Do you have days when everyone needs and wants to be held and there isn’t a second you can find to yourself? One of the children in the group is either unhappy, throwing a tantrum, crying or shrieking, and I think, Please go play. Mommy needs a break. Just two minutes to myself. I can’t hold you right now. My arms are about to break.
I know I will want each moment back that I took for granted — and be begging for the opportunity to chase one of my children down, to have them let me hold them at all.
The incessant one mores — when I’m asked to color one more picture, read one more book or play one more game, after the previous hours of devoting every last breath of energy left in my body — find me answering at times with a slouch and a sigh.
Yet, I know there will come a time when I’d give anything to be able to sit down and not only do these one more time, but a thousand more times.
There are mornings, afternoons, and evenings when I feel like a servant in my own kitchen. When it feels like it’s more of a war zone. I don’t get to sit down, as someone always needs another refill, a second helping — or naturally, there is a mess that needs immediate attention.
And yes, one day, I will look around my kitchen and wish for it to be filled with little people who need me to wait on them hand and foot… all too soon, it will be empty, quiet, and lifeless.
There are moments I feel like I can’t change one more diaper, help one more time on the potty, wipe one more messy mouth, or clean up one more disaster. As soon as I get one of these tasks accomplished, the next is already waiting for me. But I know that ultimately, my need to be needed is far greater than anything else. I will not only miss this, but yearn for it one day.
There are nights when the babies just won’t go down for bed… or for that matter, stay asleep. The times they prolong the inevitable at tuck-ins and ask for one more kiss, one more hug, one more drink of water, or have just one more thing to tell you, but… for the fifteenth time.
There will come a time I would give anything to have made sure I took each one of those extra hugs and kisses and realize that I’m pacing the halls with an emptiness that can’t be replaced.
The hundreds of times I’m asked daily, Mommy look! Mommy just watch me! Mommy…. Mommy? Come here! Mommy can you help me with this? There are times I think I could crumble and often, at my breaking point, I wonder: How is it possible for one human being to meet all of these tiny people’s needs all at once, every single day, all day and all night long? I feel so defeated at times simply because there aren’t five of me to go around.
One day, I will be praying to have those requests and sweet demands back.
There are never-ending pleas where I’m asked to watch the same show or movie over and over or listen to the same songs again and again. At times, my head aches and spins from it, and I’m certain it will burst if it sees or hears something one more time. I realize at times my much needed social, adult vices are no longer met; they’re simply a thing of the past.
But yes, at some point, I will laugh to myself and want it back.
There are ever-too-early awakenings when I’d give anything to have my kids sleep in and not have each day begin at 65 mph by 5:30 a.m. Most days, when I’m trying to get my eyes to open and remind my legs to put themselves one in front of the other, I’m not sure which direction I’m heading or what needs done first. I’m just doing my head count to make sure everyone is accounted for and made it through another night.
But this, too, will be an exhausting time that I will look back on and smile and think: They were my reason to carry on and pull myself out of bed every day. I will find a point when I need to have these mornings again.
There are daily games where I have someone playing peek-a-boo during my two-minute shower or have thumping feet and squeals running through our halls to the point it sounds like someone is being seriously hurt and our house will surely come crashing down.
One day, the peace and silence will be deafening. I will miss this.
There is running from one event and appointment to the next. The constant in and out of the car seats to keep up with our schedule. And while we’re traveling, the unremitting battles in the backseat that are sometimes enough to make it impossible to even attempt to drive safely. All so often I think to myself that I must be one of the most courageous people on this earth to put these tiny people in the car and take all of them out in public alone.
One day, I will turn around and find complete emptiness behind me, with no one asking or needing me to take them anywhere or pick them up. I surely will want it all back.
The daily cleaning the toothpaste out of the sink, switching the shoes that are on the wrong feet, fixing the shirts that are misbuttoned, keeping up with the never ending loads of laundry, tripping over and picking up the sea of toys that lay scattered through the house or once again scrubbing the crayon that has found its way onto our wall.
Yes, all of this, every single last thing: I will want it all back.
That’s the wild thing about motherhood — the most tiring and sometimes most dreadful duties are actually where we can find the biggest blessings hidden.
The days of Help, Mommy….Mommy, please….Just one more! I need to at times beg myself to embrace this, all of this… the struggles, the exhaustion, the wearing of the 50 hats to just survive one day with my little ones because one day, this will all begin to slow down and eventually come to a complete stop. There is no pause button. There is no rewind button. And unfortunately, there is no do-over button.
In our moments of exhaustion and despair wishing, oh when they’re old enough for this. We just have to push it out a little longer to make it through this stage.
There will come a time I will be sick thinking that I could have wished any amount of time away and would walk to the ends of the earth to be back here — right here, right now.
I’m given one shot with my children. They are given one childhood with me. The amazing, yet scary part of all of this, I’m the author of this part of their lives. I determine how their chapters are being written out. Every day, I will go down in flames trying to give them one hell of a story to reread and look back on one day and think, “I remember being happy. When I think of my childhood, I simply remember happiness.”
And if we’re really lucky enough, they will know in their hearts that their mother, well she was a huge contributor to that happiness.
Excerpted from A LETTER FOR EVERY MOTHER by Kara Lawler and Regan Long. (Copyright 2018) Used with permission from Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.