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My firstborn baby smiled at me, then unceremoniously dumped his cereal all over the kitchen floor.
I sighed and longed for the day when he would eat more than he tossed.
“Aren’t you hungry?” I reached for the broom and dustpan. At ten months old, he was too young to explain himself, so he just looked at me. Gazing into his eyes, surrounded by impossibly long black lashes, I remembered how his eyes were the first thing I noticed when he was born. He was such a handsome newborn, and now he was a handsome older baby. My heart filled with love, but the love had to fight to crowd out the frustration I felt at sweeping yet again. I sighed.
I swept up the Cheerios.
My toddler ate his yogurt as I frantically tried to calm my second son. What are the odds of getting two colicky babies in a row? I wondered. Though mathematically improbable, thus was the situation I found myself in.
Pulling out boxes in desperation, I quickly poured some Cheerios into a tiny plastic bowl. My colicky son flailed backwards, his body contorting in another scream. The Cheerios escaped uncontrollably, in a cascade of chaos and crumbs, which felt like a metaphor for my entire life.
“NO!” I cried. Cereal scattered everywhere. My toddler expressed his disappointment in this delay in his snack.
Three hours and thirty-seven minutes until Daniel gets home, I calculated.
Adjusting my baby on my hip, I grabbed the broom and engaged in the ancient art of cleaning with one hand and parenting with the other.
I swept up the Cheerios.
Somehow going from two to three kids was the easiest transition, even though it happened during a pandemic. Who knew? Some things were different – my husband had paternity leave for the first time, no one expected me to go anywhere because of lockdowns, and mercifully, this baby did not have colic.
The biggest difference though, came within my soul. After the chaos of the preceding four years, new curveballs seemed less threatening. I knew that we would get through whatever came, together.
My reverie reached a sharp end when I heard the thud of a plastic bowl hitting the floor, tossed from the height of the high chair tray. I smiled to myself.
I swept up the Cheerios. And this time, free from the pressures of cherishing every moment, I allowed myself to be human. I cherished the important moments. Then I loosened the ties of the moments that were really just chores, and allowed them to be the mundane bits of life that they were. Necessary, but not inspirational. Instead of feeling guilty about that, I accepted the reality.
Cheerios and all.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Minutiae”.