Some memories don’t visit you but cement themselves as permanent landmarks in your mind.
Like the one formed when my good friend, the one with much older kids, swings by for a visit when the house looks like we’ve been livin’ large and cleanin’ little. And if you define “livin’ large” as surviving a house full of sick little people, then we have. Answering the doorbell, I shrug off the state of the house knowing my friend is no stranger to this stage of life.
As I walk toward the door, I look down at my baby girl asleep in my arms, body warm and worn out from a persistent virus. I open the door with one hand and smile, cock my head to quietly welcome my friend inside. Shutting the door behind her, I move to the sofa and clear off a mound of plastic dinosaurs so we can sit. We chat quietly for five minutes when James and Ethan, finally fever-free, run hollering into the room. My eyebrows furrow and I Shhh! them harshly, pointing to their sister. The baby wakes and I sigh exasperated. Swaying with my baby in my arms, I risk a see-through heart and confess,
“Ya know, some days with little ones are just so hard.”
I smooth hair out of my daughter’s eyes, and I’m blind to the forthcoming response.
“Well, you’re the ones who decided to have kids. What did you expect?”
I stare at her as her words ricochet off the walls and hit my heart. I hear the message loud and clear,
Quit whining, wimp.
That’ll teach you to be vulnerable, I say to myself.