Hey you… Yes you. The one judging me. You with your perfect hair and your arched eyebrow as I explain to Aaron’s baseball coach that I need to leave him there for this practice, but I’ll be back 10 min. before they’re scheduled to be done. Yes, you. See that man, over there throwing the ball with your perfectly attired son? That’s your husband, so you don’t get to judge me. Neither do the rest of you baseball moms who are looking at me like I’ve just told the coach that he’ll be taking Aaron home with him for the night. You know what? None of this would be happening if I just had a clone.
If I had a clone, I could have stayed with Aaron at practice while my clone took Aidan to boyscouts.
If I had a clone, Aidan could have stayed at Boyscouts for the whole pack meeting, instead of leaving after he got his new patches so we could get back to pick Aaron up from practice.
If I had a clone, the laundry would be done the same day it was dirtied, the kitchen would be spotless, the children would immaculately groomed 2 minutes after they came in from the muddy yard, my cakes wouldn’t take me until 2 a.m. to finish, and Jason would have perfectly thought out care packages mailed every other day. Man, I could go on and on.
Oh yes, life would be so much easier if I had a clone. Someone to share this insane life with me, to tackle one kid while I get the three others. Someone who would pop in and make me not quite so insane, and then vanish when my other half comes back to me.
But I don’t.
This house is full, and we’re still missing pieces. It’s just me. Me and four little boys. 5 people worth of laundry, 5 doctors appointments, dentist appointments, hair cuts, baseball games, practice, boy scout meetings, homework-fixing, dinner prep, dishes…. you get the picture. Do I feel guilty when some of it doesn’t get done? Absolutely. I hate that I’m less than at my peak. I hate that I had to choose between Aidan qualifying for districts of the Pine Wood Derby, and Aaron’s opening day for little league. But I do it. Because I don’t have a clone or a choice.
Wait. I do have a choice. I could sit in this house and just do the minimum. Feed kids, bathe kids, put them to bed. Rinse. Repeat. But I can’t do that to them. Every day they ask when he’s coming home. Every day they take an M&M out of the countdown jar. It’s impossible to look at them and say… “yeah, you miss him, but I’m going to make you even sadder and say there’s no activities when he’s gone…” So, I pull my hair out, race around like a mad woman, and try to find the balance for them. I have a cranky toddler after 3 hours on this baseball field so I can support Aaron, I have bored boys at home because Brody has Bronchitis for the umpteenth time. There is simply no way to make every single person happy in this family when he’s gone.
So you… looking at me like I’m nuts for leaving Aaron at practice…. Yes. I’ll be across the street at boyscouts for the next 45 minutes. I will not be at the mall, or napping, or hitting up the local bar. I’m leaving Aaron with his team and coach during a structured practice, and yes, he’ll be safe. Unless today’s practice contains the use of handguns and knives? Then perhaps he needs me to stare at him while his brother cries that he missed his den meeting, which will be followed by the typical middle child wail of “Why is it always about Aaron?” If not, and they’re really just playing baseball, then chill out and try to have a little understanding. I’m doing the best I can over here, and if I’m okay with that, you should be too. Trust me, nothing you say about my choice when you turn back to your friends is anything I haven’t already said to myself. But I’m making choices to try to do what’s best for ALL of them while he’s gone. We all give a little, and we’re better, stronger, more unified for it. If my 6 and 8 year-olds can understand this, so can you.
We’re all making choices that benefit our family as a whole. We’re all sacrificing little pieces, and we’re proud of that. We’re proud that when Jason’s gone, we pull together and make it happen. Maybe it’s not as Stepford as I’d like. But when October gets here, and Jason is due home, I can honestly look at my husband and tell him that I did my best by our sons, and our sons can say they did what they could for their brothers. Maybe this is something you don’t understand because you’re not military. I get it. You can’t really “get” us until you experience our life. But you know what you can do? You can put meaning behind that yellow-ribbon that proclaims “I support our troops” on your SUV, and remember that it’s not nice to look at me and ask me snottily if I “expect” you to keep an eye on Aaron. If the coach is willing, then you just hush, and be thankful that you don’t have to make the choices I do. So you do that for me, and I won’t tell you your younger child is a selfish brat for stealing Brody’s ball repeatedly even though he’s about 4 years older than the ‘Kins. Deal?
No, I’m not really mad at you. I’m mad at me because I can’t be in 4 places at once. I’m mad that they’re already giving up so much. But a little understanding from you, or just lack of judgment might make this the 1% easier that I need.
Oh, and if you can tell me where to get a clone, I’m all ears.