They fight The Tired, but one by one fall back into dreams. I stumble into our room, collapse into bed, and follow them there.

It is a BEAUTIFUL Friday morning. I mean the sun is blazing and the sky is blue and I am feelin’ GOOD. I’ve had a cup of coffee and gotten ready for the day. I hear the girls wake and they are all laughing at one another. I take the responsibility of being the first face they see each day very importantly, and I can’t wait to go in and start their day with a joyful face and loving, kind words.  I enter the room and am showered with squeals of delight from the babies, cheers from Piper. They are all smiling. Today is awesome. What a great idea to have all three of them in the same room. 

It’s Summer time. It’s also bedtime. Which means it’s also bath time. I’m standing in the bathroom with a naked Nora in my arms, staring at a poop-covered Ruby in the dry bathtub. Piper is in the backyard.  FOR THE LOVE. Why why whyyyyy did she poop now? What is it about fresh air that seems to be a signal for bodily functions? I decide on a plan. I put my nude little Nora in her crib and look her in the eyes and I beg her not to poop or pee. I wish she spoke English…. maybe she understands anyway. Surely she can see desperation in my eyes? I call Piper inside, and turn the tv on for her. I clean Ruby. I clean the tub. I cautiously enter the girls’ room to see if Nora decided to be merciful and she has. No poop or pee. I feel lucky. and then I laugh because I actually feel lucky. My life feels like one endless blooper reel. Where are the cameras? Why isn’t anyone recording this? 

It’s some Wednesday in June. I’m telling the 911 operator our address. I’m on my knees on the kitchen floor; somehow praying and explaining to the her that my 2 1/2 year old is choking; her lips are turning blue, and her daddy is performing the heimlich. Please send help and get here as fast as you possibly can. I am panicking. She tells me she is sending an ambulance when Josh finally gets the piece of grilled cheese sandwich dislodged. The paramedics come anyway. I am completely wrecked inside, but dig deep and cheerfully tell Piper that some doctors are coming to make sure she is ok.  She can’t tell that I am completely shattered. Josh is on the floor and he is crying too. We have never been so scared in our lives. I can’t remember why we had children because they are so fragile and my whole heart lives in them and that is vulnerable and scary and a stupid piece of grilled cheese almost ruined my entire existence. We are wrecked and (still) haven’t recovered. New house rule: No more grilled cheeses. For anyone. Ever. I want to forget this ever happened. Thank God no one is recording this.

It’s a Monday in June. I’m at a CPR class, now. It appears the fear from The Choke has taken up a permanent residence in me, so I’m taking a two night pediatric first aid course to feel better prepared for the next emergency. Everyone there is just renewing their daycare licenses and comments about how nice it is outside and how they hope we get out early. They don’t even want to be here. I make a mental note of their faces and decide I wouldn’t want my children at their daycares. I am the annoying person who asks a lot of questions. It takes weeks, but I feel less scared when the girls eat. 

It’s Spring. I’m at the twins 9-month check up. It is raining, of course. It always rains when I have to bring them both to the doctor. It was unusually difficult to get out the door today and I am feeling emotionally compromised. I sit down in the examination room and the nurse casually asks how I am. Tears start to well up in my eyes. I shove them back down because I’m pretty sure they take note of that sort of thing? (“Mother started crying. Follow up for post partum depression.”) I disguise my emotions by playing with Ruby, who giggles, and I feel better. Why did it have to rain? 

Today. I don’t think she realizes it is attached, or maybe she does and that is the fun of the game, but I’m pretty sure Nora is trying to rip my ear off. At the same time, Ruby is somehow scratching both the inside of my nostril and the inside of my mouth. Man. TWINS. I feel a surge of anger because of the flash of pain but remind myself that their desire to be near me is a sign that they love me. I take a deep breath and sit up because I need a break. I almost stand up, but Ruby just started to crawl away from me and clearly wants to be chased. She begins laughing hysterically as I pretend to follow after her. Nora is now babbling and bouncing loudly on my stomach and Piper has casually draped herself over my shoulders. She tells me she loves me and that I’m a Sweet Mom. I let them mess up my hair and smear my eye liner. I’m glad I stayed on the floor.

It’s July, and I feel like playing my Ukulele. I look up the chords to a song I’ve been enjoying lately  and I sing. Piper, Ruby, and Nora are my only audience and they are loving it; clapping even. Piper gets out a couple of metal cooking utensils and she is now my personal percussionist. We are having a jam session and I have never, in my entire life, felt so free to sing. In fact, motherhood is about as free as I have ever felt. They accept me unconditionally, and I vow in my heart to do the same for them in return.  


  1. Thanks les for your words. One day at a time, right? You're amazing and those girls are lucky to have you. Oxoxo

  2. Love your story telling and I've actually been waiting to read them since you mentioned them. Hope you keep writing.