We’re almost into December, you guys. Most years, I get to December and it feels like it’s too soon but not this year. This year is like that mannequin challenge scene in X-men where everything else is frozen in time and I’m blitzing like Quicksilver. Having to Quicksilver it for a whole year is exhausting.
For the most part, 2016 has been hard.
Okay, not like 2009 kind of hard because that still holds the record for being rock bottom in a very deep, dark hole. 2016 is more of a cavernous valley that’s scary and menacing, but also just pretty enough to make it bearable. So not the worst place in the world to be in but not somewhere you want to stay in for a long time.
I think transitioning to 5 kids blindsided me a little; I wasn’t prepared for it to be this difficult. I mean, 4 kids was intense but I still mostly had a grip on things. With 5, I’m operating at full capacity all of the time trying to keep things from spinning out of control, and I’m not even really doing that good of a job. Things are falling out around me and I can’t seem to catch them all in time.
Like Finn has all these unsigned permission slips that I keep meaning to get to but don’t, and the other day, he went to school with 2 extra shirts and no pants so he couldn’t change into fresh pants after his shower. Poor baby doesn’t ask for much, just a pair of fresh pants to change into after his shower and I couldn’t even make it happen for him.
Then there was that time where I left my 2 big kids waiting in school for an hour because I didn’t read the memo that said they were finishing early that day. I was on autopilot until I got a call from Kirsten who was like, “Mom are you coming to pick us? We’ve been sitting here for an hour and everyone has gone home.” When I got there, there was dramatic sad music playing in my head as I walked towards my abandoned children sitting on the floor of an empty foyer waiting for a mom who didn’t show up.
I haven’t slept in 6 months, drank way too much coffee and I constantly feel bad that I haven’t spent enough time hanging out with each kid and now they’re all going to grow up having to deal with the crushing weight of parental neglect. It’s sobering to know that I’ve hit my ceiling and this is about as much as I’ve got to give.
The worst part of it is that this is everything I’ve wanted. 10 years ago, if I had known that I’d be right here with all that I have, I would have told you that I’d be the happiest girl in the world. And I am. In my moments of clarity, I know that this is the dream.
Being here with these 5 tiny humans that bring me so much joy, in our little home that’s safe and warm and filled with love and mayhem and baby laughter, this is all that I want. I should be happier.
Except that the thing about getting what you want is that you have to take everything else that comes along with it. The accompanying tantrums that come with my 2-year-old’s surprise kisses. The squabbles that happen right after those lovey sibling moments. Want to love on this sweet, sweet baby? Well, get ready to have fun with the 2-hour-crying-baby-zombie-night-walks that eat away at your soul.
It’s a package deal, equal parts awesome and difficult.
I love that scene in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where she said “A person can stand just about anything for 10 seconds…then you just start on a new 10 seconds. All you got to do is take it 10 seconds at a time.” It’s spot on. In 10-second chunks, things become a lot more bearable. I can get my anxiety under control when I only have to deal with it for 10 seconds at a time. So when it gets too much to take, I breathe and make it to 10 before starting over again.
I’m the only one responsible for my own happiness and life goes on one way or another. Some days are harder than others. Some years are harder than others. But life keeps going on and maybe when I wake up tomorrow, it’s going to be a really good day. If not, we’ll figure out a way to get through that one too.
34 years of life has taught me that if I keep showing up and getting through the hard days, I’ll eventually get to the good ones.