"Mommy, Somebody Needs You."

by Megan Minneman Morton Ever since we brought our new daughter home, her older brothers have been the first to tell me when she is crying, whimpering, or smelling a little suspicious.  "Somebody needs you," they say.  I have no idea how this little saying started, but at first it sort of annoyed me.  I could be enjoying a quick shower... "Mommy, somebody needs you.  The baby is crying."  Or, sitting down for a second, quite aware that the baby was beginning to stir from a nap.... "Mama, somebody needs you!"  Okay!  I get it already!  And not to mention that the newborn's needs pale in comparison to the needs of 2 little boys.  Somebody always needs a snack, a band-aid, a different sock, ice cubes in their water, a NEW Paw Patrol, a stream of snot wiped, a hug, a story, a kiss.  Some days never seem to end, and the monotony of being "needed" can really take its toll. Then, it all started to hit me, they need ME.  Not anybody else.  Not a single other person in the whole world.  They need their Mommy.

The sooner I can accept that being Mommy means that I never go off the clock, the sooner I can find peace in this crazy stage of life.   That 'Mommy' is my duty, privilege and honor. I am ready to be there when somebody needs me, all day and all night.  Mommy means I just put the baby back down after her 4am feeding when a 3-year-old has a nightmare.  Mommy means I am surviving on coffee and toddler leftovers.  Mommy means my husband and I haven't had a real conversation in weeks.  Mommy means I put their needs before my own, without a thought.  Mommy means that my body is full of aches and my heart is full of love.

I am sure there will come a day when no one needs me.  My babies will all be long gone and consumed with their own lives.  I may sit alone in some assisted living facility watching my body fade away.  No one will need me then.  I may even be a burden.  Sure, they will come visit, but my arms will no longer be their home.  My kisses no longer their cure.  There will be no more tiny boots to wipe the slush from or seat belts to be buckled.  I will have read my last bedtime story, 7 times in a row.  I will no longer enforce time outs.  There will be no more bags to pack and unpack or snack cups to fill.  I am sure my heart will yearn to hear those tiny voices calling out to me, "Mommy, somebody needs you!"

So for now, I find beauty in the peaceful 4am feedings in our cozy little nursery.  We are perched above the naked oak trees in our own lavender nest.  We watch the silent snow fall and a bunny scampering across its perfect white canvas.  It's just me and my little baby, the neighborhood is dark and still.  We alone are up to watch the pale moon rise and the shadows dance along the nursery wall.  She and I are the only ones to hear the barn owl hooting in the distance.  We snuggle together under a blanket and I rock her back to sleep.  It's 4am and I am exhausted and frustrated, but it's okay, she needs me.  Just me.  And maybe, I need her too.  Because she makes me Mommy.  Some day she will sleep through the night.  Some day I will sit in my wheelchair, my arms empty, dreaming of those quiet nights in the nursery.  When she needed me and we were the only two people in the world.

Can I enjoy being needed?  Sometimes, sure, but often it is tiring.  Exhausting.  But, it isn't meant to be enjoyed every moment.  It is a duty.  God made me their Mom.  It is a position I yearned for long before I would ever understand it.  Over a 3 day weekend my husband couldn't believe how many times our boys kept saying, "Mommy.  Mommy.  Mommy"!  "Are they always like this?" he asked not able to hide his terror, and sympathy.  "Yep.  All day, everyday.  That's my job."  And I have to admit that it is the toughest job I have ever had.  In a previous life I was a restaurant manager for a high volume and very popular chain in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  A Saturday night at 7:30pm with the expo window overflowing with dishes, a 2 hour wait, and the electricity inexplicably going out has got nothing on a Tuesday, 5:00pm at the Morton house.  And let me tell ya, South Florida diners are some of the toughest to please.  But, they are a cake walk compared to sleep-deprived toddlers with low blood sugar.

Once upon a time, I had time.  For myself.  Now, my toe nails need some love.  My bra fits a little differently.  My curling iron might not even work anymore, I don't know.  I can't take a shower without an audience.  I've started using eye cream.  I don't get carded any more.  My proof of motherhood.  Proof that somebody needs me.  That right now, somebody always needs me.  Like last night...

At 3am I hear the little footsteps entering my room.  I lay still, barely breathing.  Maybe he will retreat to his room.  Yeah right.

"Mommy."

"Mommy."  A little louder.

"Yes".  I barely whisper.

He pauses, his giant eyes flashing in the dim light.

"I love you."

And just like that, he is gone.  Scampered back to his room.  But, his words still hang in the cool night air.  If I could reach out and snatch them, I would grab his words and hug them to my chest.  His soft voice whispering the best sentence in the world.  I love you.  A smile curls across my lips and I slowly exhale, almost afraid to blow the memory away.  I drift back to sleep and let his words settle into my heart.

One day that little boy will be a big man.  There will no longer be any sweet words whispered to me in the wee hours.  Just the whir of the sound machine and the snoring husband.  I will sleep peacefully through the night, never a worry of a sick child or a crying baby.  It will be but a memory.  These years of being needed are exhausting, yet fleeting.  I have to stop dreaming of "one day" when things will be easier.  Because, the truth is, it may get easier, but it will never be better than today.  Today, when I am covered in toddler snot and spit up.  Today, when I savor those chubby little arms around my neck.  Today is perfect.  "One day" I will get pedicures and showers alone.  "One day" I will get myself back.  But, today I give myself away, and I am tired, and dirty and loved SO much, and I gotta go.  Somebody needs me.

SomebodyNeedsYou

SomebodyNeedsYou

What I Learned on a Beach Vacation. With Toddlers.

We just arrived home from a week-long family trip to the Gulf of Mexico.  So, once the vacation is over I am finally finding some time to relax.  Which is what I thought I would be doing on the actual vacation.  Parents of toddlers, you know what I'm saying.  Here are some of my thoughts and reflections of our little sandy, sunny getaway... 1. I am writing the script for a new movie starring Samuel L. Jackson titled, "Snacks on a Plane". It's a horror film.

2. My husband and I should swallow whatever pride remains and start using one of those beach gear transporters that looks like a shopping cart from Kohl's with off-roading wheels. The "older folks" on the beach looked quite comfortable pushing their hat and one towel in said transporter. Meanwhile we are both dripping in sweat carrying our towels, lotions, sippy cups, balls, shovels, trucks, kitchen sink... Maybe using those beach carts is like buying a minivan. Just go ahead and do it. You're really not that cool anymore anyways.

3.  You can get sick on vacation in a tropical climate.

4.  Sick kids like to share their wisdom at 3am while on vacation.  "Mommy, did you know your computer keys sound like raindrops?"  "Mommy, I have decided I will be having a pirate party for my birthday."

5.  Brothers sharing a room on vacation can lead to some pretty hilarious late-night chatter.  I am actually impressed at how advanced their bathroom humor has become at such a young age. Pack a monitor, sit back, and enjoy.

6.  Ziploc bags are THE greatest invention ever.  Ever.  I will fully explain this in a later post.

7.  No matter how tired you may be lugging all the beach gear down, rubbing lotion on every inch of pink skin, attempting to follow a responsible bedtime, packing the bags, unpacking the bags, wiping sand out of eyes, and wiping sand out of other places.  Nothing compares to watching four happy little feet scamper through the waves and hearing their hearty giggles as they splash in the sparkling sun.

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A Day in the Life of... a Diaper Bag

Hi there.  I am a diaper bag.  I used to be pretty cute, black and gray, Coach.  I've been slugged and flung through every restaurant, airport, playdate, doctor's office, front seat, back seat, zoo train, elevator, drive thru, story time, church pew and escalator this side of the White River.  Now, I'm not saying "The Mom" doesn't love me, I know she does.  She held me so tight when her husband gave me to her for her first Mother's Day.  She used to clean me out every couple of weeks, now I think it's been a few months.  I've just been feeling kind of down lately.  Maybe it's this long winter, or maybe it's because I am stored down, down on the bottom shelf of the coat closet.  I guess it's because the little brother doesn't pull all my contents out any more and scatter them around the entire first floor.  "The Mom" used to get so upset when he did this, but I didn't mind.  I thought it was pretty funny, and the little brother sure did too.  At least I was getting lots of attention. I love warm weather!  That means I get to go to so many great places and work hard.  I love to work, I mean, what do you think all these pockets, and zippers, and compartments are for?  Sitting on the bottom shelf of a closet?  So, here is what happened today...

6:30am  I hear footsteps upstairs.  Someone is up!  The day is starting.

6:35am  The coffee maker starts running, and yes, that is the closet opening. Yippee!  I am going somewhere today!

6:37am   False alarm.  The mom was just looking for her yoga mat.

7:23am  I'm being set on the counter!  This is happening!  I am going somewhere!

8:03am  Help!  It's a stampede!  It's buffalo!  Oh, it's just breakfast.

9:15am  I am being filled with snack bags and water cups.  While you are in there lady, do you think you could take out a few of the Cheerios that have been down here for about a year?

9:38am The big brother has to go potty, and I get a front-row view now that I am sitting in the back hall.  He is trying to teach the little brother how to go on the potty.  No! Don't do it!  I need you little brother, don't grow out of diapers yet!

9:41am  Phew.  The little bro announced that he will "not be going on the potty until I am much bigger".  The mom looks upset, however, I am smiling from zipper to zipper!

9:47am  I survive the back hall chaos.  Shoes are flying, coats are landing on me, someone is crying.  Oh, wait, watch out!  Don't bite, don't land on me!  Oh brother, brothers.  Can't you just put your shoes on and get out the door like your mom is asking?

9:48am  Little brother sneaks a milk cup inside me.  I can already tell it's leaking.  Oh great.

9:54am  I finally make it into the big, shiny minivan!  We pick up a grandma and head to the shoe store.  Shoe store?!  Perfect.  Little brother always has to go #2 there.

10:17am  I am in the shoe store and watching big brother try on some shoes that light up.

10:18am  Where is little brother?

10:20am  Found him.  In the corner, going #2.

10:21am  Off I go with the mom to the bathroom.  Please let them have a hook, please let them have a hook!

10:22am  No hook.  Man, if only I could reach that Lysol from down here on this dirty bathroom floor.

10:41am  Back in the minivan and someone is throwing stickers on me.

11:28am  Are we pulling into the Dr.'s office?  Again?

11:59am Still waiting to see the Dr.  I am being ransacked!  No!  I do not have 3 Etch a Sketches!  Calm down people, have a snack!  I, I think I'm blacking out.

12:55pm  I am coming to.  I think I am back in the van.  Wow.  What happened in here?  Is that someone's sock on the dashboard?  The mom looks like she could use a glass of wine or something.  Wait, please tell me that is chocolate on her sleave!

1:15pm  I am set back in the hallway as the kids take off their shoes, coats, scream, run, kick...

1:18pm Little brother is rummaging through me.  He found his milk cup.  And he is eating the year-old Cheerios.  Gross.

1:23pm  Toddler fight!  Someone took someone's Jake and the Neverland pirate ship.  Blah, blah, blah.  Must be about nap time.

1:28pm  The mom is wiping big brother's tears in the back hall.

"It's ok Buddy, I love you."

He wraps his chubby little arms around her neck.

"Mommy, I love you all the way to the North Pole and back".

I'll take a front row seat for that any time. I better rest up.  They might need me later!  It's a good day to be a diaper bag.