Last Saturday night, Sean and I and a few members of my posse (...siblings) attended the annual dinner dance that benefits Life Centers of Ventura County. It's always a grand time and I, being stellar blogger extraordinaire for the ages, took approximately zero pictures and therefore have no proof that I curled my hairs and shadowed my lids and coated my lashes and inserted contacts into my eyeballs for the first time in a century. No testimony showing I put on a nice dress and adorned my feet in not-Uggs/flip flops and practically re-pierced my ears trying to put a pair of danglies in because it had been that long since I did myself up enough to justify earrings. It did happen though. A few whiskey cokes happened too and holla at the husband who gave up drinking for Lent - as good a DD as a pregnant! (Ok fine he may have started his "Sunday" a little early but who am I to huck him under the bus?)
For about a decade or a little more, I've helped the Life Centers out with the dinner dance when and where needed, and have chiefly been in charge of working up bid sheets for the silent auction. Every year on the week leading up to the dance, there's a big push for last minute donations to the auction, which loosely translates to me staying up much too late working on bid sheets and emailing the other members of the committee frantically trying to get details on the items or starting bids or whatever. It's always been relatively stress free; it's as hard as inserting info into a template and coming up with a little tagline to make it sound enticing. I mean, there were 115 items, so it's time consuming, but it's not rocket science.
But this year: I have two kids. This year, one of these kids has some attitude, um, quirks that are in perpetual need of adjustment or consequence
"I'm funny Mom" (on repeat)
and the other of these kids would prefer his person to be Krazy glued to my person, please and thank you.
"Let's run away together Mom."
Friday, the day before the dance, I of course had 285 things to do - give or take - to make the deadline. The kids, in turn, had 285 tricks up their 2T'd sleeves (yeah..they pretty much wear the same size now) and took alternating micro naps that did not coincide in the slightest. Every time I cracked the laptop lid, a needster got it's wings and flew into one kind of demand-fest or another. Both kids were finished with their naps for the day at some ridiculous time like 2 o'clock (naps start at 1, so) and I was powering through bid sheets to a soundtrack of Super Why and Weston Cry.
At a certain point I could no longer stand the wailing and indignation of it all, and succumbed into a defeated heap on the floor, that Weston could crawl and gnaw and touch touch touch until his needy heart's content. As Weston attempted to clamber up the summit that is my bum, a concerned Jordan lay next to me on the ground as I enumerated the thousands of wispy soldiers that had abandoned my head during these months of post partum hair loss, in favor of entangling themselves in the sheisty company of the carpet. She alternated between ardent professions of "I luss you, Mom" (we'll purchase "proper pronunciation of V's" Vanna) and earnest pleas of "Mom, could you moose over?" so that she could slide between my hulking frame and the couch. I obliged and scooted a millimeter to the left, simultaneously turning my head to be greeted by Weston's uvula as he made his best effort to ingest eyebrow to cheekbone of my terrified face.
Jordan can be heartbreakingly intuitive about people's feelings, and she addressed my crumbled stature with repeated appeals to "don' be sad Mom" and lots of pats on my head and cheeks. It was there as I lay prostrate on the floor underneath the weight of my fat baby son and beside the worry of my sweet albeit crazy moody toddler daughter, that I pondered whether God had neglected to fully equip me for this stage of motherhood. By my estimation, I was lacking at least one of the following necessities:
more patience: this is a character flaw on my part. I have patience up to a certain point and then I explode over the drop of a cracker or the spill of a milk drop.
more sleep: Wes plays a cruel joke about once a month where he sleeps relatively well for two nights in a row, and I'm convinced my exhaustion sentence has been lifted. He's done this probably three times over three months, and follows up each of these periods with horrifying nights for the next week. Aside from this, an average night sees us up together twice or so, which isn't horrible but I'm over it.
more help: the three of us stumble our way through the day until 5 when Sean comes home, and he's good for a pool date with the kids (Weston enjoys observing the splashy antics from his rocker) while I recuperate by compulsively cleaning the living room or making dinner. He'll often do the dishes and he always does the Jordan half of bedtime duty, but he is not the Weston Whisperer. Nor is anyone, really. I'm seriously considering some sainted mother's helper; I love that red headed angel-monster to the moon and back but I need to escape the cling. Just for a minute.
a slight variation of a recent 'gram of mine..but this is more or less any of Weston's waking moments
Naturally, all three of these would be ideal. But I feel that if I had even one! Sigh...the possibilities. I remember being grateful in that moment that, of all the blog skipping or skimming I've had to do recently (because of the dinner dance, I mean. I fell SO behind on my e-stories. There were like 55 in my feed at any one time), I hadn't missed this one of Jenny's about how these everyday, grueling, tiring trials and tribulations can be acts of love.
>>Our mortal toil here on earth is exactly that: work. A lot of it. No matter the circumstances or situation of one's life, nobody gets out without putting in some hard time. And children are a lot of work. In fact, they're kind of the perfect means by which those of us called to the married life can work out our salvation with fear and potty training.
But they're more than just work, however ardently popular culture - and tired mommy bloggers like me - might try to convince you otherwise. They're also immortal souls. Little images of the Word made flesh, Who dwelt among us. And they deserve to be seen as more than accessories or add-ons to an otherwise 'perfect' and ordered life.<<
So I remembered that post - thanks Jenny - smiled at Jordan reassuringly and picked up Weston for another round of "let's trick him into being distracted by some toy in Jordan's room and then sneak out real fast and stay hidden from view and see how long he forgets that he needs my presence." Don't get me wrong, I still led a harried and rather frustrating day, trying to meet the quickly approaching deadline while trying to keep children happy and healthy and out of the pantry wherein there is always some inevitably accessible something or other that makes a colossal mess while my back is turned. But it goes a long way to have a good shot of solidarity every so often.
The dinner dance was super fun. Sean and I dressed up and got a little break from the babes; my siblings and a few friends and I sat around an outside patio table in ridiculously pleasant weather with some delightful alcoholic beverages; I didn't win anything in the auction but it was great looking around at the work we had put into it and the huge success that it turned out to be; we raised a really good chunk of change for an important cause. Not to mention, my sweet cousin who babysat the youths for us insisted "everything went so great!" (I later had my youngest sister, who I had sent over to help with Jordan, give me the real skinny. She informed me that "...yeah, Weston cried almost the whole time.." but I was so grateful that my cousin brushed it off and put on a brave face so that I could feel better about the night.)
And what is all this to say? Aside from a narration of my every complaint and whine? I don't really know, except maybe that being a parent is kind of a mysterious and wonderful thing. Kids - or my kids, anyway - do their very damnedest to give you hell, but they honestly can't help but be our little glimpses of heaven.