I stand on the brink, some days. Toes overlapping the line to what is surely the entrance to insanity.
There is repetition, to the point of frustration at times. I am responsible for so much: forgetting to bring a cup of milk when I pick them up at daycare can lead to tears and screams all the way home; letting one day pass without running the washing machine or dishwasher results in chaotic morning routines; I have to exercise to deal with it all, to feel like I can manage, and yet I’m so tired of lunges and running and would pay someone anyone as much money as I could afford for a few days in a lawn chair and sunshine.
Steve is up at 5:30 most mornings, gone by 5:45 to the pool to swim before work. Then on his feet for nine hours. His evenings are filled with class or homework or projects on the laptop. I try my best to pack his lunch and clean the house and cook a healthy supper and clean his clothes. Often, at noon, when the house is quiet for a fleeting moment, I lay on the couch and close my eyes. Just 10 minutes, just long enough for that first wave of slumber to wash over me. Usually it’s enough, and as it passes, I open my eyes and get up.
When I went to Vancouver last summer, my mom was supposed to watch the girls. But she broke her foot five days before I left. We scrambled and found friends to watch them. The morning I left, the both of them cried behind the gate at the top of the stairs wailing, Moooommmmmyyyyyyy, as I closed the door and walked to the taxi. They cried for Steve every evening when he got home from work. I cried when I thought of them, much too far from my hungry arms. They picked me up from the airport and I scooped them into my arms, tears rolling down my face, my heart breaking and swelling and breaking again with love and why did I ever think leaving was a good idea?
I’m going to Ontario next week for four days. I’ve been nervously avoiding telling Leila, afraid she would cry.
I’m going to visit my friend Amanda in a couple weeks, I anxiously told her. Her head shot up and tears sprung to her eyes.
Who’s going to take care of me? she worriedly asked.
Daddy, I replied.
Oh! she said, relieved, Do you want to play ponies now?
And I breathed a sigh of relief.
Because I need this. I need time with my friend, time for myself. Part of me feels horribly selfish for wanting (and taking) it.
But the kids will be ok.
And Monday morning I’m boarding a plane.