Niall was sick the other day and while I was busy tending to his needs, Brendan decided to have a little adventure of his own. There were 28 cards with lollipops and now I only have 11 cards with 9 lollipops (2 of which had been opened, licked and then stuck to the carpet). The kicker is-- I can totally envision Brendan downing 19 lollipops (although not in the 10 minutes I wasn't paying attention); what I can't wrap my head around is how he injested the lollipop sticks, wrappers and cards, as well. Seriously, it has been 3 days and I have searched every cabinet, trash can, toy basket, you name it. The valentines are gone. Luckily, Niall ended up being sick on the day of the Valentines Party anyway. (My priorities lie with the valentine-less classmates and not my son's health).
Having said that...
My friend Sarah wrote a piece last week in response to a blog post where a child-less woman pointed out that most mom/dad bloggers make parenting sound like a total nightmare, scaring off anyone who may have been thinking about having a kid one day.
At first, I just thought that the whole thing was kind of a lame excuse for someone who wasn't really sure if they wanted to have kids in the first place. Then, I thought a little more about why I write the way I do, and I acknowledged that it was because I need to find the humor in situations that sometimes make me want to pull my hair out. But then I thought a little more and I realized that I rarely write about the small, quiet, almost unnoticeable moments of my day that make it all so worthwhile; not because I don't appreciate them, but because they are almost something that can only be appreciated by me.
So I will try anyway...
First, I wake up to the sound of giggling, which immediately makes me smile. I've been having a lot of trouble getting up this winter, just because it has been so brutal; but I am always excited to run into their room and scoop them up and hug them the second my eyes open. Every single day, I squeeze them tight for a good minute and say "I'm so happy to see you this morning!" because it is the God's honest truth. I can't help it; the words just pour out like the really annoying, crazy, over-enthusiastic mom characters that you only see in movies.
Then, I find myself inevitably running late-- because I can't seem to pull myself away when Niall suggests "Hey mom, you know what would be a great idea?! We could snuggle together!" So we take turns turns snuggling on the couch together because Brendan likes his own individual cuddle time, and this is all before we even make it to the breakfast table.
Once we get to the kitchen, we take turns doing knock knock jokes and making funny faces and talking about our dreams from last night and not eating our breakfast, but that's ok because Brendan and Niall have some pretty epic zombie faces that I can't seem to get enough of.
Next, I attempt to do yoga in the basement while watching the Today show, which is probably the biggest accomplishment of my day if I actually do it (and if I can actually walk away with one piece of non-hollywood-gossip news). I typically stop after 10 minutes because I can only stay in "tree" for so long with 2 kids hanging from my balancing leg. But that's ok, too, because they give me a good workout, and a good laugh.
When we go out to do our morning activity, I usually spend the whole time talking to the other moms because I am so excited to have real human contact, but whenever we go somewhere like a museum or zoo or nature center or any place of learning, I realize that I never knew I could feel such excitement from a place like that, because no matter how many times I have been there myself-- as a kid, teenager, adult-- you have never experienced anything until you have done it through the eyes of an awe-struck child.
Now here's the part where I give Brendan major props that he isn't normally so inclined to receiving--
Brendan then naps like an angel for 2 1/2 hours every day! How's that for making you want a kid?! ... Buuuuuut, I'm about 99% sure that I have now jinxed myself and Brendan will be one of those kids who abruptly decides to stop napping immediately after he turns 2.
Scattered throughout all of the commotion of the daily grind, I crouch down to their level probably 5-10 times a day and ask them "Have I told you how much I love you today?" Because if there's one thing I will never have to regret, it is telling my kids that I love them enough. Whatever happens to them or me, nobody will ever have to wonder about that.
Once B wakes up from his nap, I run in and press his warm cheek up against mine and hug and kiss him and pet his bed head and whisper in his ear and imagine that time is standing still because I can feel that it is going by too fast already. Then Niall runs in and tells Brendan that he has brought him a present (one of the toys he doesn't care about to prevent Brendan from getting into the ones that he does care about), to which Brendan repies "OH! Thank You Niall!!!". Then, they hold hands and run off to the playroom together. At which point, my heart melts. Also at which point, 5 seconds later, I hear screaming and crying and fighting. Sappy sweet moment over. But more to come at some point in the distant future ;)
Then, we do dinner, cleanup, baths, laundry, stories and all kinds of things that make me wish there were just 2 more hours in a day. But once I've tucked everyone in and had an hour to myself, I go back in to check on them. And this is the part that really gets me day after day... I watch them sleep for a few minutes. Even after 4 years, I like to put my hand on Niall's chest and make sure he is still breathing before I go to bed, and same for Brendan. Maybe it is a superstitious habit, or maybe part of me thinks I can actually breathe them in and preserve a piece of them that I know will be gone tomorrow.
They look so peaceful while they sleep. It's like that person who was screaming at me and making me want to go hide in the closet an hour ago is some complete stranger. A lot of nights, I can't stop the tears from streaming down my face as I'm stroking their sleeping heads--partly because I'm just so unbelievable grateful and I can't believe how lucky I am-- but also because I know that other parents haven't been so lucky; that they've had their everything snatched away from them in an instant.
I can't help but think "Why not me?" It's not like anyone deserves something like that, so what is giving me immunity and how can I hold onto that? Even if I am spared, I still can't stop asking myself: how are those other parents going to go on living? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel for them? I just feel their pain so much, I can't even allow myself to think about it.
So then I kiss my little angels' foreheads and go back to my room and pray "PLEASE Please Please please let me be so blessed and lucky" over and over and over again, until I finally fall asleep. Because a thousand pleas for their happiness, health, and safety would never be enough.
Then I wake up to giggling.
... and I smile because I realize that I've been given another day with those sweeties, and I remember that no matter what craziness this day has in store for me, I am truly the luckiest.