Oh, For the Love of…
I’ve been trying on a new phrase the past few weeks: For the Love. These three little pitchers in my house have big ears and are repeating and actually listening to me. Horrible, I know. In times of great stress, I have been known to shoot out a few four letter words. Discussion of my self-control issues in this area can wait for another post. I try hard to avoid the $*%#, but I admit to needing a new phrase that doesn’t sound nasty and yet secretly expresses my deep frustration. No damage done and no bleeping necessary. I’ve read the phrase “for the love” on a few blogs of women that I admire, so thought I’d give it a try. I am suspicious that there is a “… of xxxx” that I may not agree with at the end of the proper expression, but I am pleading ignorance in order to use it with a clear conscience. Given the tone with which I’ve used it at times, I’m not sure that I’m fooling anyone, but…
Monday was a bad day for me. For all of us. One of the twins was teething and had a fever and kept me up for hours in the night. Hubby repaired to the basement to catch a full night’s sleep with my blessing. No need for him to stumble through his workday, too. Finally got twin A back to sleep and the other one woke with a slight fever. I blame a continuing virus that we generously keep passing around to each other. The babes were up like whack-a-moles all night without the cathartic bopper to send them back into their holes. 2-yo woke wanting to help. A time when “help” isn’t helpful. Short story is that all were in fine form in the morning. For the love!
I had been looking forward to a planned walk with friends in the morning. Two other bodies to help corral the chaos! However, when I checked the weather at 4 am, it was showing rain and cold. My tired body worried about the kids’ illness and I sent out emails cancelling. When we were all convened for breakfast and I could see the long day looming ahead, I was questioning my sanity in making knee-jerk reactions at 4:23 in the morning. For the love. Even rain and whining is better when shared with friends. Too late to re-schedule. Let the interminable morning begin.
Screams at breakfast. More food on the floor than in bellies. Hair pulling at play time. Let’s build a fort, for the love! Get out the ladybug tent and gather blankets. 2-yo goes into the tent and takes up residence, blocking her siblings from entering. Screaming. Get that calmed down. Turn back for blankets. Return to step into a suspicious puddle that was not there 10 seconds ago. 2-yo has chosen to wet herself (and whole tent) rather than relinquish her spot. For the LOVE! Put twins back behind their “barrier” in the living room and get the mess cleaned up by using towels, mop and dragging tent to the porch to rinse out with the hose. It is pouring outside, so just set it there to deal with later. Forget where I live and how windy it is on the top of the hill, and return to kitchen and turn around just in time to see the full ladybug tent sail into the neighbours’ back yard. For the love! Run out in my pyjamas and flip flops to grab it. Hoping the neighbours really were at work and not watching the crazy lady running with her pjs flapping.
In the tradition of all leaps in infant development, my twins picked that day to discover (and dutifully practice) that they can climb on things and don’t need a boost or a healthy dose of fear anymore. C.l.i.m.b. EVERYTHING! On the chairs, on the couch, on the TV stand, over the barrier, on top of the side table. Nothing is safe anymore and nothing will contain them. FOR THE LOVE! Today of all days. I was so stressed and frustrated that I forgot to be proud and thankful for their continuing healthy development.
Nap time. BLISS! Maybe I can even catch a few winks. Twins go down in an instant. 2-yo decides that today is not a day for sleeping when crying and whining is so much more fun. I pleaded with her, I cajoled, I begged. No dice. For the love!
Lunch went not much better than breakfast in terms of cranky. The kids were whiny, too ;-).
Perhaps a walk would put us in a better frame of mind. Weather not agreeing with my decision, but who cares! Bundle us all up in rain gear, buckle twins in the double stroller, coffee in hand, 2-yo on bike with helmet on. How can it take a 1/2 hour to get out the door? For the love! On the path. Oldest daughter listening to me and not riding too far ahead on her bike. Rain comes and goes. This seems to be working! Not a peep from the twins, and daughter is happy to ride. Moving my body is waking me up and getting my endorphins rolling. Of course, I push it just a bit too far. Should have turned home a few blocks sooner. We get to one of the busier neighbourhood corners. My little biker has done well so far. I have her stop, as per usual, and check both ways. I see a driver a ways off, but he sees me and waves me to go ahead. I step out with the stroller and biker girl starts to follow. Then, she catches sight of the truck rolling to a stop. Panic. She knows she should not go when there is a car. I didn’t let her know that I had silently made an agreement with the driver and she has not yet perfected the skill of reading my mind. She screams in terror and bales off of her bike. Full on throws her body off the bike into the middle of the road, screaming all the while. Meanwhile, I am 10 feet into the intersection with the huge double stroller. FOR THE LOVE! Turn back to grab my screamer. She refuses to get up and walk with her bike. No amount of terse encouragement can convince her. I grab her and the bike, and try desperately to get her, myself, the stroller, and the bike across the road. I mistakenly make eye contact with the driver, and find him laughing. I flush scarlet and then smile back. Flustered doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel. Babes sense the stress and start to cry. I want to cry!
I get the biker back on her bike and try to explain to her (and myself) what has happened and get back on our way. I’m silently screaming about how unfair it all is and what a horrible day it has been. I don’t deserve this! Why even try on days like this? FOR THE LOVE! Feet pounding on the pavement. Deep breaths. For the love. For the love! My mantra of the next few minutes. Trying to stay strong and not swear or scream. I repeat the words. Slow it down. Let it sink in. For. the. love. That’s it! That’s why I’m doing this! For the love! For the love of these three imperfect humans who I’ve been called by the Lord to love. Who love me back. Who need me to stay strong, keep it together, be the adult. Who watch me fail, and forgive my failings with eagerness and hugs. Deep breaths. Praying for strength, wisdom and endurance. You’ve got this. Breathe. In. Out. Repeat. Take another step. Then another.
We arrive at our driveway and turn in to the garage to unload. I make a small joke. My daughter looks at me and says “Mommy happy again?”. Shamefaced, I give her a hug and say “Yes, babe, Mommy is happy”. “I love you, Mommy”, she replies. “Love you, too, hon!”. And I do. So much.