Thursday, April 11, 2013

This Is Hard

I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Brian was bathing the kids. As I scrubbed the kitchen sink I started writing this very post in my head. I wondered how I might go about apologizing for yet another post full of complaining.

It's been a long, hard week, I thought.

And then the tears came.

Forget week. It's been a long, hard few months.

Katherine has been sick again. The third or fourth (I've lost count) time in the past two months that she's been throwing up.

Whenever someone throws up my whole being becomes tense. It's like a ticking time bomb. Who will get it next? Can I keep the baby from getting it? Can I keep myself from getting it? Does my stomach hurt? Did I just hear someone else cry out from their bedroom?

And when it's Katherine and she hasn't gotten better and she's fallen off the weight chart my anxiety builds even further. What if something is wrong with her? Like, really wrong? I think about bringing her in to the doctor and then I think about the round of routine tests they will likely run on her and how those tests will more than likely come back normal and I'll hear the dreaded response, "It was probably just a virus all along." All those needle sticks and blood draws for nothing.

And it probably, hopefully, is a string of really bad viruses. But GOD HELP ME if I have to change and wash her bedding one more time. In the middle of the night. At the exact time Bobby is waking up for a feeding.

Brian is right there in the trenches with me. But I know this is a busy time of year for him and I feel guilty that I make him feel guilty because he gets to go to work. He worked from home on Tuesday and I was helping him with some spreadsheets. (I secretly love spreadsheets and Excel functions. I'm looking at you, VLookup!) While he grabbed a call some of his calendar reminders popped up on the screen. I opened his calendar and saw it packed with calls and meetings and follow-up reminders. Then I saw his cluttered Inbox and the number of unread emails. The feeling of what it's like to be in the professional world came rushing back to me. That pressure. It can't be duplicated anywhere else.

And so I took a moment to be thankful for Brian. But also still wishing a little teeny tiny bit that I had daycare lined up the next day so that I too could go into the office for a day.

It's hard for me to air all this out on the old blog. I can still feel the nay-sayers. The people that rolled their eyes when we told them we wanted four kids in this day and age. And the people that rolled their eyes even further when they heard our last two were but 14 months apart.

So, yes, in case you were wondering, THIS IS FRICKEN HARD. It's the hardest work I've ever done in my entire life. Getting up every single day, after a night of little to no sleep, and meeting the needs of four little people. Four little people who each deserve my undivided attention. Who each deserve three healthy meals. And time on my lap. And a story before bed. And clean clothes and clean sheets. And a mom who smiles more than sighs. And one who has more thoughtful words than just yelling. And someone to tell them they're doing a dang good job even when they've been a little naughty.

If a friend tells me she's going to try to complete a marathon would I roll my eyes and tell her there's no way? Would I balk if she got injured during training? Would I laugh if she started crying at mile 14?

I wouldn't. I would be cheering her on like all good friends do. Knowing that completing a marathon isn't one of my personal goals but it sure as heck is one of hers and far be it for me to be the one who brings bad energy into her light.

That's my way of thanking you, dear reader, for putting up with some of my Debbie Downer posts. All your comments and emails, they lift me up. You're right there with me in those dark days knowing full well that this is hardest work there is. And yet.

And yet.

Somehow it's still the best work there is. A paradox until the end of time.

My Bobby, who was a little iffy in the beginning, has turned into just the cutest, smiliest, sweetest tank of a baby boy you ever could find.
And my William, whose only real request in life is just for someone to take a few minutes, look him in the eye and hear him. Really hear him.
And my Katherine, who is still as dear and sweet as ever.  Please get better, my love, so we can hear more of the cutest chit chat in the whole wide world.  Like sugar for my eardrums. 
And my Lucy.  Well, to be honest, I'm still a little peeved about the scene you made this afternoon at Trader Joe's.  And I'm able to laugh about it now only because you are currently sound asleep in your bed.  I continue to believe you will move mountains.  Either as an Oscar-winning actress or the best puzzle putter-together. 
And let's not forget about you, Scarecrow. We all know if you weren't there at the end of each day to make me laugh and pour my beer I'd probably be committed to a psych ward or standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump.
So there it is.  The good.  The bad.  And the really fricken hard.


  1. What a great comparison...the marathon. You're absolutely right. We should treat each other like friends who support friends and leave all the judgement behind. I know I always feel guilty about complaining because I'm afraid people will think "I told you have 3 so close in age would be crazy...and those last two at 18 mos apart!"

    But you're right ...this is my marathon. And you have yours. And we'll make it through it even stronger and with a huge sense of accomplishment.,

    Praying for you and your sweet family Jenny.
    (From a mom whose 3 kids have had at least 10 viruses since september...hopefully last week's was the end of it).

  2. Yep...this is pretty hard alright. But somehow it seems like it comes in patches of good, beautiful and then the fricken hard. It's a good patch right now. Good grades, good sports, good weather, good job, good dog, good haircut...just good. Thank God for the good days. Just one of them makes all the hard days livable.

    Your good days are right around the corner...I promise.

  3. I'm a friend of Reid and Jackie's and so enjoy both yours and Jackie's blogs. I was there a few years back with 3 kids close in age. At the time I thought it would never hubby and I having disagreements on whose job is the hardest...thinking I will NEVER get enough sleep..and yes once one kid is sick will they all get it. It does get better and easier!! My kids are now 9 11 and 13 and yes there are other issues but it doesn't mean I don't complain and wish certain things would pass. You have the most right in the whole world to complain and get frustrated!! It IS the HARDEST job in the whole world that you do. Keep up the good work.

  4. Oh Jenny i never tire of reading your trials and tribulations! You have a real talent of getting across your true feelings and we all say,yes,we know exactly what shes talking about!Keep up the day brighteners,the sun will come out tommorrow,bet your bottom dollar!!:)

  5. Yay! My mom can comment again! ;) You're an awesome writer Jenny and I don't get to see you so I love hearing what you are up to and love watching your kids grow. It's nice to see that we're not alone in the parenting world, no matter how many kiddos. It is hard. And well worth every second of it. What do people do who don't have kids anyway? I totally forgot what that is like!


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