Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Serenity Never

What should theoretically be one of the more benign, peaceful moments of my day is typically the one that is most fraught with drama: My shower.

Here's the thing - I know that I might, at times, veer dangerously close to painting the picture that life with small children is all craft-time-in-personalized-vinyl-aprons. That it's all glitter, no glue. It's blanket forts that appear with the snap of a finger and magically dismantle themselves when the fun grows stale. (Not that anything ever grows stale around here...) It's curly girls in cute tights and cuddly boys who eat all of their carrot sticks.

The reality is, there's quite a bit of angst up in my hood on a daily basis.

Especially during the 20 minutes that I race in to shower.

Don't the lady mags advocate being showered and dressed before the kids rise? Well, my kids rise around 6:45 most days, and that's just not happening.

When I shower, the five year old is in charge but the four year old probably should be and the two year old? Well, he's breaking ornaments and playing Whack-A-Sister.

Today, mid-condition, Ruby ran in crying her eyes out, "Mom! Calvin hitted me!"

Moments late, Calvin arrived to defend himself. "But Mommy, Ruby rubbed Velcro on my cheeeeeeeeek!"

Yup. Velcro.

And it all went down hill from there.

And then back up.

Then down.

Up.

Down.

Up.

You get the point.

Most days, I prefer to search for the fine strand of gilded happy and lock eyes with it. But some days, that strand is hopelessly lost in the laundry heap. That lilt is hidden somewhere between the whines and the sasses and the cries, but heck if I can hear it.

On days like this, I grab my definition of happy like a big lump of Playdough - blue mixed with yellow mixed with red, a little on the dry side - and I squish it and stretch it until it fits my world.

Thank heavens, happy sometimes means fruit salad in February and paint smocks for everyone.

But other times, happy is just gonna hafta mean canned soup for dinner because the cupboards are mostly bare and an ecstatic cross country/rollerblade combo in between trips to time out.


Their moods swing right along with mine, most days. We yawn and scratch our way through the cooped up hours and we giggle and play through others.

I'm all for finding the gooey caramel center, but sometimes what I look for and what I find are not the same. Sometimes the box is full of those weird mystery creams - still sweet, but not at all what you would have picked if it were up to you.

To every tired Mama out there - I hope tomorrow is frosted up tall and nice with the sprinkles landing exactly where they should. I hope you shower in peace.

But if not? Squish up your idea of happy until it's a little softer and easier to work with. Fold laundry amid the roar of the wildlife and notice all over again that it smells so good. And then collapse in a heap when bedtime rolls around. You earned it.