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These are the days. Right?
The days of catching another person’s spit-up in your hands while reading a book for the 586th time in a month. Of negotiating bedtime, who gets the blue cup, of cleaning granola bar crumbs and shredded cheese off the couch.
The days of climbing into the way (way) back to buckle a 5-point harness, times two, and hoist a pumpkin seat into an SUV the same height as your shoulders. In 95° heat in the middle of a thunderstorm.
The days of being yelled at from the backseat to “go” at a red light, to “turn up the air louder”, that “dat milk spilled on my seat”. Of spending hundreds of dollars buying two different sized diapers for months at a time.
The days of pouring out mandarin orange juice from the little cup so that the kids can eat them in the car RIGHTNOW ohmygosh mom I’m just starving. Of “I forgot my underwear, mom” and “I sowwy, mommy”.
The days of tiny 4-month-old little claws pinching and scratching and grabbing your skin while you feed them. Or holding your breath as you put them into the crib. The days of “one more story” and “one more hug” and stalling questions like “what’s in the middle of the earth?” and “why do we have parents?”
The days of watching a sleepy baby’s eyes roll back into her head when she’s had enough milk to drink. Of a little guy’s tiny arms over his head and his belly sticking out of his pjs when he sleeps. Of the tightest squeezes you’ll ever get, kisses given to scrunched up faces and eyes crinkled tight. The deepest belly laughs they’ll ever have – those fade, right?
The days of staying up late – too late, when you know the kids will be up at dawn – just to have some time alone in a quiet house. Of checking Facebook one too many times that day, because watching a 4-year-old dance to Let It Go for the 57th time that day is just a tad repetitive. Adorable but repetitive. Of hiding in the bathroom to just eat a bag of pretzels in peace without tiny sticky fingers grabbing the entire bag before you get one.
The days of bad things happening to people your own age. People like us are losing parents, losing jobs, getting divorced, the unthinkable – having something terrible happen to a child. It’s just heavy and serious and it happens to US now.
The days of pushing them “higher, mommy, higher!” And convincing them to eat pizza – pizza! – who needs to be convinced to eat pizza?! The days of, no, mommy, I don’t want this yogurt I just asked for. How dare you.
The days where I want to nap with them and inhale their sweet smell and, in the same moment, get on a plane somewhere, anywhere, by myself, just to be alone. The days of “am I too old to wear this? does it look like I’m trying too hard?” and “those kids look SO young, are they even old enough to drink?” and “why don’t teenage girls have awkward phases anymore?!” The days of just buying the bigger size and ditching the old stuff – because even though the number on the scale may be (almost) the same, the shape is just different.
The days where poop is a victory – the baby went for the first time in a week, the oldest one wiped her own butt, the middle one actually went in the potty. The moment that mom has to cut human poop out of a fur rug. Some of these things actually happen, you know.
The days where you aren’t sure if you did the right thing, having these kids. Or quitting your job. Are you a good enough mom? Is this really your calling? Would your kids be happier if someone else more, oh, maternal, took care of them everyday? Would you be happier if you worked? Would they be happier if you worked?
The days of feeling like no one is listening to you. They aren’t, unless you’re cussing under your breath. Or out loud. Whichever.
The days of hearing “enjoy every minute” and “you’ve sure got your hands full!” and “the days are long but the years are short” from a sweet old lady at the grocery store.
The days of planning workouts and sex and drinks and vacations and meetings and everything around lactating. The days of smelling other people’s butts. Of another human using your sleeve to wipe their own nose.
A neighbor recently told me that the days feel like years and the years feel like days. With this warped sense of time, I wonder which parts of the kids being so tiny we will actually remember. How soft their skin feels, the sweetness of their sleepy breathing, their endless energy – will we be able to relive it?
These are the days, right? Even if they aren’t, I don’t want to forget what being in the trenches feels like. Even the toughest of days are meant to remember.