Maybe it was my expectations. Maybe it was my sleep deprivation. Maybe it was my raging hormones of being 17 weeks pregnant, but my birthday this year stunk. Literally, because poopy diapers still need changed even on birthdays. My 29th birthday was no different than any other day — except it was actually worse.
From the wee morning hours at the first wake-up call from my one-and-half-year-old's crib, it was constant crying for who knows why. By 11 a.m., my morning had been filled with non-stop whining of all my children. Having four kids whose moods play off each other into a chorus of crankiness, that can be a common scene here. My three-year-old is at that wonderful phase where she asks for something, then that something isn't good enough anymore — such as the case of the flour tortilla she wanted for a snack. First it was ripped like a half moon, then the new one was too whole and she wanted the half moon her little sister now had. I didn't want to do these battles on my birthday.
As the high pitched sound of complaints weaseled their way into my ears, my mood began matching theirs. So much for a happy birthday.
My expectations seemed to be low in my own eyes. I didn't need a party, presents to open, or even a single cupcake to blow a candle out on. I just wanted to feel loved and valued. I wanted a peaceful home for one day. I wanted these little helpers I'm raising to want to give me the gift of their time out of their love for me.
Instead I was left feeling undervalued. Supposedly they do love me, but if I asked for help I was met with whines and refusals. I was physically tired and weary of the constant “have to do's” for other people — not to mention growing another human. I just wanted a day to ignore those duties and someone to take over. Just one day. But, still things had to get done in preparation for the week ahead. The piles of dishes needed washed, the floor needed swept so the ants would stay away, the kid's uniforms needed washed so they can attend school tomorrow, the toys needed picked up, and the cat box needed rid of its stench. Is having a day off too extreme of a gift? Apparently it is.
I shared my disappointment with my kids (maybe even shed a few tears. I'm certain hormones were playing a leading role here) and then holed myself up into my room to escape the messy downstairs and the irritable children. Us moms deserve that for one day, right? Or at least an hour?
And then I finally heard it — the clank of silverware being put into drawers and the orders from their father for everyone to do their tasks at hand. Sure enough, it was done in no time when they finally used their little hands and stopped rebelling. My husband always knows how to be my tangible rock, my leader, my strength when I don't have any left to give. Eventually I did get my birthday gift, but is a gift that you have to beg for with tears really a gift?
I miss the days when birthdays meant feeling special. This year I didn't expect to have a birthday with tears, but sometimes we just have to sit in their puddles and feel them. Experience them, release them, and move on with fresh hope that the rest of the day will be better. Or, at least next year. Then, again, maybe next year I'm just going to expect a completely normal day — doing dishes and all.