Category Archives: Marriage

Becoming human again

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a married woman in possession of a few children must be in want of a life.

It took me 23 minutes to come up with that line, even though technically Jane Austen wrote it first and all I did was butcher it. (Sorry, Jane).

My amazing literary pun skills aside, I’m not kidding about that truth. Because we do. Oh, how we do. We want (and need) a full life.

Not that we moms don’t live for our kids. Because do. Oh, how we do. When my kids were first born, my whole world shrunk down to their exact height and weight. It’s a monumental change you go through when you have a child, physically, mentally and emotionally, and for the longest time, I couldn’t see anything past them. Everything took a backseat to them. Part of this is because you just created AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING and as such are completely mesmerized by everything they do. Even farts took on a whole new meaning. Coming from their tiny butts, it was the most adorable sound in the world.

But another part of this tunnel vision stemmed from the fact that I was terrified I couldn’t do it. That I would fail. That if I took my eyes off them for a second they would get hurt. Or sick. Or kidnapped. Or, my biggest nightmare, roughly thrown into a car trunk by a kidnapper with the flu. Suddenly, I realized that THE WHOLE WORLD IS ONE GIANT, FESTERING CAULDRON OF DISEASE POPULATED BY SERIAL KILLERS AND PERVERTS AND EVIL BABY BLANKETS THAT COULDN’T WAIT TO SMOTHER MY CHILDREN.

Eventually this passed. Mostly (I still don’t trust that baby blanket). I learned that kids are tough and resilient. That they start to gain a bit of independence. Life keeps moving on. And it was around this time that I finally looked up and, to my surprise, had trouble recognizing who I was.

I felt I was losing myself. Or at least some very vital parts of myself. Motherhood is demanding and it seemed like I no longer had time to maintain the complex person full of contradictions and passions and interests that I used to be. There was only time for diaper changes and fixing fairly large household structural problems with duct tape.

I didn’t laugh as much. I was always tired. I was always distracted. Always thinking about what had to be done. Or done next. Or done next week.

Parenting can sometimes feel like a zero-sum game. You give everything you have (and happily so) to these tiny creatures so that they can have everything. You give and give and give and you love and you love and you love. There’s also some yelling and vague threatening and an army of curse words muttered under your breath, but mostly it’s the giving and the loving.

Without a chance to replenish, without a break, however, it can soon feel like you have nothing left to give. You start to forget who you are, just slowly turning into a zombie mom robot. (Although Zombie Mom Robot would make a great title for a parenting book).

Luckily I had someone to remind me. Which is how I ended up alone in Portland a few weeks ago. With an entire hotel room to myself. Just me and a bottle of wine and an extra large pizza, which I ate on a king-sized bed while sitting in my underwear and watching “Big Bang” reruns.

And it’s how I ended up attending my wonderful friend’s beautiful wedding. Which is how I ended up doing an unhealthy amount of tequila shots, which is how I ended up doing a mortifying karaoke performance, which led to more tequila shots, which led to long conversations stuffed with every curse word known to man (or woman), which led to eating late night fried chicken; all with my long lost group of best friends, relationships that were neglected but now renewed and stronger than ever.

And it’s how I ended up running a 5K last week with another good friend. Like, an actual race, where you purposefully run fast even though nothing is chasing you. My first one ever. And I ran the whole damn thing. And a week later I still feel like Wonder Woman.

It’s how I ended up dusting off my beloved camera and taking photos again. And reading more. And writing more. And drawing my god awful stick figure art again.

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And it’s how I finally started remembering who I was.

All because my husband refused to let me forget. He kept throwing me on planes so I could travel and kept kicking me out of the house so I could pursue my own things, my own passions. Because he knows that being a complex person with a full life makes you a better parent.

He understood, even more than I did, what I needed.

And so here’s to hoping you have someone in your life who reminds you who you are when you forget. That you have someone who understands that sometimes you just need a hotel room of one’s own.

(I’m butchering all the classics today. This one only took me 12 minutes though. My apologies to Virginia Woolf).

 

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Why does Hollywood keep breaking my heart?

I don’t remember the first time it happened. I’m sure I was young though. Youth is the time when idol worship is at its peak.

But I do know that since then it has happened on a fairly regular basis and yet I never grow any wiser. No matter how many times they rip my heart out of my chest and stomp on it and then run over its tattered remains with their super quiet, super environmentally-friendly, yet still super expensive cars, I keep becoming emotionally invested in celebrity couple breakups.  

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe. Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett. Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson. Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor. Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder (a breakup so traumatic for all of us growing up in the 90’s that we’ll all be winos forever). Even my childhood heroes, Kermit and Miss Piggy, called it quits.

It never fails. They all take me by surprise (even though Hollywood’s breakup and divorce rate is approximately 104 percent) and I have to go through the five stages of celebrity breakup grief all over again.

Denial.

Anger.

Endless dissecting of the relationship with girlfriends despite the fact we know absolutely nothing about these people.

Wine.

Reluctant acceptance.

Not all celebrity couple breakups, of course. I was super relieved when Katie Holmes finally broke up with (escaped from) Tom Cruise. And ScarJo was never right for Ryan Reynolds. (Then again, neither is Blake Lively, in my not-so-humble opinion, but what’s the poor guy to do? I’m already taken). Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner both seem like annoying, just truly awful, people. As for Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston AND Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, I don’t feel bad because they’re all too good looking for me to ever feel bad for them for anything ever.

The last straw, however, was Chris Pratt and Anna Faris. This couple is the spark that started the latest dumpster fire in my broken, broken heart. I’m still in the “wine” phase of this breakup and may be for the foreseeable future. They were so perfect together. And happy. And oh, WHY, GOD, WHY? DOES YOUR CRUELTY KNOW NO BOUNDS? Where the hell is that wine bottle?

Just what is it about certain celebrity couple breakups that bother me so much? Specifically the ones involving famous people who ALMOST seem like the rest of us mere mortals, like Pratt and Faris?

Because it’s not that I worry that, well, if those two crazy gorgeous kids can’t make it work than who can? I’m very happy in my own marriage. I think my husband is sexy and an amazing father and wicked talented and I make it a point to try and touch his butt every single day. Vice versa, he makes me feel like I’m smart and confident and talented and really, really good looking, even when I’m sporting both little green Army men and chunks of chicken nuggets in my hair. And even if things did start to go south, we’re both too lazy to initiate a divorce, let alone go through with one.

No, I think what bothers me is that, like most delusional Americans, I am certain that I will be rich someday. Which I will do by writing bestselling books (speaking of delusional). You know, once I actually sit down and write them instead of sitting down and writing about how I will write them one day (or, my other favorite writing exercise, getting drunk and telling anyone who will listen how I will write them).

And when I do become rich, it seems inevitable that my marriage will fall apart. Super rich people SUCK at marriage. Famous people even more so. Super rich and famous people, like I completely intend to be, suck the hardest of all.

So, when I become a disgustingly rich and famous author, I mean, it’s basically like aiming a bazooka at my marriage license.

Sigh. I guess I’ll have to settle for only being a mildly rich and famous author. You know, where I own a yacht but not an entire island.  

Oh, the sacrifices we mere mortals make for love.

36 Things I’ve Learned in 36 Years

  1. Life is too short to waste time matching socks.
  2. Small children are the funniest people on the planet.
  3. Humidity is dumb.
  4. The best thing you can save up your money for is a family vacation. I don’t remember what gifts I got for my birthday three years ago or what I had for breakfast yesterday or even where I set down my youngest child just now, but I remember every vacation since childhood with startling clarity.
  5. Embrace your inner nerd.
  6. A good bra changes EVERYTHING.
  7. Yelling at your kid to stop yelling is pretty ineffectual.
  8. The cheap water tastes exactly the same as the expensive fancy water.
  9. Humans are complicated. Stop expecting everything to be in black and white.
  10. Sit down for family meals as often as you can.
  11. Never waste more than 10 seconds cringing over an awkward social interaction. Deep down we’re all hot messes who still can’t remember your name even though you’ve told us three times already.
  12. I literally have no opinion about coconut oil. I feel the world would be a better place if more people followed my example.
  13. If other parents are judging you because your kid is misbehaving in public and their kid never does, just remember that their kid is probably going to grow up to be a serial killer.
  14. BACK. UP. YOUR. PHOTOS. Then back them up again. Then print them out and put them in a photo album. Then seal that album up in a climate-controlled, fire-proof, nuclear fallout safe room deep in the heart of a mountain.
  15. Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts or how much you dread it or how wrong it seems, you just have to bite the bullet and do what’s best for your family and sign your toddler up for soccer.
  16. Cursing is awesome. That’s why kids can’t wait to grow up. So they can finally curse.
  17. Never ask a man for his chili recipe.
  18. Never ask a woman to do the dishes on chili night.
  19. Why do so many people have so many strong opinions about what drinks other people order at Starbucks? I know technically this isn’t some piece of wisdom I’m sharing but I genuinely want to know.
  20. Teach your kids the proper names. It’s “penis” and “vagina.” They’re just body parts. No one refers to arms as “hoo-ha’s” and legs as “run sticks.”
  21. Rejection and failure aren’t an end but a beginning. No great story starts with “they were born and then they immediately succeeded.”
  22. It’s okay to have a cupcake for breakfast. It’s basically a muffin with a better wardrobe.
  23. Children have bad days too.
  24. Don’t ask your friends to spend a small fortune celebrating your birthday.
  25. Please stop telling pregnant women every horrific birthing story you’ve ever heard. They’re stressed out enough.
  26. The average ninja knows over a hundred ways to kill you. The average baby knows over a thousand ways to kill themselves.
  27. Teach your kids how to execute a proper high-five. Because approximately one out of every three strangers they encounter will want to high-five them.
  28. If you’re on a date and they order their steak “well done,” RUN.
  29. Home is where the giant pile of never-ending laundry is.
  30. The best way to calm a child during a tantrum is to not have children.
  31. Climbing trees is still fun.
  32. Try to remember when you’re freaking out because you haven’t started saving for retirement yet that all the stress will probably kill you before you even get a chance to retire.
  33. Marriage is 10 percent unconditional love and 90 percent trying to figure out what to eat for dinner.
  34. Support people’s dreams. Unless their dreams are dumb. Then just shut up and politely nod as they explain the confusing plot of their as-yet-unwritten fantasy novel.
  35. Potty training is a war. You need a good strategy. There are no winners.
  36. “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

Requiem for a nap

It was all planned out. A perfect Friday. A beautiful summer day. A much-needed antidote to the stress and chaos of the four previous days. All I needed to do was stick to the plan and we would slide easily into the weekend.

Just stick to the plan.

Wake up. Breakfast. Episode of “Sesame Street” to hypnotize the kids so I can squeeze in a luxurious three-minute shower. Wrestle horribly designed tiny shoes on two pairs of tiny squiggly feet. Then a leisurely walk to the playground followed by a walk to the local bakery for some giant cookies. It is Friday, after all. Take the long way back. Wear ‘em out.

It’s all part of the plan.

Home. Impromptu dance party. Lunch, which no one will eat because of the giant cookies but who cares? It’s Friday. We’re so close to the end. To the weekend. To having Daddy’s help with the tantrums and the diaper changes and the baths and the “what did you swallow?”

Story time. Just two books. OK, fine, three. Sigh, alright, four but that’s it. I mean it. Potty break. Five minutes of chasing naked toddler around to put his underwear back on. Time for your nap. Twelve minute of dealing with the pre-nap meltdown. Three minutes in the corner for hitting his baby sister. Four minutes soothing said hit baby.

Nap. Time.

Now.

Get in bed.

Three songs. OK, four. Five, but I mean it. That’s it.

Brief discussion of why the sky is blue. Even briefer discussion about how cool trains are.

Hug. Kiss. Love you. Night-night.

One down, one to go.

Change diaper. Heat up bottle. Sit down in rocker. Insert bottle. Realize urgent need to pee. Lay baby on floor with bottle. Go pee to the glorious symphonic sounds of abandoned baby screaming. Pick her back up. Sit in the rocker. Insert bottle. Relax. Realize TV remote is across the room. Get it. Sit back down in the rocker. Hear older kid yelling for Mommy. Get up.

What, sweetie?

I get up now?

No.

Close door.

Sit back down in the rocker. Where’s the remote? It was just here. Sigh.

Just get her to sleep. A vital part of the plan. Long afternoon nap for the two of them. When they wake up, pop in a movie. Order dinner. Maybe open a wine? I mean, it IS Friday. Then BOOM, Daddy is home and I get some relief.

Bottle halfway gone. Any minute now she should be closing her eyes. Start singing lullaby. Three-fourths gone. Eyes wide open. No need to worry. She’ll fall asleep before it’s gone. She has to.

It’s all part of the plan.

All gone. She’s giggling now. Struggling to get up out of my arms. No worries. Adjust the plan a bit. Twenty minutes of play and she’ll be out like a light.

OK, 45 minutes.

An hour.

Maybe try laying her down in the crib.

Seventeen minutes of impossibly loud dying pterodactyl screams. Pick her back up before she wakes her brother. At least all that screaming probably wore her out.

Nope.

This wasn’t part of the plan.

Thirty more minutes of singing, swaying, silently praying. She finally passes out. Ten blissful minutes go by. I close my eyes. And immediately hear her brother wake up. Sigh. Get up. Put her in the crib. Watch in horror as her eyes pop open and she starts wailing like a banshee. Pick her back up. Get the toddler up. Note he’s super grumpy.

Terrific.

Try plying both whining kids with crackers. Realize the dog hasn’t been outside to go potty yet. Try putting down baby who is clinging to me like I’m the last life boat on the Titanic. Give up. Comically try to balance dog, baby and poop bag. Go back inside. Pop in a movie. No, Mommy, not that one. Pop in a different movie. Order food. They’re slammed right now. It’ll be an hour and half.

Wonderful.

Say screw it. Open wine. Pick up sobbing puddle of baby gravy at my feet. Get text from husband. He’s running late. Traffic is awful. Be home as soon as he can.

Allow 45-second pity party in head. Then get toddler his juice.

Go to take sip of wine. MOMMY! She’s grabbing my cars!

I thought you wanted to watch this movie.

No, I want to play with my cars.

Grab baby. Soothe now crying car-less baby. Repeat for what feels like forever.

Food arrives. Feed kids. Steal a fry while looking longingly at your own neglected sandwich. Get more ketchup. Get more juice. Get more baby food. Get more napkins. Look longingly at still full wine glass. Clean up kids.

Play chase. Kiss boo boo.

Daddy’s home!

Chaos ensues.

How was your day?

The usual. Offer tired smile.

I love you.

Love you too.

I love you, too, Mommy!

Baby giggles.

Sigh. Let the stress drain away.

And hey, at least it’s the weekend, sweetie!

Yes. We made it.

Despite the plan.

 

The Seven Year Glitch

It was our seventh wedding anniversary. Which is the baby wipe anniversary, I believe. Or perhaps the Swiffer anniversary. Either way, we had no money for gifts after Googling local preschool prices. But it didn’t matter. The sun was shining. I was wearing a skirt AND non-pregnancy underwear. And my mother-in-law was in town, happily volunteering to watch our adorable spawn so we could drink wine at a restaurant while not simultaneously dodging baby head-butts for once.

It was just what two stressed-out parents of small children needed.

So, naturally, we spent most of the day in the emergency room.

What happened, you ask? Good question. I still don’t know. But to sum up, I felt like I was dying for 45 minutes and then felt completely fine. After an exam and some tests and an ultrasound, it was discovered that I had a very serious case of absolutely nothing being wrong with me. My official diagnosis was “um…your gallbladder, maybe?” followed by that shoulder shrug emoji.

It was just what two stressed-out parents of small children didn’t need. Instead of a nice dinner and adult cocktails not served in a sippy cup and a clumsy make-out session in the driveway, we have an unnecessary medical bill heading our way.

Love. Ain’t it grand?

But that’s what marriage looks like after seven years and two kids and one aging dog. Reality has replaced all the dopamine. You don’t generally have time to be all lovey-dovey. Or hell, even lovey at this point. We’re lucky if we have a free hand to occasionally high-five one another.

So, you have to show your love in other ways.

It’s saying “hey, I’ll clean up the dog vomit.”

It’s saying “make sure you eat something.”

It’s saying “I duct-taped that one part of the dishwasher so it won’t make the high-pitched noise that you hate anymore.”

It’s hearing the baby cry in the middle of the night, AGAIN, followed by hearing “go back to sleep, I got her.”

It’s hearing your partner use every curse word ever invented as they try to get said baby back to sleep and yet not judging them.

It’s hearing those three most beautiful words in the English language, “take a nap.”

It’s hearing the blissful laughter of small children who are being thoroughly entertained and distracted by another adult so you can spend six and a half minutes alone in the bathroom.

It’s making a big breakfast every morning even though you’re exhausted because it’s likely the only meal the two of you will get to eat together.

It’s the arms from out of nowhere that hug you from behind while you’re standing at the kitchen sink stress-eating cheese.

It’s laughing off the fact the other person tried to karate chop your face when you hugged them from behind because it startled them because it’s been so long since you two were able to touch in a manner that didn’t include passing a small child back and forth.

It’s coming home with a bottle of wine when you know they’ve had a bad day.

It’s coming home with a handle of Captain Morgan when you know they’ve had a bad week.

It’s springing for the extra pizza topping even though money is tight because they deserve sausage AND pepperoni, dammit.

It’s saving the last doughnut for them but they’re saving the last doughnut for you so said doughnut just sits there until it becomes inedible and you finally throw way the glazed petrified disk five days later.

It’s refraining from watching the next episode of “West World” for nine days straight because the other one is too tired to make it through an entire hour-long show once the kids are asleep.

It’s chugging coffee at 7:30 p.m. so you can finally make it through an episode of “West World” because the other one has been so patient for the past nine days.

It’s having inside jokes, which are made only funnier because you’re both suffering from extreme sleep deprivation.

It’s giving them a firm, even stern, pep talk when they dare to start to doubt themselves.

It’s carrying around two kids all day and carrying an old dog up and down the stairs and still wanting to hear about their day no matter how tired you are.

It’s going to work all day and carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and still wanting to hear all about how the baby almost crawled today.

It’s knowing that this is one of the hardest yet best times in both your lives. Which is why you rush home from work in a panic when your loved one calls and says “I think I need to go the emergency room.” And why, when you are curled up in the fetal position on the stupid floor, writhing in mysterious pain, your only thought is that you can’t die because you love all these people too much.

Happy anniversary, Ryan. I love you. And the best gift I can give you after all these years is to let you know I wouldn’t change a thing.

Also, we’re out of baby wipes.

 

Confessions of “Threenage” Drama King

He’s moody. He’s disrespectful. He hates everything I do.

Yup, my little boy is growing up. I can’t believe he’s a teenager already.

Oh wait. Sorry. That was a typo. I meant to type threenager.

He’s three.

THREE.

I always thought people were exaggerating when they talked about the Terrible Twos. My angel was just that when he was two. An angel. He was sweet. Polite, even. And, oh, how he loved me. Every day was an emoji shower of hearts and googly eyes with this kid. He loved his Momma.

LOVED.

Me and my stretch marks I got from giving him life were firmly entrenched on that pedestal. And I loved it there.

LOVED IT.

So, of course, these same people had to be exaggerating about when their kids turned three. They just had to be.

They weren’t.

Not at all.

AT ALL.

My angel has fallen. Only now I’m apparently Satan.

Because no matter how many tantrums he has, no matter how many times he screams directly into my face, and no matter how many toys he hurls at my head, I’m always the bad guy these days. I am mean Mommy. A mean Mommy who yells for no apparent toddler reason. And only a mean Mommy wouldn’t let him jump off the back of the couch onto the cold, hard floor or hurl a heavy wooden toy car at his baby sister’s still somewhat soft skull.

I know he’s manipulating me. I’m just surprised it’s working so well.

And, oh, how it’s working. So incredibly well. Because he’s hitting below the belt, right straight into my uterus, by making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he now prefers Daddy to mean ‘ol Mommy.

Now, since having kids, I’ve tried to be the mature one, no matter how much it goes against my basic personality. When my son calls me a stupid poop face, do I respond with “at least I can wipe my own butt!”? No. Except for that one time. Because I’m the grown-up now.

So as much as I want to respond with this new development in the family dynamic by setting fire to all his stupid toys and slashing his security blanket with a knife, I can’t.

Because I’m the…sigh…grown-up now.

But it’s slowly killing me.

KILLING ME.

As the mom, and as the primary caretaker, you get used to a certain level of favoritism. In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s our payment for all we do in lieu of actual money. Daddy got laid and I got 10 months (IT’S ACTUALLY 10 MONTHS) of discomfort and extreme farting, followed by a scalpel to my gut and shredded nipples and weird-smelling yellow poop in my hair. Followed by 3 a.m. feedings and hours of theatrical Dr. Seuss readings and cleaning up spills roughly every 23 minutes.

So, yeah, I get to be the favorite parent.

Except now I’m not. And again, I’m trying to be the mature one but IT’S NOT FAIR. *throws nursing bra against the wall*

Daddy is indeed great. That’s why I married him, in fact. He’s wonderful. But Daddy gets to leave and go to work.

So, by the very nature of our parenting arrangement, he always gets to be the fresh parent. The one who hasn’t had to say “stop it” 1,987 times or play “This Parent Is My Jungle Gym” for nine hours straight.

And trust me when I say I’m so happy I have a partner who works at a highly demanding job all day and can come home exhausted and yet still swoop up both kids immediately before he’s even had a chance to put down his computer bag (making sure to pet our dog in the chaos to boot). He’s a very hands-on parent and the kids love it. And the stupid dog loves it. And, of course, I love it.

Except I’m starting to hate it.

Because that’s the thing. Daddy always gets to be the hero. And I am the swamp demon who hasn’t showered and won’t let them eat cupcakes for breakfast.

But I guess it’s only fair that Daddy now gets his day in the sun. He deserves it and I selfishly hogged my son’s favoritism for almost three years.

But, still, it stings a bit.

At least until I remember I’m still his baby sister’s favorite.

Mama said there’ll be days like this

Now before I say what I’m getting ready to say, let me say first that I realize I am hardly the first person to ever say this. Thousands, or hell, probably even millions of other people have not only said this, but said it much more eloquently and with far less booger jokes than I ever could. But after the week I had, I feel one more time is absolutely necessary. So, here it goes.

This stage of life is hard.

Oh, so hard.

Not that all stages of life don’t have their hard parts. They do. I remember the hard days possibly even more clearly than the not-hard-days of my carefree childhood. Because even in the happiest of childhoods, there are still monsters under the bed and playground bullies and a big, big scary world to navigate while only having a waist-high view of the big picture.

But this particular stage…oof. It can feel like a battle. A battle that you aren’t even trying to win anymore but just trying to summon up the will to show up for day in and day out.

War may be hell but raising small children is setting up permanent residence there.

OK, OK, yeah, that one went too far. Sorry. I love my life and my children and could not have engineered a more picturesque family life if I tried. Most days I look around and can’t believe my incredible luck that I get to be surrounded daily by the most amazing people to ever walk this planet.

I’m just so tired, you guys. Oh, so tired. And no matter how great your life is, there are bound to be bad days. And sometimes those bad days stretch out for an entire week. And all this week I’ve been dealing with a sick baby and a sick toddler and a partially incapacitated husband who was trying his best but was also sick and still trying to do his job and work on a freelance project in his spare time. To top it all off, my stupid dog is getting old and was diagnosed with a heart murmur and arthritis and I love my stupid dog so much and if anything ever happened to him I would DIE.

Again, sorry. As you can tell, I tend to get dramatic when I’m tired. No, YOU need to tone it down, missy!

There were doctor appointments and vet appointments and a million miles walked around the house in the middle of the night trying to soothe a miserable infant. There were too many tantrums to count and too many meals that had to be made and too many arguments about stupid, little things and too many loads of laundry and dishes and too many boogers being wiped on my jeans (fine, mustard-stained sweatpants).

There were just too many tiny creatures needing tender, loving care and not enough of me to go around.

And it all culminated on Friday afternoon when I had to pick the dog up from the vet but since we only have the one car, I had to walk there with one kid strapped to my chest and pushing the other one in the stroller. The dog was straining with all his might against the leash and the baby was crying again and I was unsuccessfully trying to steer the stroller with one hand and the diaper bag weighed a million pounds and my back was aching from the dog’s constant pulling and then the dog zigged when I zagged and I dropped the leash and he took off running and it was the ultimate nightmare scenario. I’m trying to chase him beside the incredibly busy road while also trying not to jostle my 4-month-old too much or tipping over my toddler in the stroller. Meanwhile, visions of my stupid dog as bloody roadkill kept flashing before my eyes.

Long story short, I finally do catch the dog. And then I just stand there. And cry.

And cry and cry and cry.

Cars zooming past, baby still crying, dog still straining, toddler asking repeatedly “what’s wrong, Momma?”

And yet, all I can do is stand there and cry.

So, why do I bother sharing this horrible moment in my life? Simply to remind those of you who are in a similar boat, who are juggling kids and stupid, beloved pets and jobs and obligations and deadlines and aging parents and house buying and internal demons and external hazards and an aching back and a budget that never seems to stretch enough while in the background a steady hum of news reports declaring the end of the world is nigh plays continuously, that you are not alone.

This part is hard. But you showed up for today. You may or may not be wearing pants, but hey, you showed up. Better yet, you managed to sneak in some snuggles and a game of tickle monster and an almost coherent conversation about dinosaurs riding in rocket ships.

We’re going to get through this. Just like how I eventually wiped away my tears and continued on my way home, we’ll all eventually dust ourselves off and keep going.

And in the meantime, let’s all take a moment to breathe deep and look around and soak it in. Because one day all the noise will stop. All the chaos will stop. All the craziness will stop. And we’re going to miss it. You know we will. And we will wonder what we were ever complaining about in the first place.