“Mom, did you know…(grunt)…when I was three…(grunt)…I got poop stuck…(sigh)…on my butt?” his enormous eyes blink and head tilts to see if I truly grasp the magnitude of this experience he’s sharing.
I am not a saint…and frankly, it isn’t even something I aspire to be. But this is the go-to description when people discover we are foster parents, and it occurs to me that as compliments are showered upon us, onlookers might get the impression that in order to foster, one must be extraordinary or special or saintly. We are none of these things.
“I’m selling the shop,” he said. “With places like these, you never know what kind of offer will come when you’re finally ready, so if you get one that’s any good, you have to take it.” A week later, he walked out the door into retirement and my beloved heroine was left slumped over a laptop, deflated once again.
Yesterday, I cried into the arms of my six-year-old. We were on snow day 12 or maybe 27. I’d long since lost count. We'd been riddled with fevers and vomit and rashes and runny noses since the onset of winter.
Mama, you need rest. You need a space of your own to know what you know and feel what you feel, sheltered from the eyes and the point of a finger, away from that obligatory smile and laugh and nod along to sentiments that do not move you.
Last week I prayed for calm. I prayed to be a loving mother as I glared at my small children, their blinking blue eyes looking back at me, curious boys wondering where their nice Mommy had gone. Who was this shell of a Mommy sitting before them, threatening to crack right there on the living room floor?
The accumulation of stuff – especially after kids arrive – is a blessing and a curse as are so many things in life – wine, dairy, sunshine, toddlers, marriage. The new trend toward minimalism is shouting at us to wake up and see past the shiny lie of consumerism, but I can’t seem to hear the call over the roar of my 72” LCD, the battery-powered four-wheeler screeching through my kitchen, and the gigantic new-to-us Suburban sitting in our three-stall garage.
It’s Saturday morning, and I’m trying to warm myself from the inside out with a mug of lukewarm coffee. We’ve just returned from watching my oldest play football in the unforgiving air of late October, observing from the sidelines in our bag chairs, using our two youngest children as human blankets to shield us from the cold.
In a house filled with penises, I am determined to keep my feminist spirit alive. This is not easy. It feels insurmountable some days, especially as my boys age and I find myself shielding my sons’ eyes from everything that makes me female while they prance like tiny peacocks on display.
I have nothing left to give, and it's only Thursday. My husband doesn’t come home for another 12 hours and the last 72 have been…heavy. I took the kids grocery shopping on Monday. By the time we got back, one was crying, the other was starving, and I juggled their needs, the 19 bags, and my piercing headache with little to no grace. I finished multiple loads of laundry and tried to piece our house back together after an exhausting weekend. I stole time away from my kids to crank out some freelance copy and served leftovers for dinner because who has time to cook? Stay-at-home moms do, right? Wrong.