At night when I mop the kitchen floor, I like to blog in my head. I have some conversations with myself that go beyond "and mama's a girl? and daddy's a boy? and Will's a boy? and Molly's a girl?" or "MA-ma, MA-ma, duhn. duhn.". I write blog posts about my testimony, about feminism, about modesty and teaching my daughters and sons what I believe. I write blog posts on hot issues like abortion and same sex marriage and vaccinations. I write blog posts that are whiney, pointed, lecturing, happy, excited, and self-critical. I like to imagine I am having debates the likes of which I haven't participated in since high school and college english and writing courses. I enjoy this time. I've always enjoyed writing. I've always enjoyed working out my emotions and views via debate. It is a wonderful outlet. Then I finish mopping the floor, I put the rug back and the chairs in place. I grab a handful of items to take upstairs with me to return to their rightful place. I pull out my contacts and scan through my favorite social media spaces, and then I fall asleep in such an exhausted fashion that those grand thoughts can't even stick long enough to imprint before I'm waking up to another day. Another day filled with so many things that I do blog about--that I never actually blog about the thoughts I think while mopping.
Today is yet another one of those days. It's 11:14pm and it took me three hours to get our three month old to sleep. Another hour to mop up all the rice our one year old spread across our floor because he suddenly thinks he's a big kid and wants to sit at the table with the rest of us. As his mother, I firmly believe in listening to the persuasions of his big brown eyes and letting him. So, I mop the kitchen floor another night, lest the Miami ants come out of hiding and reign in our kitchen again. I had a lot of grand thoughts while mopping, like I normally do. I feel like dropping into an exhausted slumber, like I normally do. Lets be realistic--but I want to relate something real quick. Something that struck me quite perfectly today.
I called my mom this afternoon, per Ruthie's request. Ruthie chatted away with grandma for quite some time when my mom decided to Skype. Ruth was in heaven and I was happy my mom got to see my three kids for a little bit. Ruth's attention span is only so long, so eventually it was just my mom and I skyping. I'll preface this with the fact that my parents are big believers in the 'cleave unto your spouse' logic and I've never really shared personal marriage-related topics with my mother. Not that I couldn't, it just hasn't happened. But the subject came up and I found myself jokingly relating to my mother that Sterling and I had had an argument the day before. She responded that she wished she could tell me it got easier, but it doesn't. We both laughed it away and I said that I knew it happened because we were both overtired.
*Sterling is in med school. He has three kids. Enough said. I had one of those weeks-toilet overflowing, no landlord responding, changing sheets every morning from blow out diapers (or children taking off their diapers), scrubbing car seats from a pee accident, scrubbing carpets from same child taking off their diaper while NOT in bed, scrubbing up vomit TWICE from the, still, SAME child sticking things in their mouth, a broken straightener that decided to singe a complete bald spot in the front of my head before I realized it was broken....trust me, that horrendous list could go on. It's been a week and I found myself one night cleaning bathrooms at 11:30 at night. Not to mention our kids have decided to be terrible sleepers, the baby is still fussy every evening for several hours, and my kids still wake up at 6am on the dot. Now back to the reason we are having this side note:
The funny thing about that statement is that it's so easy to say in retrospect. "We were both overtired." We were. I was literally a walking zombie by the time Sunday rolled around and I'm sure Sterling felt the same. But I wasn't thinking about that on Sunday morning. I was thinking about the disasters and the messes and the broken straightener and the fact that we couldn't seem to get it together. Which is why an argument ensued. (Please don't ever tell me you've never had an argument in your marriage. Also, please don't think this is a marriage-threatening thing in my marriage.) And to be honest, it was a pretty grand argument.
Now, I didn't say this to my mom. I didn't say any of it. I really just made a passing mention and laughed it off. But my mom made one quick comment before the conversation moved on. She asked me, "Have you baked him a cake for tonight?" Uh...no, mom. No, in fact, I have not. It did not even occur to me, nor do I think it's really necessary.
But it stuck. It stuck pretty hard. Sterling doesn't really love cake. Plus I had a homemade pie crust in the freezer and a big bag of apples in the fridge from Sam's Club, and I knew Sterling would appreciate a pie a LOT more than a cake. So I decided to make Sterling a pie.
Then reality struck. A fussy baby who wanted to be held. Two toddlers who were both trying to help SO much with dinner that things were getting more 'un'done than done. Two diaper changes. A potty break. A nursing session. Another phone call to my mother because I've suddenly forgotten everything I might once have known about stir fry. (Stir fry. My brain!) Sterling walks in the door before the pie was even started. The crust was thawing on the counter. With the kids. And the beginnings of dinner.
He walked in and he cut apples. He peeled apples. He set the table and sat the kids down. We had a fairly decent dinner and afterwards we had a delicious apple pie. He thanked me for it. The compliment felt really great and the pie tasted divine.
Then Sterling looked up from his pie and said "You know, you can talk to your mom about our problems any time. Ya know, if you ever need to."
And that's when you know your mom has handed you a life long gem.