4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
No one told me that motherhood would be like a bad college boyfriend. I mean, if one of my kids told me they were in a relationship with someone who was disrespectful, mean, clingy, and who grabbed their lady bits in public, I’d say, “Dump the guy! [or gal]” but here I am, unable to dump my kids.
This week I was having one of those days. You know, one of those days where everything I do, they undo. Everything I say, someone turns around and does the opposite… right in front of me! We’d walked down the big hill to the school tennis courts.
“Mica! Don’t step on that bee. It belongs in nature and we are in nature so we need it to pollin- Cabot! Did you just step on that bee?! Argh! Reid! Don’t throw the tennis bells over the fence. Jasper! Did you just throw that tennis ball over the fence?! We need those to play TENNIS! Time out! No you’re in time out. Mica did you just throw a tennis ball over the fence?! No, YOU’RE in time out!”
Until I realized that more kids were in time out than not. I was so frustrated, so annoyed, so, SO, SO!!! BHRTTTTTTT!
In the cartoon version steam comes flying out of my ears and fire out of my feet and I shoot right to the moon like a rocket. They cheer my ascent at first but then realize they’ll have to walk up the big hill on the way home carrying their own rackets with no one to hold their hands. Then they all burst into tears that stream out of their eyes like arcs of water from a sprinkler. Finally, they beg me to come home with cupid hearts and armloads of flowers…
But as you can imagine, there is no cartoon version. Just the real version, the version that is at her wits end, so filled with somewhat disproportionate rage and unable to move forward. Sigh.
I said, SIGH!
This happened once my first year of coaching when no one could figure out how to pass and then sprint forward and receive the ball… for over an hour… and I walked away from the field and sat down in the middle of a neighboring field about 100 yards away, with my face in my hands. Seriously. (They all stopped for a moment and then actually figured it out for themselves. So much for my so-called coaching abilities.)
It happened once in my first year of marriage during an argument about who sweeps the floor more (me, obviously…) so I tried to lock myself in the laundry room to cry but the lock wouldn’t work so Tim came in and hugged me anyway. Darn him. (He still doesn’t sweep, and he’s still the hugger.)
It happened once in college during a terrible conversation with a terrible boyfriend who it took me too long to break up with. I put on my sneakers and ran. I ran about seven miles, the furthest I’d ever run. It was actually a beautiful moment, a moment where I literally took my life back.
And so earlier this week, if you saw someone flying laps around the soccer fields, not far from a motley group of stunned tennis toddlers standing watching with their rackets and balls in hand, well that runner was me. Taking back her morning. Taking back her day. Taking back her life. If only for a few minutes.
Then we walked back up the hill to the house, and I carried their rackets and held their hands.