These children, they do amaze me. Ben’s starting to sit up and gives you belly laughs when you kiss his belly or smooch his neck. Seth brings you books and says, “Mama, read about this.” His cuddles at night are ever so precise in terms of which stuffed friend is where and how your hand needs to be on his. He also insists that he is “Sweet Sethy, not salty Sethy!” Kai is sooo long, barely fits on my lap, and can ask real questions about interesting things and carry on conversations almost like a friend. He makes such amazing art and creates new games constantly for people to play.
And yet. I’m almost tipping over the edge into overwhelmed most of the time. I get so little free time to myself. I read a book last weekend: the first one I’ve read completely in six months. I don’t know when I’ll finish another. I’m contemplating ways that I can change this state of affairs, but I’m pretty entrenched in all the things I’m doing at the moment. Six months or so until Kai starts school. Then some days might be easier. But yikes, that’s the beginning of another era too and this one will be over.
It’s sad that it feels like I’ll only get time to myself again once the children get bigger. I don’t wish for them to grow up; I’m usually pretty good at living in the moment. But my house is full of stuff that I’m ready to give away but the kids still use often enough that I shouldn’t. So it feels cluttered. And I can’t even do something that makes me feel alive and normal, like shoveling the front walk, without leaving the baby inside in his chair alone and hoping that the 2-year old’s hands don’t chap too badly because he refuses to wear mittens. So I either don’t shovel and feel like a sloth or shovel (like I did today) at lightning speed hoping the baby doesn’t notice too badly that no one is inside with him (and doesn’t fall out of his seat while we are). I can’t take my 5-year old sledding on these cold, snowy winter days because the baby and the 2-year old just can’t. I can’t take my 2-year old swimming, like I did for the oldest and I’ll try to do for the youngest, because of the impossibility of that task.
Yesterday, shopping at the co-op with all 3 boys, I endured people I know and people I don’t know looking at me, feeling pity for the crazy adventure going grocery shopping is with 3 kids who are 5 and under. Yes, I’m holding Ben in the ergo on my chest, pushing seth in the cart and hoping kai doesn’t wander too far away or into someone who is holding hot coffee or something fragile. But this is a good day! I ‘d only venture here at 5 pm if I thought we could manage it, and we did! How to communicate that to the world? It’s impossible. How to communicate to any of my friends or family the way life is at the moment? Also impossible. Those with many kids who are older have forgotten. Those with kids my age (but only 1 or 2) can’t imagine. Those without my genes can’t imagine the stuff I attempt, because it’s in my nature.
So on a gray day, where snow is forecast and even colder temps are again imminent, I write this to help me cope. To help me remember. To justify why I forget to call friends or family, have no energy to finish everything I start, to help my ability to relate in some future, distant, far off day when my boys are grown and I have free time to read a book or veg out for a long stretch of time.