It was a day-after-day kind of day. Another day at home, twin three-year-olds whining at me, wearing on me, pulling on me and my threadbare patience. I read all about the French parents and their supremely well-behaved offspring that the entire Internet was going ga-ga over, and I was 12-years tired of my whole stay-at-home gig, and these people amazed and inspired and pissed me off, and I tried to reproduce their authoritative tone, but I guess I lacked a certain je ne sais quoi because my smallest children kept acting like total merde.
“I hate staying at home,” I confessed.
And it was selfish, this admission out loud, this burden on the man whose hands were tied to an office desk, whose heart broke a little more every time he heard over the phone that his babies were not delighted over. But his words bore no admonishment, only gentle truth: “You won’t have that forever. And then you’ll miss it, you know.”
And I knew it; I know it. But that day I didn’t want to pay the price for future fond memories. Right then, that day, I didn’t want to be yelled at about tightening the straps of tiny shoes. I wanted to do my work, alone.
So they yelled and I yelled back, and instead of discipline I taught them “goddammit,” and I felt bad for them but mostly I felt bad for myself.
He came home for lunch but the respite was brief because they wanted to sit on my lap before I’d finished my salad. And I was hungry. So I grumped and I gritched til I didn’t have to hold them, and I got to eat my salad, but he held the big-blue-eyed babies, and they laid curly heads on Daddy, and I could tell they were all filled.
Before he left, he reminded us about watering the new plants in the garden– strawberries and lettuce to grow and to grow on. So I heaved sighs and we donned shoes and I-know-I-know-you-want-me-to-tighten-the-strap.
I stood by the spigot, filling and refilling sun-bleached plastic watering cans, and my littlest girls made merry trails of drops, back and forth between a grumpy mama and a winter-worn garden. But after a few minutes of tuned-out refill duty, I noticed that they were watering weeds.
And I realized that’s what I’d been doing all day.
So I gently guided their efforts to watering the fruit- and flower-bearing plants, and after they decided our work was done, my two tiny girls delighted to pick me bouquets. And I could see that they were weeds, but in that moment, they looked just like flowers.