Sometimes my two kids, a freshly minted five and three, play together really well and I feel like we're gettin' somewhere, like my life won't always be about fetching this, reaching that, cleaning up after. But then, we have days (read: the last few) when it seems all I'm doing is scurrying around like a housegirl.
I repeat the mantra all day long: I'm not your servant. I'm your mommy. I'm not here to do everything for you. I'm here to teach you to do things for yourself.
But the learning curve? It is steep. For all of us.
I often have to sit on my hands to prevent myself from plunging in and finishing a task. It takes all my willpower to ignore their screeches of protest when I'm hanging back, letting them figure out the frustrating riddle of their jacket zippers.
Also, teaching kids things...takes sooooo loooooonnnggg.
I wish I could impart my knowledge, smile confidently and step away. But that's not how it works. They forget. The next time they confront a challenge (a stubborn glue stick top, a button and button hole, SHOE VELCRO FOR CHRIST'S SAKE) they, once again, expect me to pick up the slack. And the next time and the next. Until my gentle reminders that they can do it themselves turn into battle cries.
Then there is my guilt. Which is large and fuschia and sometimes hovers over all of us like a thick cloud about to burst. Only it won't disperse gentle fuschia rain, but large, sticky balls of tar that will bind our hands and feet.
I never feel that I'm doing enough. If I'm on the floor with the kids, I'm eyeing the crumbs scattered across the floor that need to be swept or the dishes piled high in the sink or my laptop which I want to fondle.
If I'm wiping the kitchen counters or folding laundry, it seems that I should be engaging more with Fruit Bat and Kitty Cat.
What I want to know is, When Will That Magical Day Arrive? The Day In Which I Can Stop Whimpering About What's Become Of Me, Because I'll Be Back. Fully And Totally Back.
Don't tell me it will never return. Please don't tell me that.