For the past 8 days I have given 100% of myself to my kids. For 4 days straight, Ben would not let me up off the couch (where he was sitting). If I was lucky I was "allowed" to flip through a magazine while I sat next to him. Mostly he wanted to be in my arms with nothing distracting me.
In many ways I savored the extra cuddling I got with all 3 boys. But when all 3 wanted me at once, there was trouble. Someone always ended up crying.
Nights have been really tough. I don't think I've slept for more than an hour straight since this started. Between the coughing fits and all of them waking up and wanting me... it has been brutal. The worst is that Jack and Ben both want me to sleep with them. And I have loved being with them in their beds, holding them, comforting them when they can't stop coughing. But on many occasions they both want me at the same time. So one is crying while I comfort the other. Last night, one would cry, I'd cuddle up to them, they'd fall back to sleep and 10 minutes later the other would wake up realizing I was gone and start to cry because they wanted me back. So I was literally back and forth between their beds probably 20 times.
Ben was finally feeling semi back to himself yesterday, but he was still grumpy. So the littlest things set him off. If he wanted me to read to him and I wasn't at his side within seconds, he would absolutely lose his cool. If I was sitting with him and Sam wanted something, Ben would flip if I got up to help Sam. He is also insisting on being carried everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I literally feel like my head could explode.
So last night, when he wanted me to sit with him on the couch while I was making dinner, I just could not stand his yelling and demanding at me any longer. I told him that I was making dinner and I would be out when I was done. For 20 minutes he screamed and cried. He went into the "ugly cry" as Oprah calls it. Tears streaming down his little contorted face. Saying "mamma, mamma, mommmy" non-stop.
In any other circumstance it would have broken my heart. I would have gone to him in an instant. But last night, I couldn't. I was done. I had given and given and given and there was just not one more ounce of give in me. So I stood in the kitchen and just listened to my sweet little boy sobbing in the next room. There was a small part of me that felt compassion, that felt sorry for him, but mostly I was just angry angry angry. I just wanted him to shut. up. I could literally feel my blood boiling as I took deep breaths trying to keep my cool. It took everything I had to not go out there and yell at the top of my lungs.
Finally, "dinner" (frozen chicken nuggets and frozen veggies) was ready. I took it out to the other boys, picked up Ben (now literally covered from ear to ear in tears and snot) and took him to his room. We lay down together in his bed and I just stroked his hair and read him books. He was asleep within minutes of me turning out the light, me lying right down next to him.
That night I couldn't sleep. I had flash forwards 25 years to Ben talking to his therapist about how he needed me, was calling me, and I just ignored him. And I knew he wouldn't remember the previous 7 days where I catered to his every whim. He'd remember that he wanted me and I wouldn't come.
Because that's the way it is with parenthood, isn't it? The every day stuff just fades into the background, but as adults we often remember the ways our parents weren't there. My parents sacrificed almost everything for my brother and me. But I often still find myself focusing on the things that they didn't give me (emotional stuff, not physical stuff).
Now that I am a mom myself, I have so much more appreciation for everything my mom did for me - stuff that goes unnoticed. The meals, the uniforms, correcting homework, shuttling me here and there, sitting up with me when I was sick at night. All of the stuff that goes unsung.
I guess this is just a stream of consciousness blog. I don't really have a beginning or ending or neat little summary. I guess mothering is just hard and I love my sons more than imaginable.