Today, I had a moment where I totally lost my patience with Colin.
The day started out like this…
Colin slept until 6:50, which was actually pretty awesome. He “helped” Richard and I make our “tah-chee” (coffee) while simultaneously grabbing everything breakable in sight. Richard left around 7:20, and I felt a pang of jealousy as he walked out the door. I was jealous that he was dressed up for work and heading outside into that perfect cold, crisp morning air that I love so much… and with a hot coffee in-hand, about to enjoy a solid 35 minutes of a podcast or music on his commute. My morning was some kind of blur that began with “don’t throw that car at the kitty” and ended with “do you really need to sit on the coffee table and touch the television while you watch that?” Somewhere in there, my coffee got cold (and nearly spilled 600 times), my clothes were smeared with oatmeal, and the floor was a smattering of spitty Halloween stickers that I had pulled out of Colin’s mouth.
He fell asleep for his nap quickly (win!) aaaaaaaaand woke up about an hour and a half later (which is not spectacular for him). In that hour and a half, I managed to clean up the mess downstairs, take a shower, and relax on the bed for a bit. I hadn’t gotten dressed or tried to start looking like a decent human being for our impending (and super necessary) grocery store run that would take place when he woke from his nap. I usually get a few minutes of “okay, he’s awake, but he’s content” to do that sort of thing.
He woke up crying. I sighed, lifted myself off the bed, and began perusing shirts in my closet, trying desperately to determine what would actually fit my now 34-weeks-pregnant belly. The crying got louder and more intense. He was crying so hard that he was making himself gag. I could see him on the monitor – he was fine. Not being strangled by a blanket or stuffed animal. Not sitting in a puddle of pee or vomit. No limbs caught between the bars of the crib. Just tons and tons of crying. I began to move faster. I put on the exact same thing I wore yesterday, threw my wet hair in a bun, took a quick glance of my tired and makeup-less face in the bathroom mirror, and went to go get him.
Walking toward his room, I felt angry. My relaxing day wasn’t going at all like I had planned, and the crying brought back memories of those devastatingly difficult days when Colin was only a few months old. Anxiety washed over me, and I knew that I couldn’t spend what was going to be a LONG afternoon (since he woke up early) with him being this cranky.
I walked in, turned his sound machine off, opened his curtains and blinds, and grabbed a long-sleeved shirt from his closet. Without a word, and without even really looking at him, I reached into his crib, helped him stand up, and changed his shirt. He stopped crying, but was catching his breath. Ugh. Those post-cry gasps. Another anxiety-inducing sound. I quickly carried him downstairs, grabbed keys, my backpack, and shoes for us both. And we left.
It felt all too familiar.
I can’t count the number of times I used “let’s get out of the house as quickly as possible and go for a car ride” to soothe Colin when he was small. It always works – and it gives me a chance to think about absolutely nothing except for the stretch of road in front of me. When he woke up from today’s nap, I immediately needed an escape from the please-don’t-knock-my-coffee-over clingyness and constantly grabbing things out of his mouth. I couldn’t do it today. I woke up with the urge to spend a little bit of time on myself today, and when that didn’t happen, I let it get to me. Without a destination, we drove.
We ended up at the Target in Apex, where Colin was basically an angel. Naturally, I felt guilty. He was even perfect on the drive home. We pulled up in front of our house, and Richard was home. He walked outside to greet us. As I pulled Colin out of his carseat, he noticed Richard and a giant smile appeared on his face. “Dada,” he beamed.
I pass Colin to Richard and grab Colin’s shoes. “He probably wants to go play, since he’s been in the car,” I tell Richard. He sits on the porch steps and puts Colin’s shoes on.
With an armful groceries, I watch as the two of them cross the street to go play on the green in front of our house. I smile watching Colin’s bouncy little toddler steps through the too-tall grass. He falls, picks himself right back up, and keeps walking. And here I am, standing in the street with all of these damn Target bags. My eyes well up with tears.
It’s picture-perfect. But I don’t take a picture. I just watch.
I will be more patient next time. I will smile when I open the door to his room. I will sing songs to him in the car. I will stop at the park on the way home. I will do better.
Motherhood is so hard.
And it is so beautiful.