I have just wrapped up night 21 of 22 consecutive days without my husband/partner/best friend/children's father. This is the longest we've been separated since before our first daughter was born. Juniper, Hazel and I became a tight little pack of women, moving through our days with purpose, thinking three steps ahead, prioritizing every minute. 48 hours ago, we returned from a week and a half stint at grandma's house. We came home to a filthy house, laundry piled on the couch, stinky garbage, mouse poo in the stroller, 150 head of over-ripe garlic, more squash, loads of green beans ready for harvest, a grouchy toddler lonely for her daddy...everybody, everything, needing me RIGHT NOW. Round trip, we had made it through 4 airplane flights, 6 hours of driving and 5 hours of layovers without a scratch, but once home, we collapsed. Our little pack blew apart and sent us flying every direction.^Juniper painted on the wall then dumped her paint-water on the table.^
Today, Hazel was teething and tired and wouldn't nap without me. Juniper was whining for things I didn't want her to have, fighting against everything I wanted her to take/eat/wear/do. I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted to get in my car and come back in two days. I considered checking us all into a hotel in a different town so I wouldn't have to be home, not yet. I called my husband, to admonish him to COME HOME, even though he's still several states away.
^Hazel and the first two-thirds of our garlic harvest.^
But I'm a mama and we rally. Hazel nursed. Juniper found a toy. My husband and I talked. Our broken little pack napped: Juniper in her room, Hazel and I in mine. I swirled through dinner prep, alternately browning antelope burger and donning a twirly-girl skirt Juniper insisted I wear so we could twirl and ride the merry-go-round (a.k.a my suitcase). No matter how much shit has to get done, I cannot pass up an invitation to twirl.
tête-à-tête, the dark orbs of her eyes boring into mine. A smile creeped across her face. She started to whisper something--probably about merry-go-rounds or white horses or red trains or the beach--but I shushed her and she nestled into me. If I moved just a little she'd whisper, "No mama, you wanna snuggle me more?" And it was then that I realized in these intense days of raising young children, when every cell of your body is immersed in motherhood, the same days that deliver the lowest of low points also deliver the highest of highs.
:: Up next: Grandma's house.