I used to have a ceramic floral tea cup and plate sitting upon a lacy doily with dried carnations and roses resting on my white nightstand. As a child, I loved french romance. I cut out many phrases artfully taped to my wall, and experienced many dreams of my future adulthood in my four poster twin bed I shared in a room with my younger sister under the floral comforter amongst my Keanu Reeves and Andre Agassi posters.
I always dreamt of being a mother and a wife. I wanted the wedding ring and the dates at home, the spit-up and poopy diapers, the mountains of laundry and home-cooked meals. I couldn’t wait to have a family of my own, to live in a home I owned with my decor on the wall, my furniture handpicked and placed in each room, my family tucked away in their beds nightly.
I remember struggling mightily in my early twenties, mourning failed relationships as though my family and my dreams would never happen. On the toughest of mothering days, when I’m up in the middle of the night with a crying baby, and I haven’t had a good night’s rest in days, I silently cry to myself from the stress, but I never let myself forget those days when I begged and pleaded for this blessed fate, these children, these sleepless nights.
I didn’t know the anguish that would come with the unending laundry baskets. I didn’t know about the growing pains, the tooth fairy mishaps, the whole family encompassing stomach flus, or stitches. So many of the minuscule details that make up the whole parent/wife picture I didn’t know this dream would include back then. And, even knowing them know, I want them even more so. I suppose, I’d just like a little less drama, illness, and stumbling along the parenting path and a little more succeeding, joy, and housekeeping harmony.. that’d be nice.
If 30-something me could go back to talk to teenage/early twenties me, she’d tell her to hang in there, to keep trusting, keep loving, and keep longing for these children. Our babies big and small are amazing little creatures, beautiful and maddening but oh-so-fantastically worth every solitary second of madness and bliss.
She’d tell her to not think for a moment she was unworthy of a love that lasts a lifetime. Don’t watch all those sappy romantic movies and think for one second it won’t happen, because it will. He is going to knock ‘er off her feet with romantic gestures and constant love notes, and never let her feel unloved, not for a single second.
She wouldn’t even tell her to rest up, as much as she could, to save up her strength for the long nights with a difficult toddler. Because hidden deep within the dark, sleep-deprived nights is the knowledge that she is right where she is needed, where she is loved the most, hip-deep in the dreams she’s dreamt all her life. That toddler whining and clinging is exactly where she needs to be, clutching that baby and humming whatever music she can muster at 2-something AM. Buried beneath the baby breath is the heart of a mother and wife who has been given this gift, this blessing.
Hidden within the 5AM eyes of the mom who cleaned up vomit all night on a cold January night is the love for her children, husband, and concern for their welfare.
PPD or no, puke or strep, rain or shine, husband here or away, I’m where I am supposed to be, the good far outweighs the bad, no matter how bleak the bad might seem that day. I bide my time, amid the gray weather and sad days, knowing good is just around the corner again, hopefully closer than I think. That these kids are too busy celebrating the week off coloring, building blanket forts, and playing games with one another to notice my frustration, that I’m looking at another God-forsaken rainy “Spring Break” day as a failure instead of the success that it is to them.
My husband is away (again) and I’m alone with the kids (again) on another week off from school (again) and I’m feeling like a failure and quite lonely (again). While I know this Quagmire of Suck™ won’t last, it still stings. A lot. The kids love me, they are part of me, and I know this pain is only temporary for the lifetime of love my family gives me. But on the days depression gets the best of me, it still hurts. I don’t want to be the sad mom. I don’t want to be the lump-on-the-couch mom. I want to be that happy mom I always dreamt I’d be.
Yesterday, the day before, and the many bad days I’ve experienced, all are barely blemishes in hindsight. Tomorrow’s a new day, sun or no, with them, for them, loved by them.
After all, it’s all I ever wished for, isn’t it?
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. – Rabindranath Tagore