It’s 10:30 by the time everyone is in bed and asleep and I’m so tired, I’m limping. I grab the random dirty dishes I find scattered around the kitchen and throw away the flowers that are rotting in the vase. (Vile stench. I checked Kieran’s diaper countless times today looking for the source. I never thought to look at my farmer’s market bouquet.)
I summon the energy to throw the last load of wet laundry into the dryer when I see Luke, Connor’s Jedi Build-A-Bear, sitting on the counter.
Luke is waiting for me. Seems he’s coming apart at the seams (welcome to the club, Luke) and I’ve put off fixing him all day, even though Connor asked me every other hour if Luke was repaired yet.
“I haven’t done it yet, buddy,” I would half smile, half sigh. “Dad is on a trip this week, so I’m doing everything myself. I still have to make dinner, fold the laundry, give the baby a bath, clean up the baby oil Teyla spilled in the bedroom….” And the list would go on and on and on. Eventually, Connor would lose interest and return to Lego Universe or battling his guys or pestering his sister.
Outwardly, I kept putting out fires. Wipe the counter, pick up toys, pack the lunch.
But inwardly, my soul wept. The hardest thing about parenting four kids is that I rarely get a chance to just focus on one child. I am constantly disappointing someone, cutting a conversation short, begging the older kids to wait a minute so I can insert-task-here, telling Teyla I can read to her after Kieran is asleep, saying I can watch Connor play his video game after I finish washing the dishes.
To some degree, it’s necessary. This is life on planet earth. We dwell in time. I can only spin so many plates at once.
But it hurts my heart. Being a SAHM, I am with my children all day. But it is always as a group. I am rarely with them one on one. I miss them as individuals.
I put the wet towels into the dryer and think back to bedtime prayers with Connor just a few minutes earlier. Bedtime is one of the only built-in times each day when I might get a few moments alone with each child. Connor always has stories to tell me about the Lego guys he keeps scattered across his bed. (Some people read before bed. Connor battles Legos. Whatever works, right?) His big brown eyes are lined with the eyelashes so long and so dark, they seem almost wasted on a boy. He is earnestly intent on telling me about the bazooka he put on the back of this spaceship so he can get that guy in the green shirt on that spaceship that he doesn’t even notice that I’m not watching the Legos. I’m watching him and wondering how the baby boy who used to read Sandra Boynton with me each night is now a seven-year-old with two missing teeth who is sitting cross-legged on his bunk bed.
I push the start button on the dryer and turn to pick up Luke and find my sewing kit.
It’s late. I’m tired. I can only do so much.
But maybe a little needle and thread will tell Connor I love him even when I have to decline a game of kickball in favor of changing a diaper.