Surely the stars are sketching a plan

I caught myself in a moment last night.

I failed.

I failed today, and I failed yesterday, and I will undoubtedly fail tomorrow.

I could write a list of all the ways in which I failed myself and those who depend on me to make this phone call…pay this bill…Watch me, Mommy! Are you watching?…this cheese, not that cheese…one likes oranges, the other strawberries, or is it blueberries?…One more book?…meet this real deadline and this arbitrary deadline…spend time with meplay with mewatch a movie with mehold melay with merub my backfollow me around so I know where you are in case I need you.

I fail on a regular basis, and on a regular basis I focus on all the ways in which I failed instead of celebrating little successes.

Last week was a week full of failures, full of power struggles and battles of wills and mighty tantrums of three year olds, and kids who push boundaries, which is what they’re SUPPOSED to do….And I was going to segue here into some of those beautiful moments of motherhood and womanhood and life splintered among the gritty/mundane/tireless everyday, but the truth is I’m struggling to see those moments lately. No, that isn’t right. I’m struggling to feel them.

Here’s the truth. “Because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth.” And at Christmas this truth is more garish and gloating, it seems, than at any other time of year.

I’m stuck. We’re stuck. We’re failing, and our failing is breaking me. Because as much as we work it’s still not enough. And it sucks. Wholly, firmly, unbelievably sucks. I try to tell myself that it’s only money and it’s only a phase and surely the stars are sketching a plan, but we’re expending all our energy, all our everything just to stay afloat, and it’s all stifling and suffocating and sometimes I snap because they’re fighting and I just need them to stop. Just stop. Stohhhhhp!

Today I am tapped out. I surrender. But I can’t surrender because I have three little people who need me and even with their whining and asking and pulling and crying and taking and arguing, they’re my world. They’re the shoreline to which I’m tethered, the driftwood that keeps me above surface. And today I need to work because I have a deadline to meet. I have to meet the deadline because we need the money. The money is already gone. Why do I not see this on blogs? On Instagram? On Facebook? Why is this subject so fucking taboo? Is anyone else drowning out there? Hello?

Yesterday I wrapped presents that I bought for a family who has less than we do. I gave up my time–the only time I had to work–to do this because I’m realigning my perspective to one of giving in the midst of needing. Because I have this theory that by giving of ourselves we can find peace amongst worry. Because when we give, we open ourselves up, and when we open ourselves up we can sit more peacefully among the questions and the vast grey space.

So I failed, and I will fail again. I’m failing as I type this. Always failing. But here’s my little success: I’m here. And I’m working my ass off and I’m opening myself up and I’m not going anywhere.

Today I will shove my worn-thin heart back into the drawer and I will rally because there are these three people who know nothing of worry and mess and mending pieces and carrying on, not now anyway. Someday, yes, but not today. Today the world is magic — tinsel strung on trees and paint splattered across paper and marshmallows in hot chocolate kind of magic. And so it will be for me if I will it so.

Here’s another little success: I won’t delete this post. I know I will want to, but I won’t because maybe someone needs to read it as much as I needed to write it.

So at the risk of feeling exposed and deleting this entire blog and disappearing from the WWW forever and ever, I’m hitting publish. The only thing I ask is that if it helped you in any way, whether minute or grand, please let me know. Please let me hear you.


In Which I Reflect On Fifteen Months With Twins

I took the boys to the grocery store the other day, something I rarely do because 1) they’re so grabby! and 2) have you ever noticed that most shopping carts have one seat for one baby/toddler? I didn’t before I had twins. Clearly, mothers of multiples are discriminated against by mass market retailers. So, anyway, we were at the store quietly going about our business when a woman rushed up behind me and in one long breath wanted to know the following: are they fraternal (we don’t know), who’s older (Wyatt, by less than a minute), did I go into labor early (define “early”), and are they always this good (define “good”). And the whole time Wyatt flashed his baby blues and beamed up at her, while Luke squinted his into slits and stared her down.

“You have one who laughs at the world and one who studies it,” she said.

It was only later that I realized how spot on she was, which made me think how little I think of them as individuals. (And just when I think I’ve got them all figured out they go and switch personalities on me.) So, in honor of their 15-month birthdays, I am reflecting.

My Baby A. A boy of light.

Your smile is usually the first thing people remark about you. A wide-open smile that spreads across your face and lights up your eyes. You like people. I mean, you are aware of them, of their attention, their presence, in a way that makes me think you get it. Just It. You say Mama and Hi. You’re working on Down and No. You’re a bubble of laughter and energy, and I can tell you’re going to be funny. You’re always happy, always game, always willing to walk into someone’s arms. You do this movement (a dance?) that resembles a surfer in slow motion. Sometimes you walk backwards just because. You scream. When you’re happy, when you’re mad, when you’re tired or hungry, or in response to other screams or noises that resemble screams. Mia likes to say, “I think our neighbors heard that one.”

The other day when we were playing, you stopped what you were doing like you had just decided something, walked up to me and kissed me square on the mouth. Then you smiled and did it again before moving on. Confession: I don’t remember the first time your sister kissed me and meant it. Luke has yet to do it. But this one? This was one glorious first kiss.

My Baby B. A boy of sweetness.

In many ways I consider you our bonus baby. The one we didn’t plan for, the one who took us by surprise. The one who negotiated behind the scenes to come along for the ride. Whereas your brother came into the world screaming (see above), you were silent. “Why isn’t he crying?” I asked. And then the NICU nurse was talking to your Dad, and you were whisked away before I ever saw you (or heard you). You are still the quietest of our three. You’re the cuddliest too, melting into me when I hold you, your head nestled into the crook of my neck, your curls tickling my cheek. You study everything, inspect the workings of toys, crawl into narrow crevices, discover hidden wires, flop on your stomach to investigate the underbellies of furniture.

You’re a pickier eater than your brother but not as picky as your sister. You drop your food off your tray and I say no. You smile. You climb the pillows to get to the window blinds and I say no. You smile. You open drawers, pull out all the contents and I say no. You smile. When I walk into the room you wave with both hands and say, Hiiiiiiii. When you want to be held you say Mama. Had you not come along for the ride, I believe I always would have felt there was another soul out there waiting for us to find him. To find you.

*I had planned to post this two days ago but Luke got sick, then Wyatt got sick. And, as you can imagine, it’s incredibly easy to got loads of stuff done with two little people attached to you at all times.

How to Survive in Nature

We went to the park on Sunday for Zach’s company picnic because we didn’t get the memo that only kidless employees were invited. Or maybe the ones with kids were just smart enough to stay home. But we thought, Picnic! Family! Fun! so off we went. Partly because it took us two hours to get out the door and partly because we took the scenic route (who needs directions?), we arrived one fashionable hour late.

We got everyone out of the car, schlepped our caravan of ten thousand bags and children to an overgrown wet patch of grass a grassy knoll in the shade, and set up shop among the twenty-something interns playing volleyball. Even though I asked Mia to use the bathroom before we left home because there might not be a restroom at the park, she promised that she JUST WENT and absolutely could not, would not go again. But what kind of parent takes a child at their word when said child still does not understand the difference between one minute and one hour? Me. I do. I’m guessing that when Mia said she JUST WENT she meant she just went…after breakfast.

“Mommy, I really have to go to the bathroom.”

As luck would have it, the park did have a bathroom. (Yay!) It was only when I realized that we’d have to cross a desert to get there that I decided to come up with a Plan B. Forever after this will be known as the day I taught Mia how to pee in the bushes. “Squat low, but not too low. Move your feet apart. More. Angle your body like so. Yes, I see the squirrels. Focus. No, you cannot wipe with a leaf.” She was a natural, actually. Either that, or I just discovered some serious “how to survive in nature” teaching skills that have lain dormant all these years.