If you were to knock on my door today and walk into my house unannounced you would be surprised.
My daughter would be the first to greet you, so desperate for attention because we haven't left the house all day. She would have red eyes from last nights exhaustion, a runny nose and some tomato soup on her left arm. She would be wearing only pajama pants, the legs too long so the waist is rolled, her hair looking like David Bowie after a wild night of partying. In her hands are plastic, teal tea cups. She holds them, following you around praying someone will sit down and have a tea party with her.
As you walk through the door you may step on a cheerio or a splatter of paint from our 7am art project. You will hear the Disney Channel somewhere in the house, along with a mothers exasperated sigh.
As you go to sit on the couch I walk down the stairs still in my pajamas, hair in a pony tail, makeup-less, eyes empty and alone. I hold a sweet chubby baby in my arms. A baby so loved and doted on that craves cuddles and kisses. I pass him off to you, so he can have a fresh face, someone to smile and coo at him, who takes the time to treat him like the first born was.
I plop down on the couch next to you, caffeine in my hand, and start the complaints.
I tell you about our night, how both kids have the sniffles and didn't sleep. I tell you how I feel bad that Matt has to wake up at 3:30am and I try to keep everyone quiet but they got my insomniatic genes. Once 5:30am rolls around they are both bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to face the day.
I tell you how I lay there, with day four of a killer migraine, not quite sure how to face the day.
At this point Sophie is at your feet pouring water on you from her tea-cups, asking you to please (please!) play with her. I tune her out which is becoming too regular these days. Oh the guilt! I start to tell you about the guilt. I feel it daily. Am I giving her enough love and attention? Am I snuggling my boy the way I did Sophie? Did I feed her enough veggies and tell her how smart she is?
Today the answer is no. I did not love on my kids enough. I used the tv as a babysitter. I anxiously looked forward to nap time and ate a whole lot of chocolate chip cookies. I am guilt-ridden, tired, sad and confused. Will this pass? Is tomorrow going to feel the same? I tell you about calling my Doctor. I made an appointment with a psychiatrist for Monday. I have hope.
Jack is smiling now, he is holding your finger, loving the interaction you are giving him.
Thank you for playing tea-party with my sweet, precious daughter. Thank you for holding my son. Thank you for listening and letting me know I'm not alone.
You pass me back Jack as you get ready to leave. You hug my darling daughter and you reach your hand out to me. You look deep into my eyes and you see it. You see my heart, my soul and the truth. You see the love I have for my family, the fight I am willing to fight, you see how much I want to change and you tell me, "It's all going to be okay"
I shut the door and close my eyes. I take a deep breath and exhale.
I look down at my daughter and she is smiling up at me, pleading with me to sit with her.
I do. And I let go of the guilt for five minutes. I hold my son and I play with my daughter.
And those 5 minutes show me that it really is going to be okay.