real mothering

August 19, 2004

the clock on the microwave says 2:03am, i must go to sleep i think. i stayed up until the wee hours for there i find quiet and peace. they are my best friends whom i rarely get to visit.

i must finish this last party favor. oh, this seemed like a good idea on tuesday but now it is thursday and i have about 5 more of these mother fuckers to do. i always let my creativity run away with me. in the end i will be so glad, the favors are so personal and sweet, each one is better than the last and besides, i LOVE this stuff.

i crawl into bed next to jack and pray i can sleep by myself for a few hours. 8:30 comes quickly and both boys are greeting their toys, full of energy, ready for chocolate chip pancakes and eggs. i am exhausted but another day has begun and my tired mother ass will just have to get in gear.

after 6 hours of more favors, phone calls, naps and ignoring my children, i announce we are going to the park. no need for a/c today, it was a little warm but the breeze coming through my little green house soothes my tiredness and inspires me to suggest an adventure. we find some clean clothes that are piled up on the couch waiting to be folded, thank god there is underwear is all i can think.

we pile in the car and start our adventure. i try to talk josiah into going to a different park since i quickly realize i have no money to pay the toll to the place he wants to go. “but mom, we have to see the animals.” he’s right, i know, so i turn around the car and go the 10 miles to get around the toll. we get out of the car and run towards the barn to visit our animal friends.

we head down the hill to visit the cows, horses and head toward the bear exhibit. it’s so hot, it’s hotter than at our house. jack is lagging behind. josiah and i call and wait, call and wait…”jackie- boy! come on buddy!”…the toddler in him is frustrated by the adult in me. i’ve seen that bush a million times but the world is still new to jack. i can see he just wants to feel the dirt, look at the butterflies and play in that puddle, we are just going too fast. i just want to get to the bear and at this rate we’ll be here until sundown. i scoop jack up and head towards the bottom of the hill, we round the corner to see a running brook on the path. i’m sure jackie’s place in heaven will include running water- rocks, dirt, water- this is jack’s fantasy. in a matter of seconds he is wet and having a glorious time. i let him play for a few minutes but inside i’m just too tired for this today.

i can feel the perspiration mustache forming over my upper lip, my t-shirt is sticking to me and we are still far from that damn bear. josiah is whizzing around me like a plane, begging me to play, jack is soaked and covered in dirt. i put jack on my back in hopes he won’t protest too much, he loves piggie back rides. of course he doesn’t hold on so i’m bending forward to keep him on. i can feel the dirt from his shoes all over my back mixing with my sweat but the bear habitat is in sight so i tell myself to endure. we get to bear and well, there is no bear. he is probably resting somewhere under a big tree enjoying some berries he found, oh i wish i was that bear, i love berries.

“awww man, no bear guys….sorry.”

“he probably went home mom…it’s okay, let’s go.”

we start heading up the hill. i say what we are all thinking. “what were we thinking?” josiah repeats me. “i know” i say in my best monica (from friends) voice. we head back up the hill that looks like freakin’ everest, jack on my back, josiah behind me.

“mom, i don’t know how much more i can take.”

“i know buddy, we can do it. you wanna tell stories to pass the time until we get to the top?”

“nah.”

oh thank god, i just don’t think i have a story in me. we get to the top.

“we did it mom, woohoo!”

“shoowph, i know, right?”

jack is walking behind us, the blue truck in sight. thank you jesus…we turn around jack is sitting in the middle of the path refusing to move. josiah takes over parenting duties, “you can do it jackie-boy, come on.” i throw in a “we believe in you” and he finally gets up and starts toward us. we climb back in the blue truck and head towards the messy haven, our home.

josiah badgers me about dinner the entire way home, jack cries because the seat belt isn’t just so.

i was hoping to be inspired by some mix of a nature and mothering experience, but i am just glad to be home wishing i was by myself, not melting and clean. i don’t even care that the house is totally trashed.

“are you grouchy mom?”

“yes. i just want to do my computer by myself.”

“oh, okay. but mom, i need a drink.”

jack is playing underneath the desk, trying to wiggle his way between my hands and the keyboard, he wants to nurse…

i’m sure when i’m old and gray, the memories of real mothering will be foggy. only recalling the sweetness of the mundane, the everyday, even the worst days at the park become treasured.

but today, i wonder where peace and quiet could be right now. i hope to meet with them soon, maybe tonight in the wee hours…

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