Meet My Mess Monday (July 28th)

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Some days it’s so easy to count our blessings. We get up in a warm dry bed after a good nights rest with someone we love and start our days with hugs and kisses. And there is plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink. And we know how privileged we are to be born into the life we have. And we sail through our days on a cloud –thankful for our lives– surrounded in love and realizing how lucky we are.

Some days we wake up cranky without enough sleep in a pool of spit up from a baby. And the day drags on full cats breaking glass and kids wetting beds and Facebook is in a political uproar again about abandoned children or another school shooting or some other terrible thing. And there is way too much fighting and not enough caring and the world and everything in it just feels like too much. And it becomes harder to count our blessings. They aren’t as easy to see. They get buried in the wreckage of our lives, not easy to find under hurt feelings and sleepless nights and sick kids and too many commitments and not enough time to just cuddle on the couch.

It’s a mess around here today. There is love but there is also too much laundry and a to-do list so long that I’m afraid to write it down. There is a cake on the counter that everyone keeps eating right out of the box. There is a wet bed from nap that needs changing in a bedroom where a kid took out every single toy he owns. But there is love and a 4-year-old on the floor singing to the cat about Legos and a newborn in his bassinet napping soundly. And we are safe and healthy. There are no bullets flying and we have a home and the water is safe to drink. And we are all loved.

The good stuff, the blessings, it’s in here. In the midst of the wreckage of our lives, it’s always in here. Some days we just have to wade our way through and look for it. And eat cake right out of the box.

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Meet My Mess Monday

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I recently wrote a Facebook status about how my dishes are never done. It’s like a not-very -helpful mantra to myself regarding the process of cleaning my house. The dishes are never done. If they are done, it’s only because some other household chore like vacuuming was willing to take one for the team.

This is reality. As moms these days, we’re all busy. We have jobs on top to the jobs we already have of raising our kids and running our lives. Which explains why some of my Facebook friends responded to my status by showing pictures of their current messes. And it made me feel better about my mess. Because we all live in wreckage sometimes, no matter what particular living room we each have.

What did surprise me was that I got a few private messages from fellow moms that didn’t feel they could share publicly. Nothing terrible, just run of the mill mom stuff. Dishes that sat for over a day. A bathtub needing to be scrubbed after a visit to the beach.  But it got me thinking about how we often associate our own self-worth with the tidiness of our living rooms or kitchens. And… excuse my language here but, that is just fucked up. Unless you live in absolute filth and the city is coming to condemn your ass, you should not allow yourself to question your value as a mother or a woman based on the number of laundry baskets that sit next to your couch. It’s jacked up and I’m calling all of us out on it.

So I’m sharing my mess. This is mine today. And I’m going to find some part of my house every Monday (I’m sure I won’t have to go searching or anything) and I’m going to post it here. I hope that you share your mess too. So that we know we’re not alone. So we can see that we are all more similar than we are different. And as women especially, we all really need to start seeing that. And helping each other out instead of bringing each other down.

Thanks for sharing in advance.

Brice Eli

I wrote this in July of 2010, just two weeks after my son Brice was born. It seemed a fitting blog post for his 4th birthday today. Happy Birthday Bricey! You still charm us all with your sweetness every single day.

“…Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain…”

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Our lives truly are made from small moments, and piece by piece they are strung together to create our realities. I am going to try to remember it all as clearly as I can. The wrinkles on your knees, your scrawny little neck that can’t support your head. Your dark knowing eyes. Your little old man face. Your expressions. I am going to take these moments and stitch them together in my heart, and let them become a part of me, and change me forever.

 

When you were born, the Tiger Lilys were in full bloom on front lawns and all over the Wisconsin countryside, blazing orange. The corn on your Uncle Joeys land was shoulder high rather than knee high, thanks to a hot and humid spring and early summer. The fireflies still came out at dusk each night, and everyone was getting ready for the holiday weekend.

 

It was two weeks ago last night, I was at the festival in Columbus with your sisters. We knew you were coming soon, so we planned to spend the 4th of July weekend doing things together, the three of us. We were going to go swimming, watch movies, check out my cousins softball tournament, watch fireworks, go to a parade. Friday night was the festival, just the start of our girl’s weekend. We shared a huge soda, an order of cheese curds, and then a funnel cake. Your sisters rode the Tilt-a-Whirl, and I sat on a bench and watched. I was so pregnant with you that I had to keep sitting down to rest. Obscenely pregnant, that’s what I kept saying.

I woke up the following morning to my water breaking, just as the first streaks of light stretched across the sky. I knew that it was the day that you would be born, but I was in labor for hours. More than twice as many hours than when I had your sisters, combined. At one point I rested, napped lightly, and I dreamt that I was telling you a story. You were still high up in my belly, and I told you stories about how everyone has to find their way. How baby birds have to peck and fuss to break out of their eggs. How caterpillars have to wiggle and squirm out of their warm and safe cocoons, and baby kangaroos have to find their way right after birth to a warm pouch to grow in. That everyone has a journey to make. And that I loved you, and would still be right there when you got to the other side.

 

Even after so many hours, and so much time pushing, you stopped at the door. You gave everyone a scare. But as soon as you were born, I knew that you would be fine. I looked at you, still a purplish blue color, your head swollen and bruised, and I could tell that everyone else was worried, but I knew that you were fine. You were just taking your own time, doing things your way, just like you had done all along. Your sister Georgia cut the cord between us, and you turned pink within a few minutes.

After you were born, when they handed you to me, you looked up at me with the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen. We had just officially met, but I knew you already. We passed you around the room, to your sister Holly, who passed you to your sister Georgia, who passed you to your Grandma, who handed you off to your Aunt Holly. If life is made of small moments, they create circles that come back around. We had all been waiting just for you.

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Two weeks ago right now you were still in my belly. And now you’re here. In my living room, in my bed, in my arms. And now, I can’t imagine a time that you weren’t here. That you weren’t a part of our family. I know that there are people who don’t like the tiny baby stage, who can’t wait for real little smiles, heads that don’t need to be cradled, goofy little belly laughs. But I love the tiny baby stage. I find myself whispering “Stay little. Don’t grow too fast,” into your tiny little ears, almost begging. Already, two weeks of life have passed in the blink of an eye. Already, without leaving my sight, you have grown a quarter of an inch and gained three ounces. Already you are getting bigger right before my eyes.

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You are the baby that I didn’t know I wanted, that came to complete our family, where no baby will come after. I know this, so I try to soak it all up like a sponge. The only sadness I feel in all the world right now is the knowledge that you will only be this tiny right now. That you have grown and changed already. I want to push a pause button, so that I can memorize your noises, your little bird mouth, your long toes and fingers.

 

Between your sisters and I, we have taken over a thousand pictures of you in the past two weeks. We pass you back and forth, a constant stream of kisses and cuddles and loved ones for you to nap on, and you almost never even fuss. I’ve heard that third babies have often “gotten the memo” that the world does not revolve around them. Maybe it’s that, or the fact that you are so fawned over that you have no reason to cry or complain. I’d like to think all babies are loved, but I can’t imagine a baby being more loved that you are.

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You are an unbelievably mellow baby, fine with lying on your own, but I lay you down only when I have to. When I pick you back up, I whisper “I missed you. I missed you…” into your tiny little ears. You are the baby I don’t want to put down.

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So in this moment, I won’t. Not until I absolutely have to.

 

Welcome to the world, Brice Eli Roth. 6 lbs 7 ounces, 19 ½ inches long.  Born July 3rd, 2010

 

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