Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Life in a Nutshell

Disclaimer #1: The topic of this post is about poop (ha! funny that a poop story is metaphoric for my life)

Disclaimer #2: At the outset, I intended this post to be light and humorous. As I began to write it, my deeper feelings became exposed and it took on more of a journal entry quality as I confessed a few of my mommy insecurites. Not my typical post, but a snapshot of our life nonetheless.

While it's still fresh in my memory, I want to record a seemingly insignificant event that occurred this afternoon that, for good or bad, accurately captures my life in a nutshell. With great intentions of being a superstar mom, I decided to take the boys to the splash pad after naptime. Knowing that Joey and Ben's attention spans don't last long at the park, I let Hank and Max get a head start and start splashing while I watched them from the car, simultaneously nursing Joey and feeding Ben his bottle. Just a few minutes later, Hank and Max come running back to the car, telling me that they both need to go potty. I'm usually pretty cautious about letting them use public restrooms (stranger danger), but in this case, I told them to stay together and come check in with me afterwards, while I kept my eye on them from the car. A few minutes pass. Suddenly Hank comes bolting out of the bathroom, runs back to me at the car, and tells me that Max has pooped in his swim shorts (Max's explanation for this is still unclear, but apparently the bathroom was slippery, he fell off the potty...??). Immediately, I mentally ran through my options: carry Joey and Ben to the bathroom? No. I didn't pack my stroller and the bathroom was on the other side of the splash pad. Leave Joey and Ben in the car while I run to the bathroom? No. As much as I was worried about Max being alone in the restroom, I couldn't leave the babies alone in the car, either. Yell at Max to abort and go home? No. Without being able to access the situation, it didn't seem appropriate to alert the rest of the park-goers to this predicament. Suffice it to say, I was in a pickle and the best solution I could come up with was to instruct Hank to quickly return to the bathroom and either help Max clean up or else bring Max back out. Hank didn't hesitate and ran back to the bathroom. I quickly finished nursing Joey and situated him in the front-pack and then carried Ben in a semi-bear hug to the playground. It was a relief when Hank and Max both came frolicking out of the bathroom, happy as ever. When Hank came to check in with me, I learned that Hank had helped Max take off his poopy swim shorts and then washed them in the sink. Problem solved! At first I laughed, picturing those two rascals, one nakey, and the other rinsing out soiled shorts. And then I couldn't help but cry for how perfectly and pathetically the incident sums up my life, our life, these days. Poor Hank, at six, taking on such heavy household responsibility. Cleaning up his brothers' poopy shorts was just one of the many times today I called on him to pitch in and bail me out--from babysitting Joey in the morning while I take a shower, to putting on Ben's shoes and socks, to fetching me diapers and bottles, to being on "binky duty," Hank is my go-to helper--often carrying much more of a load than is fair to ask of a six year old. Poor Max, at three, still very much needs his mommy, but often has to settle for a stand-in brother, wait his turn, or, do without. It breaks my heart a little that Max has become so very accepting and patient with taking a backseat. With his characteristic smile and upbeat attitude, Max will always tell me, "Ok, Mommy. Next time (an indefinate point in the future) you can push me on the swing." Ugh. Knife twisting in heart. Poor Ben, at two, settling for hanging out with me and making do with whatever junk I have on hand to serve as entertainment because I can't carry him everywhere to help him keep up with his brothers. He will make his own games of climbing in and out of his stroller or rocking in the baby carseat because I can't always carry him across the bark chips, up the stairs to the platform, and ride down the slide with him. Poor Joey, at four-months, just as sweet as he can be...what would I do without the front-pack, bumboo, bouncer, and excersaucer because I simply can't give him the undivided attention that I truly want to give him. Ahhhhh! One comical little incident reveals so much about the difficult dynamics in our family right now. If I think about it, I feel riddled with guilt about how little there is of me to go around and the impact it has on each of the boys. All I can do is pray for the Lord to forgive me for my shortcomings, bless me with strength to increase my capacity, and through His grace somehow make up the difference. I love each of my boys and hope that, if nothing else, they will come to appreciate how hard I've tried to do my very best.


Lauralee said...

ohhhhh Courtney- You are truly helping your kids develop some awesome skills. What good boys to take care of that poopy accident. That is amazing!

I don't know if those feelings of trying to give each child what they need, ever go away. You are a great mom and those feeling of needing extra arms and hands, or laps just go from that to needing another set of ears and heart to be able to be there to hear and listen and understand and give all the emotional support kids need later..

Thanks for sharing- it is always fun to read and know that other people deal with the similar crazy situations!

The Farmer Family said...

I hear you Court. I agree with you and yet I can't help but think about what a special boy hank will be for learning how to help out and serve so early on. And Max is making memories and a bond with his brother that they will always have. You are a great mom and they will always remember that!

Kelli Radmall said...

You amaze me. You do so great with four boys. Everytime I am with you I am in awe of your calm demeanor and the way you are supermom and it seems like it's no sweat. I know it's not easy-by a long shot-but I know you are the PERFECT mother for those boys. And I know you probably get frazzled like the rest of us, but I think you guys are an awesome family, focused on what's important.