9to5to9: Stress, thy name is woman
In between wails -- his and mine -- I worked frantically on invitations, centerpieces and menu plans for his christening.
"Don't worry!" a mom assured me. "Soon he'll be old to watch TV and you can do whatever you want again."
Oh, he's old enough to watch TV now and I stress about every single second he spends parked in front of it.
Some days, it's way too many seconds -- those are the times when I have to call a halt to Mommy Fun and tackle the dishes that still pile and the laundry lava. Others it's barely on -- days when we head straight to the park for an after-school romp or walk to feed the ducks and have ice cream.
The cost of the former is cranky kids and grumpy mom amped up on French Roast and barking in a rush to get it done. The cost of the latter is a mess that mounts exponentially by the minute, compounding my stress levels by a like amount.
Not that everything ever gets done either way, which is why a pirate ship and Noah's Ark still are battling it out in the middle of the living room floor. Theological implications aside, I'm tired to tripping over toys.
The homework load climbs every week, though the complaining has lessened so there's actually been a net decrease in time. But tonight's project involved decorating a giant construction-paper turkey feather for display in the class, and that created a whole new level of chaos.
Big Guy wanted to paint his -- with tempera, not watercolors. At least I found tempera without egg, but oh my God, the smell. And the mess, particularly from Little Guy's "gotta do my homeworks, too" corner of the table.
"Do whatever you want again"? What in the world was she talking about?
I took a medium breath -- a deep one would have dragged in more paint odor -- and loaded the dishwasher as the pint-size Picassos went to work. Big Guy didn't want help and Little Guy just wanted to smear paint. Best for my T-shirt to keep away from that as long as I could.
Then amazing things began to happen. Big Guy, who just a few months ago was plopping colors on paper with no particular plan in mind, started trying to paint. Careful brush strokes and distinct divisions, unlike the varying shades of gray that resulted when colors melded in the past.
Could it be ... actual art? A creation discernible to the adult eye?
Yes, it was. Another milestone.
And those are the moments that make everything all right. The times that let you see past the dishes, the laundry, the pirate ship and focus on the true wonder you have the privilege of witnessing.
I keep walking to the dining room tonight, where his feather's drying, to visit it. It's beautiful, and it makes me feel better.
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.