After having our morning cuddle, Medina and Amaya decided to lock themselves away in the school room and do a few pages in their workbooks while I got Lana up and bathed and ready for the day. After her bath, Lana and I joined the girls in the school room and we all colored and played with magnets for a little while. I got cleaned up and made my way to the kitchen only to realize we were out of all our breakfast items. So I told the girls to do their morning chores and we would grab breakfast on the way out to the store. They finished their chores in record time and stood by the door ready to go. They chose fruit and yogurt for breakfast so we got some and talked about our favorite fruits and where they come from. Then we spent the next hour or so wandering around a new store. We didn’t have any other pressing plans for the day so I let the girls take the lead. We stopped to smell all the fresh soaps, we looked through some books, we talked about essential oils, we even picked up a couple balls and practiced dribbling for a while. The point is, we had a perfectly pleasant morning. We usually do have perfectly wonderful days. And yet, people keep stopping to tell me, in so many words, how sorry they are for me. How they want to help me count down the days until this stage is over. “This will pass soon enough” “wow, I don’t know how you’d do it…One is more than enough for me!”. Now, what they’re saying isn’t necessarily a problem. I know that they mean well and this is their attempt at empathizing with me. The problem is…my kids are RIGHT THERE. They’re looking. They’re listening. They’re feeling these words and looking at me for my response. I mean, I get it. Some days are just chaos and when my husband walks through the door I hand over all responsibility and hide my face in chocolate until all the children are asleep. But the truth is, most days are great. Most days we laugh, read, cuddle, dance, and experience life together. So when someone said (with a wide eyed look of terror) “wow, three kids under 6? How do you deal with life?” I didn’t really know what to say. The girls stopped talking. Probably just because I was engaging with a stranger but they were silent nonetheless. They just looked at me waiting for my response. I felt Medina’s eyes burning a hole right into my soul at the same time that this lady was waiting for some kind of answer to her ridiculous question.
How do I deal with life??? How do I deal with three little angels who want to cuddle and kiss me more than I have the patience for some days? Who want to help me wash dishes, fold clothes, or whatever other never ending chore just to be near me? Who will sit at the bathroom door with their fingers wiggling underneath it because they want to hear me laugh on the other side? How do I deal with this abundance of love?? I don’t know. How do they deal with me? Because I do know that I don’t always return their love in the way they deserve- but I’m working on it. I do know that when they’re not near me my heart aches. What I CAN tell you is that even on my most crabby and irritable days I have three incredibly forgiving little people ready to love me with a force that baffles me.
But I know that’s not what she’s looking for. She’s looking to bond with me over our mutual done-ness with kids and motherhood. Usually, I’d engage. I’d stand there and act as though I understand where she’s coming from… but I would be doing that for her. For this stranger who is inadvertently insulting my girls to their faces. So, while everyone stands around me waiting for me to be done having an internal debate, I decided to stand up for the girls by disengaging. I shrugged and smiled and walked away. Then I got down on my knees, looked them both in the face, and told them that I’m sorry. I said that I know they hear people tell me how much trouble it is to have 3 kids and that they keep me really busy but that I LOVE it. There is nothing in this world I would rather be busy with.
They attacked me with hugs and kisses. I fell to the ground in the middle of the international aisle with them on top of me laughing and kissing me, with Lana squealing in the cart and kicking her feet from all the excitement.
Then we went on about our day just making rounds through aisles we’d already visited. More people stopped to tell me how difficult my life is and that it’ll pass before I know it and I just smiled at the girls, touched their faces, shrugged and kept it moving.
It isn’t fair to the girls, who are following all our rules, having a fun and happy day with me, to have to hear people tell me how awful it is to have them around all the time….and then if I was to agree? Seriously awful. But I have done it before because I understand where it’s coming from. I know that it truly is coming from a place of parenthood comradery- but it isn’t worth it. While I’m standing around having a conversation, the girls are looking back and forth between me and the stranger and absorbing all the information from the conversation. They’ll never say anything to me about it but I have been surprised by their knowledge too many times in the past to claim ignorance on their ability to comprehend what is happening around them.
I realized, today, that if I would have engaged in everyone who stopped to talk about how I have 3 girls so close in age and all the things that come along with that conversation…the girls would have had to hear about their being a burden 5 times. IN ONE HOUR.
A couple posts back I wrote about Positive Parenting and changing the way we speak about our children. I feel like that’s easier to do in my own head than it is to do when someone else is leading the conversation because I don’t want to be that person who just stops the conversation and , believe me, discouraging negativity sometimes does just that. Not everyone has the patience for happy people…but you know who always does? My family. Just like everything else, the more I practice being happy and positive, the easier it becomes to truly see things that way. This is my life. I don’t want to continue trekking along always waiting for the next stage. The easier stage. I’m going to enjoy this and all the steps along the way and I’m going to continue to let my kids know how much I appreciate their presence in my life because….how else will they know?