I wasn't due to return home until today. But as luck would have it, our meeting ended a day early. When I arrived home last night - after battling traffic on the 101, 405 and 5 for almost four hours ... and narrowly avoiding a horrible car accident when the two
The stress of a week away, immediately started to melt off my shoulders.
As soon as I hugged my husband - and showered loving on all of my children - Charlie sized me up and down. He then smiled and said, "Wow. I'm having flashbacks to when you were pregnant with the triplets!"
Surely he meant because I have the trademark 'pregnant woman glow' ... that emanates from the new life blossoming within me.
Instead, he said, "Yes, it's amazing how ... puffy you've gotten this week!"
Charlie realized the error of his ways when I told him that he must have meant "puffy" like the lip I was going to give him - if he ever said that kind of thing to me again, while I'm feeling frumpy enough as it is. Thankfully, he made up for his comment 10-fold when he ran out to the store and bought me some peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, because my supply had mysteriously vanished.
This morning, Charlie took off for an important meeting, early. For the first time in almost a week, I was on my own with the children. I've written about this kind of situation before and what it is like coming back in to the triplet environment, when you've been out for a few days. The only analogy that adequately conjures the experience - is to imagine being dropped off on an island with cannibals and you've accidentally smothered yourself in A-1 steak sauce, instead of Coppertone.
Less than 5 minutes after all the kids were out of their cribs ... I was losing my mind. William was horribly whiny, Carolyn was grabbing everything off the counters, and Elizabeth was using her toy broom to knock pictures off the walls. The lot of them were attacking my suitcase, that had yet to be unpacked, and were throwing toiletries in every direction.
Unlike most mornings where I get up and get dressed before the kids ... today, I was still in my pajamas. I hadn't brushed my teeth, gone to the bathroom, or looked in the mirror.
It didn't take long before I was yelling at my children. I was sending everyone in to time out. William was sobbing in one corner ... Carolyn was sobbing in another ... Elizabeth was sobbing in another.
I was sobbing, too. Not on the outside - but on the inside. I wasn't thinking so much about how rotten of a mother I was for yelling at my babies - that I hadn't seen in almost a week - but rather, how much I was looking forward to my
Never before did I understand that.
Now, I do.
Slowly, methodically and with a strong focus on deep breathing ... I began to regain my composure. I prepared breakfast, got everyone dressed, read stories, and set about cleaning the house. Let's face it - I was gone for the better part of a week and although Charlie does a fantastic job on his own - when I mention "Pledge" he thinks I mean "To the Flag".
At the moment: the kids are napping and the house is partially tidy. I probably would have made better progress on the cleaning front, if the kids hadn't been following me around and pulling out everything I had just put away, and trying to catch rides on the vacuum.
As I'm sitting down - for the first time all day - I'm noticing that my cankles have returned. Charlie was right ... I am puffy. I have swollen feet and a hole in my shoe. And, I yell at my children. And, I threaten my husband with bodily harm when he simply tells me the truth.
If we weren't in an environment where it was 70 degrees and sunny ... I'd be overjoyed that Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow today. I should probably take advantage of this weather and sit in the sun. I do have a glow ... but, it might be more aptly characterized as a blinding white light from my pale skin.
Although, on second thought - I'll go have a small scoop of ice cream. That always makes me feel better.