Some days I feel like, “Fuck Yeah.”
The days I finish 5 to 6 projects for work and finish a creative side project and manage to not have any folded laundry just sitting on the couch and also somehow make dinner, even if it is prepackaged from Trade Joes.
Sometimes I’m all, “Have it all! That’s RIGHT.”
And then sometimes I am covered in piles of laundry and the counters have stacks and stacks of dishes and there are pots and pans on every burner and the oven fan is on full blast, and I keep having to ask Kamel, “Do see smoke?” as I peer up at the ceiling and I have to check to see if my glasses are just smeared. But regarldess, the fan is on, which really just makes me feel more frantic when the kids come home and Kamel and I are reduced to yelling “WHAT?!” back and forth at each other between rooms over the whirring noise, which is, in fact, better than the fire alarm going off.
And then Gabriel has feelings and needs to be held, but I can’t hold him and stir the thing I need to stir or open the oven door to check that the cauliflower doesn’t burn or do anything really at all. But I hold him anyway.
And the fan is still going and Fae needs a diaper change and Kamel has to pee so he leaves the room and I still need to put Fae’s baby food into the tiny silicone ice cube tray so that I can clear the food processor off the counter.
Gabe refuses to sit in his chair and when I do finally get him to stop clinging to me he tries to grab a pot off the stove because he desperately wants to see. So, you know, I have to use my stern voice because we, “Never, EVER touch things on the stove, Gabriel. And when I say stop you need to STOP, do you understand me?” Which means he no longer wants dinner because he is sad and is making his sad face and has decided to go stand by the window and, “Go away, mama. Go AWAY.” Which is also my voice and my words coming out of that tiny man body, so I can’t even be mad, I’m just sad. And too warm from being in the kitchen and the fan is still buzzing and now half the food I made will go uneaten.
For the last 40 minutes Fae has been happily attempting to eat and gag on and eat again tiny star snacks. Sometimes when things are extra crazy I forget she is there and then I have this moment that catches in my throat of, “Shit, the baby.” Like what if she had choked on a rogue plastic frog/lizard/crocodile of Gabe’s? It’s not impossible. But instead, she’s just there in her highchair. She has a star snack stuck under her chin and she is grinning at me. Thank you for giving me this child. Thank you a million times over it wasn’t any other child, but this one.
Between all of this, Kamel and I are discussing Target. We need more diapers for daycare, but we don’t have time to go tomorrow evening, and do we think they have enough for one more day, why don’t they tell us with a little more advance notice? Do we have any here we could give them? No, we are almost out too. This conversation is interrupted 50 times because “Uppy” and “wait, the baby needs her bottle” and “where’s the strainer, I need to strainer,” and “what?! I can’t hear you over this stupid fan!”
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have my head above water at all. There is no “just above” there is only sink or swim. Even when I can’t breath I have to swim. Even when all there is is a rushing in my ears and a baby on my back and a toddler on my ankle and my hands are full, I must swim. Sometimes there is only swimming with absolutely no view of landfall. Sometimes I just have to trust that at some point I’ll get there and that I’ll know it when I find it.