i won't let the cat outta the bag

when i was a little girl, i would put my cat in a pair of infant pajamas and carry her around. i liked how heavy and squirmy she felt in them, it was so much more lifelike than the dolls i was used to playing with. i still remember stuffing her into that mint green fleece sleeper, maybe zipping in a little fur... but, other than that i'm sure she was having fun too.

apart from this early sign that i had some motherly desire in me, i never particularly believed that i would just have a bunch of kids and stay at home with them. i still find it all a bit surprising. i knew that i wanted kids, and i knew that i would enjoy that to some degree. but, just like my cat, i knew that i would inevitably want to squirm my way out of it all.

you see, i am the slightest a bit of a quitter. i am just fickle enough to change my mind about almost everything. once, i told my husband that i think i might look for a job. i think it was about a half hour after i made that declaration that i came home with a job. about 3 months later, i quit that same job by leaving a message on an answering machine, saying that i wouldn't be coming to work for my next shift. or ever again. (in my defense, we just found out that we would be moving to new york AND i took issue with the treatment and compensation of some illegal immigrants that were underpaid and overworked.) so, i quit. just like everything else.

another example? let's see here... approximately 8th grade, after a particularly humiliating softball practice, i quit the team and walked home, never to play the sport again. (i have no defense here, except that i am pretty certain that the coach hated me and was secretly hoping that i would quit... which is why MY pop fly was just a little bit higher than everyone else's. and right over a pothole.)

so, i think if i am being honest, i always felt a little afraid that i might just want to quit being a mom. that, once the going got tough, i would just unzip the bag and let the cat out.

there are plenty of things that i didn't see coming with parenthood. the amount of diapers, the constant chaos, how many times i would hear "mama" in an hour, let alone a day, the time and commitment it would take, the teaching, the re-teaching, and the reminders of all that i've taught and re-taught... just to name a few. but, one thing that i certainly didn't see coming was this feeling that i have.

it's hard to describe the feeling really. the closest comparison i could probably draw is that this feeling is like being home. whether or not you live in your dream house, almost everyone can relate to that feeling of just being home. like you are where you belong.

this came as a surprise to me, primarily because of some of the things i have to do as a mother. using just today as an example: i woke up to london crying, i fed her in bed, while the other three kids joined us one by one until every square inch of our bed was occupied by some tiny human body part. i then made the kids pancakes for breakfast, did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen (which somehow still looked a mess), packed up their lunches, put on the bathing suits, put on all the sunscreen, and drove to the sprinkler park. after chasing them around, with baby on hip, i stood bent over while all the kids (mine and others) stood in line to smell my hair. we then had lunch, went into the community center to watch "awesome guys playing dodgeball." it took almost 15 minutes to leave, because i had to wait while harper shook everyone's hand before we could leave to go home. once home, i put harper down for a nap, and after singing several off-key duets with him, i then had to explain that uncle dan actually IS handsome, even if he DOES have "bald hairs." after that, i gave london a bath. that's when i realized that i feel strangely comfortable in this life and in this mommy role. that was the moment. i was sitting in the middle of london's room, blowdrying her butt.

she has a diaper rash, and i don't have time to let her "air-dry" between each diaper change like the 'what to expect' books suggest, so i just blow her off and it works just the same. but there i was, blowdrying my naked baby and i realized that this isn't normal. not a lot of people are home blowdrying out the crack of their baby.

forgive me, but it's a strange and busy life i live. it's really not anything spectacular in most people's eyes. but, it is certainly strange and it is certainly busy. and it is surprising to me how much i don't want to quit. i don't want to give up, i don't want to escape, i don't want some excuse so i can get out of it.

admittedly, i have my freakout moments and i definitely need my breaks from the craziness. but, when it gets right down to it... i wouldn't want anyone else on the planet blowdrying london's butt except for me. and i don't want anyone else explaining to harper that uncle dan shaves his head on purpose and that's why his hairs are bald, and that he is in fact a handsome uncle. and i don't want my kids smelling anyone else's hair at the sprinkler park except mine.

i have spent so much of the past 6 1/2 years wondering if i am "doing enough" to contribute to our family. i am always wondering if i should work part-time, or should i go back to school, or should i.... (fill in the blank with the idea of the moment.) when all i really want is permission to just blowdry a butt and love every minute of it. it is such a short season of time that they are all mine, and i don't want to miss any of it. i don't know what each day will look like, and i certainly can't say what things will look like down the road, but one thing i am actually sure about is that i want this life. i want it and i am not going to give up. that, sadly, is a really big deal for a gal like me.