It is now just past 8pm, but my day started at about 4am as usual. Axel stirred in his crib, Ethan whined for his milk, the husband rolled over and muttered “sorry honey, I love you”. Only the kitchen light was on. The humming of the refrigerator seemed very loud during these early mornings. The formula powder and bottle were ready on the counter. I tried to open my eyes wide and not trip over my own feet. I was just up an hour ago! After I nursed Axel again and gave Ethan his bottle, I laid down on Ethan’s bed and waited for him to finish drinking. I should have a blanket for myself nearby, note to self. Ethan looked around the room, then at me. Rubbed his eyes and with the bottle teat still in his mouth he said “hug”. I sat up and placed his sleepy body in my lap. “Ethan, it’s night night time. Mommy’s tired. Mommy night night. Daddy night night. Axel night night. Ethan night night. Okay? Mommy’s tired.” I put him back by his pillow and laid down with my eyes closed. Sometimes I fall asleep and stay with him several hours. Sometimes I cannot go back to sleep. Sometimes he cannot go back to sleep and we both end up watching Kung Fu Panda three times before the husband gets up for work. This time, luckily, he fell back asleep and I was able to go back to my own bed. I love my bed. The duvet pushed over inviting me to return to its warmth. I hug my pillow and let my feet rest on the husbands legs. Sleep. I’m so tired.
Two hours later. Two hours? Wow I felt awake. I slept two hours straight. It was a deep sleep, I dreamed something about Leo getting his car fixed at a garage located inside the London underground. He stood on a balcony outside that garage looking down at me as I stood in our old gravel driveway in Hartville. As always, there was a Sainsbury’s nearby. In real life, I rarely shop there. We are a Tesco family. Anyhow, I got up and did the morning routine. Nappy changes for the boys, breakfast for me and Ethan, morning TV for the boys while I did the dishes and put in a load of laundry. I then wait for Axel to have his morning poop and nap. Motherhood. There are days where my entire day is revolved around their bowel movements. From Ethan needing comfort and encouragement from being constipated and whining to Axel making a big heap of mess creating more laundry. Who would have known? The moms who did know, never told me! I picked up Axel from his bouncy chair, an instant smile lit up his face. He seems to have this unspeakable unconditional love for me. He smiles at the sound of my voice, or the touch of a tickle, and even more so when we look into each other’s eyes and coo at one another. He may only be a few months old, but I feel he has his “baby way” of letting me know he loves me. And my heart melts. “Look Ethan, it’s Axel! Axel, there’s big brother Ethan! Hi! Good morning!” Ethan’s attention turned to us. “Ax-hole!” he exclaimed happily. The two brothers look at each other. Ethan hugged him, then pointed out his hair, head, ears, nose, cheeks, chin, arms, hands, feet, mouth, and eyes to me. Then he pointed out all the same body parts on himself. “What a relief it is all there eh Ethan? Oh! Show Axel your dinosaurs!” He ran to find the best ones. One in each hand and always a T Rex in one of them. He showed Axel what they can do. “Biting. Fighting. Hug. Kisses.” He then placed the dinosaur’s head on his own mouth and said “kisses.” What a lovely T Rex he has. It was going on 9 o’clock and we were all still in our pyjamas. What would be the point of getting dressed? Do I get dressed so I can hang laundry outside just in case the neighbours see me? Nah, I really don’t care about that. Do I get dressed in case someone visits me? Nah, only Emma pops in and she is my sister so again I don’t care. I’ll get dressed because it will motivate me to do more than I would if I were to stay in pyjamas all day. But I’m tired. Exhausted. My eyes refused to stay open. Axel went down for his morning nap and today, so did I. Ethan got to watch Kung Fu Panda again. Well, he had to, it hasn’t left the DVD player for two days.
My sister called. “Can I come over? I just need to make a phone call and sort out this visa application. These people are idiots.” I was still in bed, in my pyjamas, but awake enough that I considered myself “safe”. Let me explain. One night when Ethan was about six months old, I was so exhausted and delirious that I almost dropped him. An experience like that just does something to ya. Ever since, I decided it is better for the kids to complain in their cribs and I catch a nap than for me to be THAT tired. “Sure, when?” “I’ll be on the 10:28 bus.” “Okay, see you then.” I put the phone down on the bed. Ethan had come in and stood waiting for me. I pulled him next to me with a great big cuddle. There are moments I miss sharing a bed with my Ethan. I don’t mind his kicks, his sweaty hair or his whistling nose. I just love my babies next to me.
An hour later Emma tapped on our back door. Outside looked like it fit every stereotype about England. Cloudy, wet air, grayish and depressing. Her shoes were wet and muddy. But her smile lit up the atmosphere in the apartment. “I won’t be long. I have to start work at 12:30.” “No worries, do what you gotta do.” I busied myself wiping the condensation from all the windows. I had one ear keeping track of what the kids were doing, and the other ear tuned into eavesdropping. I wanted to know what went wrong with her application, what was going to happen next and if I could help or offer my endless wisdom to my innocent little sister. I caught a few key words. The rest got muffled with Axel’s cries and Cbeebies. My mind raced with several ideas of what my sister could do with her life. Where she could go. Options she would not be able to come up with if it were not for me. I feel responsible for her. Even though she is 23. But it’s her life to decide, not mine. Sometimes it is difficult to step aside and not intervene. Big sisters always know best, right? I then flashback over my life the past ten years. There was no way I could have made sense of any of it at the present time it happened, only now looking back do I see why things had to be as they were. And the only thing that kept me from falling was my faith that everything happened for a reason. I may not know the reason, but there is a reason and even if I don’t know what it is, God does. I trust Him the most.
It is long past 8pm as I first mentioned at the beginning, it is 9:08pm. I’m tired. A repetitive statement of mine since becoming a mother. This day shall be written about, just not yet. I long to be in my pyjamas again and my bed looks ever so inviting. Each night when I go to bed I always hope to catch a few hours sleep before the disruptions begin. It has happened on many occasions that the very moment I make myself comfortable, and completely relaxed and ready for a dream that awaits me, one of those boys scream for me! The kind that cannot be ignored. The type of crying where I know I better jump up right now before it becomes an unbearable sound I label as ‘noise pollution’. Too much of it straight into my ear and I battle my own temper tantrum! Yes, I am tired. I’ll tell you about the rest of my day next time, it got much better and more interesting….