Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everyday Life: A Mommy Cocktail

He cries for me.

I can hear my 3 year old's small voice drifting down the hallway, seeping through a shut door.

"Mummmmeeeee," he calls.

My heart thumps in my chest at the sound of my name, leaps into my throat; I can see clearly in my mind's eye his red, tear-stained cheeks.

But I don't move from the bed.

My brain cannot handle one more minute of trying to respond to my children's needs and wants.

Neither can my body.

They are safe, I know, snuggled in the crevices of my husband's arms, one boy on each side of his strong, slender, solid body.

And they are loved.

He can love them better right now.

By day's end, I have nothing left to give other than reactions. My responding mechanism -- the part of my brain that filters my thoughts and catches the untruthful or unproductive ones before they spew out of my lips -- is too tired to do it's job of trapping the lies I often think or feel when my boys do or say something I don't like.

No. Actually, it's exhausted.

A few more moments of over-tired tears escape their room and wander into my ears.

Guilt, gratitude, relief, love, forgiveness mix into a cocktail I drink every night at bedtime.

Faint mumblings of "muummmmeee" echo in my mind long after both boys fall into a quiet slumber.

But when the well's dry, there's no water left to give.

My husband emerges from the shadows of bedtime, a rescue hero dressed as a strong, gentle father.

He reassures me that they know love from both my hand and his.

And that it's OK for me to tumble into our bedsheets and wrap myself up in blankets or words or prayer or whatever helps to fill me back up.

Because I'm not just raising two boys.

I'm raising myself into a mother.

And I'm not sure which requires more energy, more patience, more love or more forgiveness anymore.

{I'm reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort, a book intended to take the struggle out of parenting. And I find myself pleased with the mothering road by day's end but exhausted. It's a worthwhile read.}