My parents had six children. We were noted as the chocolate version of The Brady Bunch. I am so not kidding! We had a mother, a father, three boys, three girls, a dog named Tiger, a maid named Alice, who had a boyfriend named Sam, and he worked at a grocery store as…you guessed it—a butcher!
I knew when I had a family of my own I would never in a zillion years have six kids. I was not even going to have three! We were pushin’ it at two! However, a wave of gratitude washed over me as I took two very healthy, gorgeous boys home to begin my life as a single parent. With one in training pants and the other one in a fresh pair of infant pampers, my head began to spin. For those of you with two or more kids, you know how it is. Prepare to self-destruct!
I entered the schizophrenic routine of changing diapers, potty training, pumping milk, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, rocking to sleep, reading bedtime stories, midnight feedings, early morning feedings, nightmare control, sitter drop-offs, sitter pick-ups, puke cleanup, washing dishes, CRASH! (Repeat).
My life became a rollercoaster of guessing why one baby was crying to soothing the tears of another who was able to voice his frustration just fine. There was no running away, no time-outs for mommy, no live-in psychologist, no nanny—nothing. I was left with the good sense God gave me to figure this thing out. In the middle of all the mayhem, my eldest would often walk up to me, lay his head on my lap and say, “Wuv you, mama.” It was the only thing at times that kept me sane.
I recall being so fatigued that while making breakfast one morning, I poured milk into a pot of grits. I have never claimed to be a Martha Stewart type, but everybody knows that milk in grits is not a new recipe. I found myself crying louder than they did, realizing if I didn’t get a break from the monotony of it all, I would snap. A friend of mine came over to help one day, and by the time she left, had downed three glasses of wine. I feared for her drive home but relished in the fact that someone identified with my pain. Come to think of it, I didn’t see her again for at least a year.
In all things, we must find a place of gratitude. Being from a family of dual births, I was excited that of the two pregnancies I had, neither produced a set of twins. My doctor made the mistake of telling a lame joke one day while having my sonogram completed.
“Oh, they appear to be doing really well!” He said. Forgetting where my legs were strategically placed, he almost caught a kick to the head.
“Don’t play with me like that ever again, or you will be seeing double for the rest of your life.” He laughed hysterically. I was just hysterical.
While at times it felt like I was raising twins, I found comfort in the words of my grandmother, who would assure me in her absence that “this too shall pass.” Until then, I would continue to take my blood pressure medication and hope for the best!
Laugh, people. It’s good for the soul!