I have a plug-in for my blog that allows me to schedule blogs and the corresponding social media posts. This plug-in sends me an email update at the end of the week to let me know how many blogs I published, and how many social media posts I sent out. Secretly, I imagine that I’m in a boxing match with CoSchedule, my blog plug-in. Like I’m constantly trying to out do him. If I post more than 3 times per week then I feel like I have won that week. But last week; he crushed me. He sent me an email, and it contained one big fat goose egg. Zero. I posted zero blogs last week. I updated zero statuses. CoSchedule for the win. Jodi for the big fat, sour-tasting loss.
It was Saturday of last week when everything started to unravel. I had spent my Friday evening preparing everything that I needed to prepare for the wedding I was shooting the next day. I had to have every battery charged, every CF card cleared out, gear checked, rechecked, packed, and then checked again. My outfit had to be laid out. Hair washed. Everything had to be done because the next morning was Hudson’s first baseball game of the season. I wasn’t going to be able to see all of it because I had to leave for the wedding, but I would at least get to see about 45 minutes of his little league debut as the Yankee’s third baseman.
Saturday morning went superbly. I was up and dressed on time. Griffin and Brody were fed, dressed, and in the car. Their bikes were loaded, their snacks were packed, and they each had a water bottle. I was freaking rocking it. Until I wasn’t. Until I got to the game and the team mom started handing out the snack sign-up schedule for the season, and it clicked. A giant, red, blinking fire siren went off in my head because I was supposed to bring the snacks for the team today. I thought I was so freaking smart to sign up for the first game so that I could just get it out of the way. And I was so freaking smug this morning as I drove to the game thinking that I had kicked life’s ass and it was barely 10am.
Luckily, my in-laws were at the game. I vaguely remember shouting to my mother in law about watching the babies because I had to run to the store. I sprinted out of the park, hopped in my car, drove to the store, grabbed pretzels-applesauce-gatorade, headed to the cashier… she could tell I was in a hurry as I dashed around. She was so helpful, and so quick to ring me up. And then… I didn’t have my wallet. I had meticulously packed it into my gear bag the night before.
When it was all said and done, I drove back to the baseball field, snacks in tow, with tears threatening to fall. Every single one of the 45 minutes I had allotted to watching my first born’s first baseball game had been wasted in my car and at the grocery store. The lump in the back of my throat was swelling, making it hard to swallow. My face flushed as the corners of my ears burned from the salty tears that built.
Right then, in that moment, I equated parenthood to feeling like you’re walking through a jungle… a jungle that has trees lined with snakes… that could at any moment would lash out and wrap themselves so tightly around your neck that you’re actually suffocating. Gasping for air, and never really knowing when it is going to let up. You never really know when it is going to be a day that breezes by so easily or a day that raptures your will to keep going.
I went to the wedding after seeing Hudson hit one ball down the third base line. I asked for videos to be sent of his other at-bats, and later learned that he caught a line drive. The wedding went great, and the photos are stunning. The bride and groom and wedding party were so much fun. By the time I got home I felt like the constriction around my neck was starting to loosen. Sunday was a good day. I slept in until around 9am as the boys were slumber partying with their grandparents. I think we hit up a park or two, and then my inlaws came over in the afternoon while the boys took a dip in the hot tub. The boys went to sleep easily that evening, and I could finally breathe.
And that’s when Griffin first got sick. Coughing so hard that his head and neck ached. And so hard that he was gagging and throwing up. And just when he went to sleep, Brody started. I felt the tightening again. The strangling truth that two of the three boys were sick, and I wouldn’t be getting any sleep that night. Or the next night, as the illness took hold of the family.
It was about 3am on the second night of the incessant coughing attacks. I paced back and forth, up and down our hallway. Brody wouldn’t sleep unless if I was holding him. Once I laid him down the coughing would start again, and he would begin to wail. Daddy couldn’t do it. Just Mommy. As I paced the hallway, exhausted, the way that so many mothers before me have done for their children many, many more times than I have… I started to remember what it felt like when Brody was a newborn. I traced the same path, up and down that hallway, as I did when he was just weeks old. When he was a newborn, I used to imagine as I walked that my steps were wearing the hardwood thin, and that I would literally be able to see the color of the wood fading down the middle of the hallway at some point. That I was hollowing a trench.
It was only here, in this memory of walking Brody as a newborn, that I finally found my silver lining to the lesson that I was learning in that instant. Yes, parenthood is difficult. But it’s not suffocating. There isn’t anything strangling me, because the only thing ever wrapped around my neck are the arms of my baby boys. And that there isn’t going to be enough time in this life for me to walk them up and down that hallway, with their heads resting on my shoulder, for me to ever feel like I have had enough of them.
So, blog posts be damned. I may not have posted a single blog last week because my babies were sick… I was sick… it’s tax season… and wedding season, and there just wasn’t enough hours in the day. But I do know that two little boys stayed home with their Mom two days last week. And that I cuddled the shit out of them, and rubbed vapor rub on their chests which led to the tickling of their tummies. I didn’t post a single update to my business page on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest, but I loved on those little men so hard that they probably wanted to fake sick for an extra day. So, you win CoSchedule… last week at least.
Photo Credit: Carlie Renee of www.GabrielRyan.net