The kitchen is a mess. We’ve just finished dinner and Charlie, my four-year-old, is upstairs having a screaming match against himself. I sent him to his room for standing on the table and not getting down after I asked him five times. Henry, my 19-month-old, is screaming just because he has just finished all of his milk and well…..it’s just all gone. My dear husband is on his hands and knees trying to clean up all of the corn the baby flicked on the floor….well because it was not covered in ketchup…his new favorite must have food.
The reason we could not use any ketchup is because Charlie also loves it….so much that he licked the lid of the bottle because it is ‘so delicious’ and I had yet to clean it off.
I looked at the clock again and it was only 6:28…..seriously??? That must have been the slowest four minutes EVER. How was I going to get to 7:00? Yes, my kids go to bed early….but thirty two minutes away seemed like an eternity!
After a few minutes I go upstairs to see a puffy faced, sad looking boy. He was so upset he could hardly talk. “Mommy….you….. you….. you made me sad.” Oh jeez. The guilt. I was totally in the right to send him to his room. He chose not to listen to me and had several warnings. But in that moment my heart was breaking for my little con-artist. He can put a steak through my heart then kiss it better in about three seconds. He says sorry and we hug.
Back downstairs the baby has calmed down and I changed him into his pajamas. Then the three of us go back upstairs and snuggled onto the rocking chair in the baby’s room to read books before bed. If you were a fly on the wall in that moment, you would see a mother and her two adorable children who were giggling and hugging and kissing each other as we read an Elmo nighttime book. It was like the last twenty minutes didn’t even happen. Like the blink of an eye that horrible, crazy part of the night was gone.
Why do they do this to my heart and my soul?
At moments like this, I cherish being their mom. It is the best thing in the world. But, I, like most moms also get so caught up in the moments of pure exhaustion and frustration. Right now, though, I will just rock them and soak it in…..
Both kids are in bed. I can take a deep breath and realize that we made it through another night.
This night was not our normal, but by no doubt it happens…..sometimes several nights in a row. I complain. I get angry. Sometimes I yell……but I also love, hug and kiss. All of this often happens the span of a few minutes!
Those sweet faces constantly keep me on the edge. The edge of sanity, of breakdowns, of laughing fits and crying fits….you name it and I have felt it. They keeps our hearts raw and wide open. These days with small children are full of extremes. Extremely hard and extremely fulfilling. Not much in between.
I’ve heard many times before that I should cherish these days. One day they will just be a faint memory…..and as much as I hate to admit it….they are right. Looking back at chaotic vacations or school recitals…..I mostly remember the smiles and adorable performances….not the whining and the exasperation I feel getting out the door.
So, for right now, I will enjoy the next two hours in peace and quiet knowing my little love muffins are happily sleeping, resting up to wreak havoc tomorrow.