by Ajike Akande
A few months ago I took things up a notch and adopted a little “5 minute (makeup) face” routine. I have come to truly love rosy cheeks and glossy lips, but I don’t spend the 5 minutes in front of the mirror applying makeup while trying to prevent my children, who are always crowded around me, from dumping multiple shades of blush on the floor, because I believe my beauty lives in a MAC bottle. I quite like a natural look. I spend the time because I don’t want the small children I see over the course of a day to be scared off by the dark circles and substantial puff around my eyes. Quite frankly, it’s not pretty and there is nothing natural about it. The puffy circles are the result of many years of having less sleep than required. Sleep deprivation is not natural it’s real but it’s person-made. Small, young person-made. My point, because there is one, is that this morning, I should have taken a big pass on the five minutes. I did some major weeping this morning a few hours after the makeup routine and I just ended up looking like a hot mess! Here’s why…
This morning, being no different from other mornings I did the face thing and I was looking bright, cheery and totally on top of my sh*t, if I do say so myself. Once all spiffied up, I packed up The Middles and The Littles to drive them (all of them) to school. I was taking F-Jammie and Mr. Lee to their first day of Preschool. For those of you who are just skimming this post, it bears repeating: F-Jammie and Mr. Lee went to Preschool for the first time today. Until now, The Littles have been left with one of three babysitters or family. We have never set them free with other children without a grown person of their own watching over them.
When they arrived at school and walked into their classroom, they were greeted by their super enthusiastic preschool teachers (You know, the kind of teachers who can smile through anything including a kid peeing their pants while they are holding them on their hip.) At first my guys were pretty happy. I told them that I would be back and left the room. Unfortunately, I made the rookie mistake and stayed in the building - out of sight but in earshot. When I heard Mr. Lee scream “No! Put me down! No! I want mommy!” I lost it. Really, really lost it. Can we say, ugly crying? I went over to the two-way mirror, (God’s little gift to the neurotic parent) and took a front row seat to view the movie Mr. Lee Has a Tantrum When He Realizes Mommy is Not Close By. (Can we just pause and think about who would play the part of me? Please post any thoughts in the comments.) I watched him carry on while being held by a smiling, calm teacher. I watched his twin sister, F-Jammie, follow him and the teacher around the room until he calmed down, which made me cry even more. She was making sure that her brother was okay. I wasn’t surprised; she is loving like that. I felt proud that she showed so much compassion for her brother but also guilty because she felt as though she had to make sure that her sad bro was being taken care of while mommy up and left.
We have been in the “baby” phase for years. We never “saw the light”. We were fortunate to be able to plan and have our children very close together. Please note that these plans were made assuming that we would have one baby at a time. Please also note that I am aware that we went for another round even after we had evidence suggesting that the assumption of one baby at a time was weak. Point is, after asking, “What the actual f%&k were we thinking?” about a million times, we settled into the all baby all the time, way of life. Seven years later, nobody is breast-feeding (Breast fondling – always; breast-feeding – never.) Daytime diapers and cribs are a thing of the past. Scooters are increasingly the mode of transportation and the stroller more often gets left at home. Things are changing. Praise God, things are changing. Also, I totally hate change.
After just over an hour, drinking hot coffee and thinking about my changing life, I went back to the school to pick up The Middles and The Littles. These are the happy, suddenly older, proud-of-themselves, sibling-loving faces that came through the door.
I have felt drained, the way you do after a good cry, all day. The makeup has been wiped away by the waterworks and I can’t seem to lose the home-sicky feeling in my gut. I guess the home-sicky feeling makes sense. When we are home, we are surrounded by the familiar, what we are used to. I am used to being a mommy to babies. I have never had babies grow out of babyhood without another baby, two actually, to take their place. I am losing a little bit of what is familiar. It really is time, but I still feel a little home-sicky. I wonder if my babies, The Littles, feel the same.
P.S. I am looking for excuses not to go grocery shopping the two mornings a week that The Littles are at school. Who wants to meet up for hot coffee?