I was feeling the burnout. The girls dragging their feet. Pushing the bedtime. Being goofy. Being too cute for the late hour.
They couldn’t agree on the stories. I already read one that ivy chose. Then trying to decide on a Japanese story, ivy requested a different one than jackie. And I decided to not push Jackie to take the high road just because she the oldest or more familiar.
So I sacrificed my Last ounce of energy and voice. These stories are not short. But I agreed to read both Japanese stories.
Ivy has been occasionally more needy in the evening; she asks me to stay with her After lights out. It’s not enough that she shares the room with her sister. She wants me. Not even daddy.
I read my own book next to her bed, sitting on the floor. It can get uncomfortable. Sometimes I sit in the armchair.
But as I stay on, after we give all the kisses and say all the prayers, often I have to ask them to settle down. And this nagging is exhausting. Other times I get completely absorbed by the story line of the book I’m reading at the time. Those evenings are easier.
Last night though, after dancing to their music, after their skipped the afternoon nap and quiet time. Jackie had to be encouraged along with her scoliosis exercises, Marc was here, we cut the grass at the garden… I sang to them, I prayed with them… and at the very end, Rambling just a little longer, Jackie said my specialty is scolding them. (A line she heard in a cartoon) She said It with a funny wink, a goofy smile. She was funny. And I laughed. But soon the message sunk in. It was the comment that pushed me over the edge. And it made me cry. Silently. And cry. I composed myself and I asked Jackie: so what’s daddy specialty? She said she doesn’t know. By now I guess she figured out she spoke out of turn.
I was emotionally, physically and mentally drained. How did I get here? And how come when you draw the line only my nagging remains.
I asked Jackie, Looking only at these last two weeks: who drove her to all her orthopedic appointments, fittings, therapy, gymnastic? Who took both of them to the dentist every week and held them in their lap on the dentist chair? Who cooks daily, sorts their room and toys, does the laundry, and reads them stories every day?
Really? My specialty is scolding them?
She said nothing. And as I sat there on the chair, the room got quiet. I thought: am I putting too much weight or drawing too much attention to my serving? But in the same breath, I remembered that my love language is “acts of service”. I love them. Despite their gratitude or lack there of.
I got up and sat on the balcony, watching the end of the sunset. I was so sad.
Conrad joined me and we talked. His approach to Jackie’s comment was more practical: “if she didn’t misbehave there wouldn’t be so much scolding.”
Then Saturday came around all rainy and grey. I still felt disconnected from Jackie. I was still hurt and I was surprised my pain didn’t go away over night. Her sassy attitude irritated me. But we made do. Later in the day I told her I forgive her for what she said the other night. I didn’t have to remind her what. She said she is sorry too.
Then conrad put the girls to bed. Ivy cried and cried. For mommy. I had a long chat. I held her in my arms while daddy read an English story to Jackie. She brought her pijamas so I would change her. But I stayed put. I told her I need an evening to recharge. And daddy is very capable and willing to put them to bed. She would not accept it. I’m surprised she let him brush her teeth. The wailing. The pleading. The calling. But today I had nothing left, no energy to spare. And my limit is a good reminder that I’m human. And that she’s going to be just fine going to bed without my sitting there. I even explained to both that I want to be a good and fun and patient mom, And for that I need to take care of myself too.
It was a cold shower of not getting what she wanted. Namely me to sit by her bedside to watch her fall asleep. But that is unreasonable long term.
They are both asleep. And today we survived bedtime without mommy.