Sometimes I feel like the room is spinning. The noise of my daughter’s Littlest Pet Shop YouTube videos playing on the TV, the sound of Baby Genius songs blaring from the Laptop, Ryan singing Christmas songs using the wrong words to amuse the kids, and himself…and me, with a million things on my mind, in the midst of it all.
Every five minutes, my daughter asks me for something and every 10 minutes my son latches on to my leg, desperately screaming for me to pick him up. He grabs for my hand to lead me upstairs to let him play with water in the bathroom sink.
Every morning, after the kids are fed I clean up the mess from the night before. The dishes from dinner and breakfast, the toys scattered across the floor. Clothes from the six outfits my daughter had tried on the previous day to wear for an hour, that later ended up in some room, on some floor. Crayons and markers with caps missing, dried up and useless from being left out all night.
The shoes. So many shoes. Shoes in every room, in closets, under beds, behind couches and chairs and on the stairs. Eight feet reside in this house and we have enough shoes to supply a small village. We trip over them and get angry. Then we continue walking, leaving them behind to trip over them again and again.
Where are the socks? I have no idea.
Strange pieces of what could have possibly once been a bagel or toast on my daughters movie shelf; Only discovered when my baby boy walked up munching on it. Random bits of noodle stuck to his leg. The case of the missing sugar cookie solved when he is found in a corner, silently chewing up his sugary discovery.
I’m beginning to think he knows what he’s doing. That he stored those treats away, like a squirrel stashes nuts away for winter. Where did those things come from?
My 7 minute showers interrupted by little hands with even smaller fingers, poking through the crack under the bathroom door. Little fists against wood… pounding, pounding, pounding until my 5-year-old decides to open the bathroom door and they both come crashing in excitedly, trying to push each other aside to get ahead of the other.
They pull the shower curtain open and start undressing to join me. Eyes filled with joy with only the prospect of a shower or bath with mommy; Exuding the same level of excitement they would attain from chasing after an ice cream truck on a hot, summer day.
I hurry to finish, wrap up in a towel, turn the shower into a bath and let them bathe…as I sit on the toilet with the seat covered to supervise; Dripping wet and cold, with only the thought of how I almost made it through an entire shower without them this time. I decide every time that the next time I’ll be quicker.
The trips to the store. Ashley dancing through the isles, eager to find something she can ask for when she promised she wouldn’t. Jackson standing up in the cart every chance he gets, wondering why he can’t wander around to walk just as his big sister does. Strangers who are shopping, stopping to look at things with their carts left in the center of the isles and their bodies blocking the spaces next to it. It’s a very dis-pleasurable experience, grocery shopping.
Sometimes we get a chance to be alone. I shut things off when no one else is home. It gets so quiet in here that I don’t know what to do with myself.
Ryan sits with his notebook and writes lists and lists of things down. His notebook, which is one of a thousand. Stacks and stacks of Ryan’s notebooks, in closets, on shelves, on the floor by chairs and beds, and in the car. Notebooks, notebooks and notebooks… everywhere.
Where are the pens? I have no idea.
The silence. Then and only then, it makes me ache for the noise of the children screaming. It beckons me to wish for sounds of the kids playing, or to hear them laughing.
The time. The time then, leaves me lost with feelings of no direction. No child asking me for something. No tug-of-war over a toy to break up. No one to take care of.
When they are gone, only silence and time is left behind. Silence we choose to not fill, and time we don’t use effectively. Instead we just are…as if we have no other purpose.