My husband came home today and saw me sitting on the couch, toddler on one knee, and baby nursing on the opposite breast. I was trying to turn the pages of a book with the hand not attached to the infant, while listening for the sound of the stove buzzer, which would indicate that tonight's pork chops were at the stage between "well-done" and "the dog gets tonight's entree."
My husband looked at me innocently, and asked, "So, did you do anything today?"
It's a good thing that most of my appendages were otherwise engaged, as I was unable to jump up and throttle him to death. This was probably for the best, as I assume that asking a stupid question is not grounds for murder in this country.
Let me back up a bit, and explain what led me to this point in my life.
I was not always bordering on the brink of insanity. On the contrary, a mere four years ago, I had a good job, steady income, and a vehicle that could NOT seat a professional sports team, and me, comfortably. I watched television shows that were not hosted by singing puppets. I went to bed later than nine o'clock at night. I preferred sex to sleeping in. I laughed at those people who drove halfway across the country hauling a tent trailer, three screaming kids, a drooling dog, and called it a holiday. Now I have become one of them.
What happened? The stick turned blue. I have traded in my Victoria's Secrets lingerie for cotton briefs and a firm support nursing bra. Good-bye, Garth Brooks. Hello, Sharon, Lois and Bram. My idea of privacy is getting to use the bathroom without a two-year old banging on the door, and the baby spinning the toilet paper roll from my lap. And I finally understand that the term "Stay At Home Mom" does not refer to a parent who no longer works outside the house, but rather to one who never seems to get out the front door. So here I sit children in hand, wondering how to answer my beloved husband. DID I DO ANYTHING TODAY!
Well, I think I did, although not much seems to have gotten accomplished.
I shared breakfast in bed with a handsome young man. Of course, the breakfast consisted of a bowl of porridge and leftover cookie crumbs found between the sheets. The handsome young man is about thirty-four inches tall and only gets really excited at the sight of purple dinosaurs, toy trucks and French fries.
I got to take a relaxing stroll in the woods. Of course I was on the lookout for frogs and lizards, and had to stop to smell the dandelions along the way.
I successfully washed one load of laundry, moved the load that was in the washer into the dryer, and the dryer load into the basket. The load that was in the basket is now spread out on the bed, awaiting my bedtime decision to actually put the clothes away or merely move them to the top of the dresser.
I read two or three classics. Out loud. Of course, Dickens or Shakespeare cannot take credit for these works, as we have moved on to the works of Seuss and Munsch. I don't think I will be making any trips to the Adult Section of my local library anytime soon. In between, I dusted, wiped, organized and rearranged. I kissed away the owies and washed away the tears. I scolded, praised, hugged and tested my patience, all before noon.
DID I DO ANYTHING TODAY?
I now understand what people mean when they say that parenthood is the hardest job they will ever have. In my LBD (life before diapers) I was able to teach young minds how to divide fractions and write complex sentences, but I am unable of teaching a strong-willed two-year-old how to use the toilet.
I was once able to navigate urban streets while talking on the car phone and looking for a decent radio station, but now I can't get the wheels on my stroller to all go in the same direction. I've graduated from university, written newspaper articles, and won awards, but I can't figure out how to get carrot stains out of the carpet. I used to debate with my friends about politics, but now we discuss the merits of cloth versus disposable. And when did I stop talking in sentences that had more than five words? So in response to my husband's inquiry, yes, I did do something today.
In fact, I am one step closer to one of life's greatest accomplishments. No, I did not cure AIDS or forge World Peace, but I did hold a miracle in my arms.
Two, in fact. My children are my great accomplishment, and the opportunity to raise them in my greatest challenge. I don't know if my children will grow up to be great leaders or world-class brain surgeons. Frankly, I don't care, as long as they grow up to be happy and fulfilled. They are my greatest joys, even though I sometimes cry myself to sleep at night in frustration.
The point is, that today I got to watch my children take another step on the great journey of Life, and I even got to point out some of the sites along the way. As challenging as parenthood is, it is also equally rewarding, because we are using all our wisdom, our talent and skills to help forge a new person. It is this person, these people, who in turn will use their gifts to create our future. So every nursery rhyme I recite, every swing I push, every little hand I hold is Something.
And I did it today.