You know that song that the kids sing about the ants that go marching one-by-one? Hurrah. Hurrah. Well, then there’s the part of the song where they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain. What happens if they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain and they all get in a muddle because there’s a giant puddle? What if the rain doesn’t stop for days? Those ants march and march and march, and the water keeps coming and eventually the flood overtakes them, right? Who builds the tiny ant raft for them? Who?
That’s what life feels like sometimes. It feels like marching. It feels like days go by one-by-one. Sometimes, I have “ants” marching beside me, but mostly I feel like I’m my own little army, marching along. Every day, I go through the same verse over and over again. It’s the same pattern.
Alarm clock goes off. Hit it, 10 minutes. Alarm clock goes off. Must get up, but my body is tired.
Kids are up. Get Big Guy dressed. He doesn’t want to wear that. Take him to his dresser so he can pick out his clothes. If he doesn’t pick out his own clothes he won’t wear them. Oh, the mind of a 2 year old. Potty time. Get him dressed.
Make sure Squeaker got medicated. Get him to the car. The Manager made sure he got dressed and medicated, so we’re good. Please, lord, don’t let him fight getting in the car.
In the car. Keep eyes open to drive.
Almost to Squeaker’s school. Remind him to put his shoes and socks on. Make sure I wrote in his notebook from the day before so I don’t look neglectful even though they probably hate how involved I am.
At school. Beg Squeaker to walk faster while he slow-walks while simultaneously chasing the reflection of the fluorescent lights on the floor. Try to get all my sweet moments in because these might be the only ones I have today. I love how polite his words are in the morning. Hugs and kisses when we get inside. Quick “hi” to his teacher through choked-back tears because I know I’m late for work again, and I leave.
Drive to work. Driving faster than I’m supposed to, but just under the amount that I know I will get pulled for. Willing the clock to somehow slow down. Upset that the school schedule unfairly changed so that my school starts earlier and his school still starts at the same time (later than mine). I hate snow days forever. Five minutes late now feels like ten and ten feels like fifteen.
Smile. Smile. Try to smile when you go inside. I haul my stuff out of the car. I never go home without work. Brave smile. I can smile. Everything is fine. “Are you doing okay?” Someone asks me. Smile fail. Tears stifled.
Go to class. Go to class. Meetings. Planning. Never getting it all done. Never satisfying my team. No one is ever happy. I bust my ass for people who don’t appreciate it. Those who praise me get a sheepish thanks because I sure don’t believe I deserve it. Telling anyone anything unpleasant feels like failure. Best to keep it to myself. I’m one of the last cars in the parking lot to leave. Somehow this doesn’t mean I don’t bring work home. My crate rolls behind me to the car.
Time to get Squeaker. Hopefully he’s in a good mood. If not, I get hit. Or yelled at. Or my seat gets kicked. He will go to his room for it, but it won’t matter. Hopefully our night goes well. If not, we will be cleaning crap off the walls, literally. I will still have work to do. I will still be tired. My body will still hurt.
I don’t eat enough. I don’t sleep enough. I don’t smile enough. I don’t have enough friends. I don’t talk to my husband. No matter what, nothing feels like enough.
I keep marching.
And what about the rain? It keeps coming. Those are my tears. Except I’m finding they keep coming down, down, down. I’m not stopping for them because I don’t have time. I have children, work, a husband, and all of that calls for me. Everybody and everything needs me. I just need someone to throw me a raft so I can keep going.