“Savor every moment.”
“It goes by so fast.”
Every time I hear this advice, heat builds up at the base of my brain until flames shoot out my eyeballs and incinerate the well-meaning woman in front of me. In my mind. Just in the shriveled, Raisinet of a mommy brain that I have left after all the rounds of Candyland.
Mom of Older Children, I soak up your wisdom and hang on your every word. Your perspective on the marathon that is parenting is what’s holding me together most days. I cling to your legs as my small children cling to mine. I need you so much. Keep up the advice and encouragement.
And also, please stop telling me to savor every moment and it goes by so fast. Because it makes me want to hurt you a little.
When every minute feels like the longest moment of my life and the clock has ceased moving as we play round after round of Hi-Ho Cherry-o, I do not believe you. I want to get the hi-ho heck out of Toddler Town.
Here’s the cutest little video of my daughter playing a game. Sooooo adorbs. And. It’s ONE TURN of ONE ROUND of ONE GAME. This represents one minute of my life. And I’m supposed to keep up this level of savoring all day for the Freak of Forever.
For realsies, we were playing Sequence for Kids, my favorite of all the never-ending games, and it makes me want to kill myself the least.
I spend all day every day practicing my calm. As the kids go completely bonkers and pull out all the stops to get me to lose it on them, I squeeze my very large-sized personality into a tiny Ziplock baggie and lock it down, refusing to enter their crazy.
I say ridiculous things like,
“Use good words and respect,”
“Let’s try that again with a happy heart,” and
“I hope you choose obedience.”
I patiently allow my daughter to try all thirty-six different places the sparkly princess puzzle piece could go without ripping it from her little hand and screaming, “IT’S A CORNER PIECE! A FLIPPING CORNER PIECE! THERE ARE FOUR OF THEM! THE OTHER THREE ARE ALREADY IN PLACE! NO MORE PUZZLES FOR YOU!” Instead, I wait six minutes for her to do the work to find the spot and then I gently encourage her with my gentleness. So gently.
I carefully tuck away my true identity, Impatient Sarcasm Girl Who Will Flip Out On You. But it has to come out somewhere.
Poor My Husband. He works from home, in my cess pool of tamped emotion. He glues the cracks in my facade. His finger is stuffed in my psychological dam. Throughout the day, I apparate into his office, bang my head on his belly and moan.
Some days my eye twitches with:
“The music is too loud,”
“Now it’s too soft,”
“Now I’m hot,”
“She’s hitting me with her backpack,”
“He’s looking at me,”
“Make him quit looking at me,”
“She’s doing it on purpose,”
“On purpose” kind of van rides.
But you know this, wise Mom of Older Children. And yet you still tell me it’s going to be over really fast. You must be right, because you’ve been here and you know, but I can’t see it right now. My eyes are busy shooting laser beams at your knowing smile.
A friend recently suggested that I need an epidural for adoption, and I’d like to add that I need an epidural for the age of three. I am Over It, and if one more person counsels me to enjoy every minute because the time goes fast, I Will Flip Out On You.
Consider yourself warned.
I know that someday when my kids are in high school and we’re dealing with Big Life Issues and all the drama, I will look back on these years of tantrums with nostalgia, but now is not that time. Right now I’ve just heard “Mommy why” 157 times in a row and I’m having an out of body experience that looks like when the camera does that rotation thing in The Matrix.
Someday, when my pimpled, pubescent kids grunt in my general direction and their eyeballs roll so high in their heads that I tell them to watch out or they’ll freeze that way, I’ll look back on these moments, nay millennia, and I’ll remember the endless hours of bedtime stories and how they wanted more and more and more of me. I’ll savor that.
I’ll savor the crap out of that.
But right now, I just can’t savor every moment. There are times when I actually have to take my kids out in public, and the whining, screaming, flailing, and buckets of tears pour out of them as if I’ve had them chained in a basement and they’ve never seen food before. Someday, I’ll be able to run an errand without everyone in the store staring at me.
I blame Hello Kitty. That cat gets around. She’s on everything, so no matter where we shop, she’s there enticing my daughter with her vacant eyes and ginormous hair bow.
“I NEED THE HELLO KITTY SHOES!”
I want to crush her between my shaking, unmanicured fingers.
When you tell me to savor every moment and it goes by so fast, I freak out a little that this is as good as it gets. In ten years when my daughter is trying to walk out of the house in booty shorts and a tube top will I long for the days of Hello Kitty tantrums in the ____aisle of the ____store?
When you tell me to savor every moment and it goes by so fast, I swallow my saliva ball of panic-induced rage and nod and hmm-mmm in agreement. And I die a little inside. There’s death. I must be crappier than I thought if I’m not savoring this moment of domestic bliss. Why am I not savoring? And in my head while I’m shooting you up with laser beams I’m berating myself for the lack of savoring. Good moms savor. I should savor more.
Mom of Older Children, be patient with me. I love and adore you. Please full frontal hug me. I might not let go for awhile, and if I crush you a little and it gets a bit too sweaty and creepy, maybe stroke my hair for a sec and I’ll pull myself together.
And when I say something completely naive about having teenagers, please lie to me. I don’t need to know yet. Jussssst liiiiiiie.
“The truth? You can’t handle the truth.” You’re so right, Jack. I cannot.
If you’re a Mom of Older Children, what are some ways you survived the preschool years? Tell us younger kid moms some funny stories about things that seemed horrible then but now you have blackmail photos to show the prom dates. We are desperate for encouragement and need you to tell us that we’ll survive this.
Hey, Mom of Younger Children, you are intrepid. Keep up the good fight. You can sing a duet of the Bob the Builder theme song while making an appointment at the pediatrician’s with a 30-pound kid dangling from your neck. And your Zingo game is fierce.
images from my iPhone and pathogenomics.bham.ac.uk