Monday, March 1, 2010

Time for Work

Half-awake in the early hours of this chilly March morning, a very familiar tune managed to seep through my sleep-deprived haze. Anyone familiar with toddler television probably shares my intense hatred of a certain moose and bird, more or less depending on the exact time they first greet me upon waking. The start of a new month meant the start of a new monthly theme, yet this one was oddly familiar. With a shock I realized it had been one full year that I’d done this exact routine.

We’re going on a trip.

A year ago Jenny couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk. A year ago I thought I knew Jenny, but she was only just starting to be Jenny.

The baby is awake. Get her out of her crib. Change her diaper. Get her a bottle. Pull her into bed with me.

There are times when the routine is comforting, when monotony is welcomed.

Pay the sitter on Monday. Put the garbage out on Thursday.

It means I don’t have to think as much, just go through the motions. My brain remembers the familiar patterns, helps push me along.

Get gas on Monday. Get paid every other Thursday.

Then there are times when the seemingly endless unchanging stream of drudgery makes me want to scream. No, makes me want to cry, silently and under my covers, hiding from the world and its expectations of me.

Make breakfast. Unload the dishwasher. Dress the baby. Put in a load of laundry.

But to hear that it’s been a year – that is astounding to me. Not that it’s been a year that I’ve had this person in my life


but that it’s been a whole year that I’ve done these things. That there was time before that when I did something different. That there will be time after this when things change again. One day plus one day plus one day.

Make breakfast. Dress the toddler. Read a story. Take her to daycare.

March means that in two more months, I wlll have a two-year old. Twenty-four months of Jellylbean.

Months of cuddles, months of worry, months of exhaustion, months of motherhood.

It’s been a rough few days. She’s been waking up at 5:30 or earlier for almost a week straight. It’s made me think about how I did this, two years ago. Taking naps over my lunch break, going to bed at 8 pm. If someone asked me how I did it that first year, I wouldn’t be able to answer. The reality of being a mother is that you just do. You give in and start buying Red Bull by the case. You get better at accepting your limitations. You struggle each and every day, doubting yourself at practically every turn, agonizing over each decision you make. But you keep on getting out of bed every single morning, and putting a smile on your face for the person who is happiest to see you out of everyone in the whole world.

It's 3 am. Is she going to wake up at 5:30 again? 5 am. Is she going to wake up at 5:30 again? 5:25 am. The sound of little feet padding down the hall makes me want to throw up.

I have to go to the corporate office next week. My last trip was booked March 25 2009. I can’t believe it’s been so long. I can’t believe how much has changed.

How much Jelly has changed. How much I've changed.

The trip is going to be a long week, Sunday afternoon until late Friday night. I’m worried about her, this kid who stands outside the shower door howling because we’re separated for that handful of minutes. I haven’t been a good mother these last few days, and that makes the guilt that much worse. I’ve been tired and impatient and short-tempered. I’ve snapped at her and slapped at her and thrown things and acted like, well, a two-year old. I feel bad because it will be a welcome break, the week away. Sleeping til at least 7 in a bed I don’t have to make, while someone else deals with the tantrums and the stubbornness and the lack of naps.

Jellybean girl, I miss you already. I’ll always come back, I hope you know that. I’ll always be thinking about you. I love you more than I ever dreamt possible.

A new day.

I’ll do better, I promise. And when I fail that, know that I love you no matter what.

A new month.

We can do it. We're mama and Jelly, and we have plenty of time to figure this out.

Time for work.


Laraf123 said...

There have been more days than I like to admit, when I have reacted to my son's tantrum with my own tantrum. All I can do is keep going and try to do better, learning from my mommy mistakes (and then making new ones). Thanks for sharing so poignantly.

Fat Chick said...

Sigh. Doesn't it suck that we are all human? Personally, I think we should be allowed to have one superhuman trait (at least one, two, well, three would be better). Me? I'd chose... hmmm, don't know which I would chose.

This is life: You take out the garbage, lose your temper, eat dinner, and then suddenly it's March of 2010.

Even without kids, it happens, but with kids? Then it's bittersweet, because kids grow up way too fast.

Hey, that's an idea: One of my three (or four) superhero traits would be to slow down time.

Barb said...

Made me cry. Very touching and so true.

chris said...

Yeah .. bittersweet is indeed the word.

In a couple of weeks I'll be traveling for work Monday through Thursday two weeks in a row and yeah .. it feels like I'm going on vacation even though I miss baby G as soon as I drop him off to daycare.

I have some deeper thoughts about this but I'm way too tired from all the tantrums today to deliver.