We had a wonderful Easter weekend, with a house full of guests. We were lucky enough to have everyone from both sides of our family (minus one) under our roof which, made for just the right amount of chaos.
And no amount of snow could keep us from the annual outside hunt, so there was that too. Another snow bank Easter in the books.
Today we’re paying for it all dearly though. Because I thought it was a great idea to say “Sure, Monday at noon will be fine!’ to the lady who wanted to come over for a TV interview with me about the Lifetime HerAmerica project. Which meant I had to get after cleaning up the crusted turkey pan, candy wrappers, plastic egg pieces, punch bowl and crusted on floor crumbs and tackle my sleep deprived face and messy mom hair before her arrival.
I also had to pray to the sleep Gods for well timed naps, which I miraculously managed, except the interviewer was late, which meant that just in time for me to mic-up the baby started to fuss and mid-way through my answer to the question about “managing it all” the toddler, complete with bed head and pink paint in her bangs from the morning’s craft project, woke up with a temperament of a poked bear.
And she wasn’t having any of it.
Especially the shirt I made her wear.
At one point in the process I was singing to Rosie and from her perch on the potty in the other room, Edie screamed for me to stop. Which I’m sure was exactly the mood they were going for.
I hope no one watches the news. That was exhausting.
And apparently, if my patience had a chance today, it’s shot to shit. I told Edie to say please today and she said I was being crabby. She even made up a song about it…
She wasn’t wrong. I sorta am, despite feeling so grateful after celebrating my favorite holiday. Funny how you can be so many things at the same time.
Oh, its all sort of funny, even the hard stuff. And I’m not sure when, but they say I’ll look back on it all one day and miss it. And I know that’s true, because we tend to forget the exhaustion and that weird, unidentifiable blob crusted under the leg of our table that was discovered with a house full of company and only remember how fun it was to hunt eggs in the snow.
So that’s what this week’s column is all about. And when it was published, I got a few sweet emails from people reassuring me that it goes fast and that they can relate. And then there was the one woman who spoke her truth, saying I will NOT miss it because little kids are exhausting and it’s hard and the later years are easier and you know what, today I love her for that.
Because apparently, I’m crabby…and I don’t know why…
“Remember when we used to hit up places like this after a long night out?” he said as he held the drooling, wiggly baby in one arm and ate chicken fried steak with the other while I shoveled eggs into my mouth between the toddler’s incessant requests for more toast, because she had just discovered jelly, a condiment she is was convinced was sent down from heaven to this café from God himself.
That was back when we would stay up until two in the morning on purpose and come rolling into cafés like these for a stack of pancakes or a pile of eggs, twenty something, tipsy and childless.
It’s a far cry from our current state of thirty-something, hungry and sleepless.
But I’m not sure how our waitress would have categorized us that morning when she walked toward our booth and caught me absentmindedly singing, “I need coffee, I need coffee, I need coffee” into my fork.
I didn’t even know I was doing it until I saw her face pull up into a full-on laugh as she handed us our menus and took our drink orders.
“I’m thinking you need coffee then?” she smiled.
“Huh, yeah,” I replied. “And maybe a little time away from the kids.”
She left and we laughed too. Our idea of a fun had morphed a bit from planning a night out on the town to planning a trip to take the toddler swimming in a hotel pool.
Sitting down to eat breakfast at a café like this used to be a relaxing way to spend a Sunday morning. These days it’s more like a bad idea, a chance to test our patience, my incognito breastfeeding skills and, apparently, experience the thrill of eating jelly out of those little plastic packets.
But in between cutting up chicken nuggets, cleaning up spills and sipping cold coffee, the reminiscing made me take notice of all the different life stages that were seated in that busy café that morning. The rumpled weekend college kids we used to be, the parents of teenagers trying hard for discussion, the elderly couple quietly and ritualistically sharing the newspaper, the 5-year-old boy out to eat with his dad who kept turning around to sneak a peek of our baby…
And behind me a woman talked with her mother about giving her teenage daughter relationship advice. And in her words I heard my own mom’s voice talking over the hum of the radio in the mini-van, driving us somewhere so we couldn’t escape it, the same technique this woman seemed to employ. And I couldn’t help but think that in a few short blinks that a different version of us will be in that café while our daughters are sleeping in or out with friends.
And we will say, “Remember when they were little and we would come to these places to make a mess and noise and barely take a bite? Remember when there wasn’t enough coffee in the world?”