Today I Will Put Myself First


Today I will put myself first. At the tippy-top of the list. The kids can get themselves up for school, and get their own lunch and snacks made, they can take themselves there too. I will let the dishwasher sit un-emptied, which means the piled up dishes on the side of the sink will sit there another day, the clothes will go un-folded, and I will leave the Play-Dough from last night sitting on the table and ground into the rug. The scattered Legos and dress-up dresses can stay where they are too, all over the living room floor.
I won’t even think about why I didn’t do that stuff yesterday. Because during my three and a half hours when Jesse, my three-year-old, was in “school,” I was grocery shopping for the family, returning a shirt my I bought for my husband but it was too small, stopping at Target for yet more Diaper Genie refills (isn’t a three-year-old supposed to be out of diapers by now?), and helping a friend become more acquainted with a software package she bought, and I already own.
I will not pick Jesse up from school at 12, get her lunch, and go back for Nathan, my five-year-old, at one. When my friend calls and says her son would love to come over for a play date, I will say, can Nathan come over there? I woke up at three in the morning last night and was up for two hours and I need a nap.
When Nate’s friend is here, instead of keeping my eyes peeled and the cookies and drinks flowing, I will go up to my room and shut my door and act like they do not exist.
When my daughter wakes up from her nap, just after Nathan’s friend has left, I will not listen to my son and my daughter pick at each other for the smallest transgressions towards one another. Instead, I will get a book and read. I will read the trashiest romance novel I can find and pretend that it is my husband and me, little rabbits doing it all the time. In my fantasy we will actually have swing-from-the-ceiling-fan fun while doing it after nine years of marriage, two children and a collapsing housing market, when our income depends on his being a top-notch builder of luxury homes.
Tonight when my children cry out in the night, I will sleep right through it. Nathan coughing so hard he is up for two hours and throwing up, twice. And just as soon as I doze off from that episode Jesse calls out and tells me she has “tumbled” from her bed and hurt her butt (BTW – her bed is a converted crib, into a toddler bed which looks like a day-bed, or a crib with the front taken off. Then we put a bed rail in front of her, so that she only has a small space to the right-hand side to crawl in to her bed. How did she “tumble out of that?). This, after she already called me once before Nathan woke up because of a bad dream. I suppose this could be happening because she is coming off of steroids from having the croup. I had to take her to the emergency room last Sunday because she did not stop coughing, literally, all day long. A call to the pediatrician, and off we went at 10 p.m. to the emergency room for a breathing treatment that did not work.
Nope, I will not do any of these things today. No sir, I will put myself at the top of the list. I see my couch here… looking so inviting. I think I will lay my head down for just a minute, or five….
“Mommy!” It’s my son. Standing in the doorway. His big, beautiful blue-green eyes looking at me a little bewildered.
“What are you doing laying there?” he says. “I thought you were bringing me some tea.”
Oh yeah! I knew there was something I was supposed to do when I came up from our basement (it’s a finished man-cave, complete with three TVs on the back wall for sports watching – perfect for sick children to lay and watch TV). In my reverie, I forgot that my son stayed home from school today with that cough from last night. I forgot that I left him downstairs and I was coming up to the kitchen to make him a cup of tea to soothe his throat and help him feel better.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will put myself first. At the tippy-top of my list. After all, there’s always tomorrow, right?

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