It had been every day for 25++ years. She found herself sitting on the floor, covered in empty boxes, about to sleep on a futon that had been through her three other college kids and was now gracing the dorm room of her baby. She couldn’t believe she was finally here.
But she knew why she was absolutely exhausted. Who wouldn’t be? She lay awake thinking about ALL.THE.THINGS.
- Q-tips covered in alcohol carefully for 10 days on each of four babies’ umbilical cords until that gross thing turned black and fell off
- Shopping with four children under seven (it was like taking four goats to the store…I “kid” you not…get it? get it? I “kid” you not)
- Sorting legos into bags by color, size and type at least 52 times (to be exact)
- Playing Ms. PacMan on Nintendo 64 surrounded by eight excited eyes until she beat all the levels and killed the witch
- Filling out back-to-school forms until her eyes twitched and hands curled up in agony (can’t this be computerized school board?)
- Packing 180 (# of days in a school year) X 4 (# of kids in her house) X 13 (# of school years) lunches (equals 9,360)
- Chore charts, memory verse charts, learn-to-pee-and-poop-on-the-potty charts, and behavior charts, all complete with stickers and prizes
- Watching (or at least hearing from the kitchen) ad nauseam reruns from the Disney Channel, Nick Jr., PBS, Cartoon Network and Netflix
- Coaching and watching basketball, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, wrestling, field hockey, swimming, track, volleyball, and softball (the records for all of those sports combined probably .500 exactly)
- Listening to piano, clarinet, bassoon, guitar, and recorders (yikes!)
- Doctor, dentist, oral surgeon, voice therapist, orthodontist, counselor, ENT, orthopedic surgeon and emergency room visits enough that she should have “frequent shopper cards” (buy 10 visits, get one free)
- Themed birthday parties each year complete with specialized decorations and games (Pin the Tail on Pikachu anyone?)
- Graduations from preschool to middle school to high school to college (secretly bored out of her mind, but still taking all the pictures)
- Driving at least 5 or 6 times the distance of the globe to practices, lessons, youth groups, parties, play dates, school, and girl/boyfriend’s houses
- 3,247 fights over paper-cup lids, halloween candy, bathroom etiquette (or lack thereof), and on and on and on
- Teaching (or more true, freaking out in the passenger’s seat) four teens how to drive
- Moving four kids in and out of college dorms and college apartments (one night she actually slept on bath mats…the softest thing she could find in said child’s off-campus apartment)
You can see why she was wiped out. W-I-P-E-D out!
A couple of days later, back home snug in her bed, hoping to finally get some much-needed sleep, she patted herself on the back for a mom job well done.
As she headed off to dreamland at the luscious hour of 10 pm, her phone DINGED, the familiar tone reserved for her blessed four.
It was a text from her college junior. “Mom, can you help? I need to figure out how to switch a class.”
She quickly responded, telling him he needed to wait until the morning.
“Okay Mom. Love you.”
“Love you too. We’ll figure it out.”
Five minutes later, another DING, same familiar tone.
Slightly annoyed, she checked to make sure all was well with whoever was now texting.
Her recent college graduate was sending a note from the kitchen.“Mom, where are the spatulas?”
She told him which drawer. He said he already looked there. She unwrapped herself from her cozy covers and walked down the long flight of stairs. She opened said drawer. It was right there, hiding in plain site.
“Thanks Mom. Love you.”
“Love you too. Good night. Please clean up after yourself.”
She marched herself right back up those stairs, slipping back under her covers and shutting her heavy lids. Sleep came quickly.
Different child (this time, adult and oldest child living on her own).
“Mom? You up? I’m a wreck. Can’t sleep. My roommate is being a jerk. I think I should move out. What do you think I should do?”
She pressed #2 on speed dial.
After 45 minutes of listening and listening and listening and then more listening, the two of them said the same words to each other since forever.
“Love you to the moon, Mom.”
“And I love you all the way to the moon and back again, Peanut.”
She was now fully awake. She tossed and turned and tossed and turned.
The clock had struck midnight and her restless legs were acting up.
She turned her pillow over to the cool side.
She stared into the darkness.
She irritatingly glanced at her fast-asleep spouse, mouth agape.
“WHAT NOW? WHO NOW?”
It was her baby.
“Mom, I love you. And miss you. Sorry if I woke you up.”
She answered pronto.
“Love you too, honey. And miss you like crazy!”
She laid her head back on her not-cool-enough pillow, closing her eyes tight. Wise words from an older mom friend echoed in her mind, and she understood them just a little bit better.
“This parenting gig never ends, because love never ends.”
She drifted off (FINALLY) to a sweet sleep, all phones quiet.
As she woke in the morning, her mom body ached a little and she was still tired, exhausted actually, but her mom heart, just like every day for 25++ years, was full to the brim.