I’m living in the diaper days. Days that begin with frantic four-year-old whispers breaking through my dream-deep sleep, “Mom, Mom, Mama, Mom? Can I play with your iPod?” How did I even get an iPod and who is this creature interrupting the little sleep I get before dawn to ask a question he already knows the answer to? Before I roll over, a littler boy’s fists pump—as frantically as his brother whispered—signing, “Milk, milk, milk, milk.” Breathe.
Later I breathe deep the hem of my shirt, deciding whether the remains of a leaky diaper are potent enough to warrant a change of clothes, wondering if the other moms at gymnastics will non-metaphorically wrinkle their noses at this mom.
There are days when I’d rather take my chances with a braying donkey than the four year old whose face mirrors my own, days when a donkey might actually obey better. Days when I look down at the joyful round face of a one year old reaching up for my face, no, my glasses, no, he’s scratching soft skin leaving my eyes full to the brim with pain. These tears and his—as I startle him with an involuntary yell—baptize me again in the name of motherhood.
I read her blog and I am a teenager again. Inadequate in my TJ Maxx jeans, almost throbbing with desire to live in her J. Crew chinos. I want to be her, to have that house, to light those candles, to fill my home with truth and beauty and song. Instead I grumble over strewn-about Legos and wonder over that semi-nomadic urine smell—is it the carpet that is older than I am?—and find that these 800 square feet can become claustrophobically small in an instant of comparison. My soundtrack is the whooping and hollering and laughing and crying of two young boys, with the occasional track of blessed silence, of whispered prayers,–Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner—of angry voices and repentant apologies. I forget for a moment that there is a rock of truth and a boy who says God thinks he is beautiful and a different song here. I long to live her life.
Then I remember. This is my today. Ponytails and victory at the grocery store. I forgot the butter and exceeded my budget by $25 but we will eat for another ten days. I live here. These are my children. My joys, my tears, my best friend making me laugh as she texts through the foggy stupor of post-op drugs, my other best friend making me cry as we wade this ebb and flow of grief that is burying a child.
That comparison is the thief of all joy, I know—according to blog posts and Pinterest boards and Facebook updates and supposedly Theodore Roosevelt—but today I live it. I invite the thief in to ransack my little home. He is rifling through my precious belongings when a pinprick of light seeps into that moment of adolescent darkness—this is my today. A good Father who spared no expense in rescuing this run-away child gave this day to me: it’s a gift. This day of diapers and grocery shopping and chocolate chips that we call “power pellets” and candles on a messy kitchen table that doubles as a desk and triples as a chemistry lab bench—this day is my today and for this gift, I am thankful.
This is my today.