You can always reach for me

My husband wakes me up.

“Lola is calling for you,” he says.

Instantly, I’m annoyed. I mutter under my breath about wanting more sleep and stumble out of bed. The clock says 12:35 a.m.

“Mommy,” she cries out again.

I stumble down the hall, and the second I smell it, I know what has happened. Instantly, my entire body and mind are awake.

“Oh poor baby,” I say.

There is a big pile of throw up on the bedspread and she is crying.

“I was trying to figure out how to clean it myself,“ she says. “I’ve ruined Mother’s Day. I’m sorry mom.”

No. This is motherhood my love. This is exactly what it is.

I grab a clean blanket from the hall, strip her and put her in it. I clean everything up, put her in some clean pajamas, remake the bed, grab the sick bowl and make myself a place next to her on the floor. I settle in for the routine that I know so well.

Every time she throws up, I rub her back, wash her face and comfort her.

Drink this water.

You will be OK.

I’m right here.

I love you.

When she falls asleep, I rest on the floor and worry.

This is motherhood.

I still get my avocado toast and coffee in bed, but today I’m next to my sick girl who likes to keep her hand on my chest because it comforts her.

I feel her little body tremble with excitement as I open the gifts she crafted herself; a tissue paper flower, a little dog and a large cat created out of paper, a card with a heart wearing a sombrero and guitar (because she knows I like things that are funny) and a beeswax rose.

“You like it?” she asks.

Of course I do.

My boy delivers his gift and it is so perfectly him that I can’t help but swoon.

 gift

This is motherhood.

We decide to cuddle in bed and watch our favorite episodes of “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.” Both kids inch in as close as they can to me. I can feel their breath and warmth as we talk about puppetry, mechanism and our favorite designers. We vow to someday make our own puppet and giggle as we discuss the silly details and features our creature will have.

My mom comes over with hugs and kisses for us all. I make her coffee and she gives me a piece of paper with my “Letter A” on it. She snuggles in with us for an episode or two. I give her the bench we crafted for her and she loves it.

After she leaves, my girl’s fever spikes up and I hold her as she cries and whimpers.

“I hate being sick,” she says.

“I know love,” I tell her.

lolaI make her peppermint tea. I braid her hair so it won’t get in her face. She rubs my chest as she falls asleep in my arms, a little furnace fighting off the virus in her body.

This, of course, was not the plan for my day. I was supposed to go swimming, play cards, drink mimosas and be outdoors. It was to be chore-free, stress-free and full of sweet things to eat.

But that wasn’t what happened.

There was a time, quite recent in fact, that this setback would have sent me spiraling down into a place of sadness and loneliness. I’d have let myself be swallowed up.

Surprisingly, I’m good.

My heart is filled with so much love for my children that it feels like it just might burst. These not-so-little beings that I get to spend so much time with are my life.

They are my Mother’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not happy my girl is sick, far from it. But I’m making a choice to savor the moments of care and comfort I can give her, instead of focusing in on what I missed.

Today, my arms showed her my love.

Today, my voice was her sense of peace.

I am her safe place.

I am her feel better soon.

I am her mommy.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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A messy little memory

Sometimes we just had to leave the house.

So we would walk.

I would put the little one, then about 10-months-old, in the carrier to save my arms.

I can remember the weight of her, the layer of sweat that would form between our bodies, and the way she would reach her chubby hands out and point at things.

She was so darn cute when she was strapped to me. Twenty-four access to milk and mommy’s face to touch were all she ever wanted.

We would follow my 3-year-old boy as he wandered the neighborhood in search of new sticks and rocks to add to his ever-increasing collection.

This day was particularly beautiful out. Spring was showing all over the neighborhood with bright purple flowers climbing a fence, ladybugs swarming the base of the neighbors Oak Tree and sunflowers reaching about knee level.

My boy skipped ahead and started playing a game involving counting, quick sprints and startling fast stops. I kept my distance so I didn’t run into him.

Then he fell.

Hard.

I caught up to him and tried to calm his screams.

That boy could yell so loudly for such a small thing.

I could see both his knees were bleeding and one of his hands.

Shit.

Shit.

Shit.

We are three LARGE blocks from the house.

“Can you walk?”

“Noooooooooooo!”

OK. Think.

“You have to stop screaming, you might make people think you’re really hurt.”

“Noooooooooooo!”

OK. Seriously…THINK!

I took the baby out of the carrier and sat her in the neighbor’s yard.

I grabbed him up, told him it would be OK, swung him and the carrier around to my back and adjusted the straps until he was securely tied to me.

He stopped screaming.

Yes.

He buried his face into my now sweaty hair and I’m pretty sure blew his nose.

Repeatedly.

No biggie.

I wasn’t really going for that “model mom” look anyway.

Then I realize I still have to carry chubby girl home.

In a maneuver, that thankfully nobody witnessed, I widened my legs and SLOWLY inched myself forward to grab the baby. I had to be careful not to topple over and kill her.

Seriously.

It was hard!

That’s when I noticed she has crawled next to the flower patch and apparently feasted on mud. She opened her mouth to smile at me and I could see nothing but dirty drool. She also managed to have it smeared into her hair and on most of her clothing.

She looked very pleased.

I do manage to get her in my arms and I start walking.

I’m sure you can picture it.

Here I am walking down the street in my suburban Rocklin neighborhood. You know…perfect lawns and nice SUV’s all around.

Yep.

It doesn’t escape my attention that I look like a lunatic.

I get it.

I am carrying a very HEAVY three-year-old on my back that is bleeding, softly crying and repeating in a very loud voice, “can you walk any faster?”

I am also carrying a 10-month-old that looks like I found her in a ditch somewhere drooling dirt onto my shirt and occasionally shoving her muddy hands into my face providing me with a nice little paint job.

I get it.

The several elderly neighbors out “weeding” their already perfect lawns had no idea what to make of me. They stared and shook their heads in judgment.

An impossibly fit mother jogged past with her twin babies happily, and very CLEANLY, eating snacks in their $10,000 custom-stroller that just happened to match her outfit. She sneered at me.

I laughed and continued to lug my darling offspring all the way home silently saying to myself, “judge all you want, cause I’m a badass.”

Yep.

I. Am. Awesome.

The moments when things get ridiculous and I do things outrageous for my children are some of my favorites. It’s those dirty, crazy and insane moments that make everything else worth it for me.

I’m a messy mom who sometimes does things over-the-top for my kids.

I can’t do it any other way.

Happy Mother’s Day!

lola

coop

Here they are all little and cute and stuff. I miss those days.