I've been feeling a low rumble lately, some shiftless, slippery dark form rippling just beneath the surface of my consciousness.
I'm pretty good at ignoring it, in part because we are so busy. These last two weeks of summer, when we didn't have anything specific planned, have still been stuffed to the gills with activity. Playdates, swimming at the local Y, visiting family and friends, going to a fair, birthday parties - every day is jam packed from start to finish.
The days blur by - each day mashing into the next one. I rarely even know what day of the week it is anymore.
Each day starts the exact same way. I get a poke in the ribs at 6am, two sets of eyes peering at me expectantly. "What are we going to do today, Momma? Huh? Momma? You awake? We're hungry."
Can I have Rice Krispies no wait I want waffles but not too much butter Finn hit me Sissy won't talk to me Momma where are my waffles I can't find my special lizard wanna play soccer I don't like this juice can I have milk there is too much butter on my waffles can we have a playdate Momma Momma Momma look at me I can jump on one foot NO I'M TALKING TO MOMMA NOW Momma is today the pool can we have a friend over will you play a game with me I'm hungry Momma Momma Mommaaaaaaaa.
I am not exaggerating when I say this level of chatter and activity doesn't stop until they close their eyes at night.
Even when we're doing something - playing a game, say - they are vying for attention, asking what is next, peppering me with questions.
If I stop moving, to check the computer or - gasp - try to read the newspaper they are instantly on me. I mean ON me. Sitting on my lap, draped around my legs, sticky warm arms and legs pressed into mine.
I try to carve out precious little chunks of time - a half an hour here or there to get jewelry orders done, return emails, have a phone conversation, do some housework. Finn's record for leaving me alone is eight minutes. Eight whole minutes before he pads in the room and slips silently into my lap, leans against my legs or simply follows me around like a pint sized shadow. Greta can last the whole half an hour. Barely.
By three o'clock every day I feel like I have gnats buzzing about my head - hungry, demanding little blood suckers that I can't swat away, because, well, those gnats love me and it's summer and it's been a great summer and I really don't have anything to complain about because we've had such fun and school is about to start and so I should enjoy the moments we have together and so I'll just grit my teeth and find the beauty in the moment and -
Well, you get the idea. I'm trying to talk myself out of this existential quicksand, this sensation of constant stuck I feel.
The truth? I feel disappeared.
I'm the snack getter and skinned knee kisser and sibling referee and chauffeur and playdate arranger and house picker-upper and chief cook and bottle washer. And I'm sick to death of it.
I ache for some time to myself. I have all these lofty ideas for my business and for my writing and it's just not worth diving into them. Not now. I have learned that trying to do those things and be present for the kids simply doesn't work. They are still young enough that they need me to be the center of their orbit. On the good days I am grateful for this - oh, so grateful. On the not-so-good days it makes me want to run down the street screaming: what about MEEEEE?????
But the oil slick is there, I can't deny it. All I can do is speak my truth, try to reduce its sludgy hold over me one word at a time.