I’ve always found it interesting that the final stages of pregnancy are almost universally miserable– the cramps, the nausea, and the agonizing, mind-wrenching contractions are enough to make nearly every woman cry, “Bring on the sleepless nights, the diapers, the colic, the milk-soaked clothing! Just get this baby out so I can breathe again!”
And that’s what today has been like around here. “Bring on the homework, the projects, the soccer games, the tedious reading charts! Just get these kids off to school so I can breathe again!”
I’ve never understood those women who are calm and happy during the last days of pregnancy saying, “Oh whenever the baby decides to come, that will be fine.”( because I’m a screaming lunatic from 8 months on– ok, maybe from 1 month on). And maybe I’ve caused the same perplexity in others saying, “Oh I wish the kids didn’t have to go back to school yet!”
But I’ve switched sides; I can scarcely wait to wave goodbye tomorrow morning–“See ya! So long! Buh-bye!” I’ll turn on a movie for Mary, clear and wipe the countertop and mop the kitchen floor. I’ll put in two loads of laundry and know that the pile won’t grow significantly in the next seven hours.
They have officially BROKEN ME DOWN. Was it the smell of popcorn burning at 11 p.m. and it’s scattered remnants on the basement floor? Is it their favorite question of the past few days– “pick one mom. Can we watch The Dark Knight, play Halo or get a BB gun? (their fantasy is that I’ll get really tired and say ‘yes’ to one of those) Is it the melted popsicle trails across my kitchen floor and the bathrooms being use by so many boys (at least 20) that I don’t even know who to blame for the urine stained walls? Is it the fights that break out every three minutes over who stole who’s Lego pieces? It truly could be the mind-numbing back-to-school paperwork for 4 schools where I wrote my name address and phone number at least 100 times. Do they have inane paperwork like that in every state or just Utah? It’s the same stuff over and over and over…
All I know is that when one unnamed boy broke the blue spoon to the sugar bowl this morning I sat down and cried. And I couldn’t help but remember when Ben was 2 and his sticky-fingered little friend shattered my grandmother’s hand-painted china platter. I swept it up calmly telling his mother, “It’s just a thing. Don’t worry about it.”
She was so impressed with my grace and maturity– and so was I. I had a lot of answers back then; I’d pretty much figured the world out. I’d lost very little.
But now I think it’s OK, to break down, to mourn the loss of things— especially if they are your mother’s or your grandmothers– and to cry.
I’ve gone off subject haven’t I? And I know it’s not pretty to write about being unhappy, ungrateful.
I am grateful, so so grateful that the school bell rings tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll be able to breathe again.