As I regularly do, I took my youngest two children with while I ran a few errands. When we reached our final stop of the day, I parked my vehicle, hopped out of my seat and quickly threw back the sliding back door.
While my kids laughed together, making whatever squeaks and squeals they use in place of words to communicate with each other, I unbuckled them from their car seats. As parents do, I started putting on their jackets, quickly zipping them up before they escaped my grasp to explore the front seat of the van while simultaneously fixing shoes that had fallen off between stop two and three of our journey.
While I wrangled my babies, fumbled for my keys, and reminded myself not to forget anything. I do it in my head as I always do when I exit a vehicle, the script changes depending on the day but the message is the same: No kids or keys left behind please.
“How many kids did I come here with, two kids? Okay, two kids. Where are my keys? There they are. Look at your keys, don’t lock them in the van. LOOK AT YOUR KEYS. Okay, keys in pocket. Two kids. Lock the door. You’re good. You can go now.”
As I lifted my son out of the van and picked up my daughter out of her seat, I noticed a woman standing next to her vehicle. We weren’t blocking her entry or exit but she stood near us, just watching.
I politely smiled at the lady with the furrowed brow and she said,
“You’ve certainly got your hands full.”
I said nothing but burst out laughing and nodded.
What could I say? She’s not wrong.
I wasn’t offended, while I get why some might be, I realized her observation was spot on. She hit the nail on the head. My hands were full. Most days they’re overflowing. Spilling from my head and hands to my heart.
Holding my sons’ small hands in mine as we cross the parking lot, patting my daughters’ tiny bums as I sing an off-key song about how sweet she is I can’t help but feel so grateful about how full my life is.
Coming from a place of loss to watching them flourish. Taking steps, counting numbers. Becoming more and more independent every day. Some days are frustrating, no question about it. The whys turn to why not and non-stop questions turn to door slams and turned-up noses.
While I don’t cherish every moment because let’s be real, I’m human, I’ll never forget how it feels when they squeeze their arms around my neck after I ask for a big hug or the look on their faces when they see me at the end of my work day.
There are days where I feel like I’m barely making it.
Some days I think I couldn’t possibly convince my 5-year-old for the umpteenth time that he NEEDS to brush his teeth before bedtime or the sugar bugs will rot his teeth. Other days I think to myself, if these kids tell me they have to pee one more time after I put them to bed I might just lock myself in the basement. I could do without the same Sesame Street episode over and over again and would be fine if never heard the nonsense sibling arguments over trivial things like who is playing with whose slime. There are times I struggle and feel like I’m failing and I sometimes I wonder if I can wake up and do it all over again.
But I love my full hands and full life. I love the richness, the busyness, the sticky fingers, the bear hugs, and the overflowing love that that I see day to day.
My hands are full and I wouldn’t change it for a thing. But I will take a babysitter every now and then, if you’re offering.
Raschael Ash is a Freelance Writer, has a BA in English Literature, runs her personal blog Reimagining Rascal, and is a mother to three kids with big personalities.