A couple days ago Riley dropped a full water bottle on the floor and when the cap flew off and the contents began gurgling out all over the carpet I could actually feel some critical load-bearing structure in the patience sector of my brain give way. It wasn’t that he was actually creating a disastrous mess — it was, after all, just water — it was the culmination of a harried day of constantly picking up after the kids (a knocked-over cup of milk, hands pressed against the windows I had just cleaned, forty thousand instances of tidying the living room only to have it re-destroy itself behind my retreating back as if by magic) while I simultaneously packed for a night away from home (which doesn’t seem that complicated — it’s one night! — and then you get into it: the swimsuits, the dog food, the children’s ibuprofen in case someone gets a headache, my special stupid foam pillow which I cannot be separated from because I am old now, and so on) and in that moment I could take no more, and as he stood there staring at it I howled, “PICK! IT! UP!” and I am afraid I did not use my indoor voice.
I had a similar moment yesterday when we were leaving for an afternoon at the river and I saw that Dylan had managed to track wet dirt all over the kitchen and living room. “Do you think I like cleaning?” I said, clutching my head. “I hate cleaning, and I have to do it all day every day, because you guys … you just … DON’T CARE!” And then I sort of burst into tears.
In terms of really freaking your kids out, by the way, I recommend a short hysterical weeping fit.
It’s been a long week. JB’s been working insane hours and we’ve barely seen him, and I hate to complain when he’s the one under all the work pressure, especially since I know he’d much rather hear that everything’s going great at home and I’m totally on top of things, but, well, it’s been hard. We visited his office on Friday and the boys were absolutely blown away by all the coolness — a break room with a giant screen where you can play Scrabble! Free snacks and soda! A manufacturing floor full of actual fucking robots! — and they have of course been talking nonstop about how great Dad’s work is and how they want to do what Dad does when they grow up and I know I shouldn’t be bitter about that but I can’t help it, I get a hurtful clench in my chest when I think how they must see me in comparison. So boring, just typing away into a laptop. Such a drag, making them go to lame places like the grocery store and the bank and forever barking at them to be quiet or clean up their mess or GO OUTSIDE DAMMIT. No one’s ever said they want to be like Mommy when they grow up, that’s for damn sure.
Anyway. It’s actually been an amazing summer with all kinds of adventures, it’s just … you know. I’m tired of never getting a break. I’m tired of nagging. I’m kind of really ready for school to start. Except I know that once it does, I’ll find myself missing our lazy structure-free days and I’ll think how I should have been calmer, I should have been more fun, I should have been grabbing their still-small hands and diving headfirst into summer’s all-too-fast whoosh of buzzing sunshine and long evenings. See, I’ll think that, having somewhat forgotten about the barely-treading-water August reality.