You know those days? The ones when your children are clinging to their worst selves for dear life, as if by showing their sweetness they might be tossed into the wild ocean and eaten by bloodthirsty sharks? Do you know those?
Yeah, I thought so.
That’s the kind of afternoon I had with the boys. The kind where Lyle doesn’t nap and so is alternately grouchy and ridiculously punchy, and Baxter springs from the dismissal line at school like a hugely overgrown puppy, nearly knocking us over with his full-body hug and getting reprimanded by the older gentleman he smashed into along the way. The kind where I step out of the car to pump gas and wish I could stay all afternoon out there in the cold, hunched over alongside my car, breathing fumes. Where I have to pick up a couple things at the grocery store (is that really, truly so much to ask?) and they are so hyper I want to slink down the aisle while they are loudly suggesting I buy them some Popsicles (“Because it weally is a warm, warm day, Mommy…”) and hide around the corner, preferably snuggled in among the really good cabernets, if you know what I mean. Oh, and the kind where I finally pull over to the side of a busy street and confiscate every last glove, mitten, hat, and anything else not tied down to the car (or the children) that might be thrown across the back seat or into the front seat because if that happens one more time I will lose my shit and start throwing things back at them. Big things.
Yes, the kind of afternoon where I suddenly grow sharp, ugly fangs, and frightening horns spring from my head, and I say crazy things at full volume and retract hot cocoa promises. And all I want is for these two crazy-making little people to find another corner of the house for, oh, 4 years or so, allowing me to read a book and cook some more good food. In silence.
But then. Then they decide they’d like to sleep together, since we’re already warm and cuddled in the queen-size bed in the playroom reading Harry Potter and The Berenstain Bears, and they look so sleepy and sweet that I let them. And so I move the monitor and take about 10 essential items from their bunk bed and toss them into the big bed among the drowsy guys, and I see the adorable grins on their faces as they cuddle up together, falling asleep before I am even out of the room.
And I can see that this will work out just fine, them sleeping together tonight and this raising of two children, and realize that most of that time when they are making me crazy they are also really enjoying each other, and although I lingered at the gas station today breathing fumes in exchange for peace and quiet, that does count for a lot.
A whole lot.