He was crying on the green couch the other night.
I had yelled– don’t remember why — something about the bathtub and the Oreo cookie Nico had snuck into it and then submerged, little spongy bits of Oreo floating throughout the tub.
But I think it was later, when I tried to put Nico in a diaper, chasing his warm, pink, little naked body around the house. My meager attempt to strap on the diaper before he did his ritual, stealth pee somewhere in our home. It’s a lucky day when it shows up on the hardwood floor (less lucky when he makes it to the rug) and I can usually clean it up before he does another lap around the house and slips into said pool of pee, careening across the living room floor.
It sounds funny, right?
But I could feel it, the rage increasing, the boiling blood, the out-of-control feeling. I could feel it in the way I pinned him down, harder that I wanted to, to get the diaper on, while he wriggled out of my grasp.
And all the while, Ben was whining from the tub crying out for me, “I want to get out!!!” and I’m calling back, “Just a minute!” all sweet and crazy-mommy like, “just a minute honey…” but then I abandoned that nonsense and started barking, “Just wait a fricking minute!!! I’m trying to get Nico in a diaper!”
Sweating, I finish sealing Nico — who immediately sprints off — and I come to collect the whining Ben out of the tub. I wrap him in his favorite towel and mutter something about how I need to take a breath and how I just got really frustrated back there. And now he is sitting with me on the green couch and crying because I’ve yelled at him. Did I mention that? I yelled at him somewhere in there and now I am holding him and apologizing and feeling terrible and he is saying, “But I’m importanter! I’m importanter than a diaper!” and I’m nodding “Yes, yes, you are right. You are much more importanter than a diaper.”
And then I see Nico, naked, running by.
And I can either laugh or cry. And I really wish I could tell you I laughed, but I did not.
And thank god children live in the moment, because they will have forgotten about this mess, this yelling, while I will hang onto it, measuring, judging, weighing — Am I a good mother? Can I yell and still be a good mother? Is it okay if I apologize? Have I already blown it? Is Nico going to remember, somewhere in his tiny cells, all those times I shoved him into the carseat?
This is what I am learning to be with these days. How incredibly flawed and human and not-at-all perfect I am. I’m learning to have compassion for myself and how hard this is and how to make amends and show up again and again. Heart full of love, wanting to do my best.