I must hear “I don’t know how you do it” five times a week.
When I began this blog, I asked myself how on earth I would make time for it among every other priority in my life.
(Did I mention that I also have two dogs? Two dogs that are sometimes more high maintenance than my soon-to-be tow-headed terrible-two. Like texts from my mom, my dogs can account for their own blog too. Maggie and Benny, also known as Pinky and the Brain, well because “one is a genius, the other’s insane.”)
People who look out for me question how I take on so much. Dad especially wonders this. Wonders and worries: the job of a father.
So let’s see, how I do it. I don’t know how. All I know is that I do do it. Another superpower of mine since becoming a mother-you don’t have the answers to everything, but you do it. You do it the best you can and you do it with a smile on your face. Every single day.
And I want to do it. Every single day.
However, I’m sure anyone who has asked me this imply it as I don’t know how you do it as a single mother. I get it. It does in fact make it a little more difficult to say the least. However just because I do it, and am happy doing it, and I want to do it, doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of daily chaos. When it seems as though anything that could go wrong does, in fact, go wrong, and go wrong all during the same time. Many of these times have to do with those two dogs I mentioned. These are the moments where I shut down. Close my eyes and count to ten very, very slowly. Open them, pick up, and start all over again.
Sometimes when my eyes open back up I look for Ashton Kutcher and a camera. I get punk’d at least ten times a week.
Here’s one of those moments. Last month, we were busily preparing for Hurricane Isaac’s arrival down here in Baton Rouge. The whole family was staying at my parents’ home because of the generator installed after the last storm. I was the first to arrive. Of course I’d watch the dogs while everyone else was gone dealing with their own chaos. After all, Holden loves animals. We’d have fun.
I was amidst a nasty transaction for work in which a house was scheduled to close days after the hurricane. Wait it out, that’s what we were to do. Anxiety was already high on this deal because it was a lawsuit waiting to happen. Please God, don’t let this hurricane do any more damage to this house.
Holden and I were sitting on the courtyard playing with the dogs. Phone rings, I answer. One of his favorite things to do is dump anything out of anything. Goldfish in cups, cereal out of the box. This time, dog cookies. About a hundred small dog cookies. As I’m on the phone with an attorney presiding over this case of my nasty transaction and am seeking legal advice. Like vultures, the dogs attacked. Moments after bending down trying to swoop all of the cookies up from being eaten (obviously problematic because this right before the dogs weren’t going to be able to go outside for days) I realize the front gate is open and I don’t see Holden.
He’s pulled this little stunt on me a few times too many. I run. Still on the phone. To the west I see Holden running, to the east I see Titan running. Titan is my sister’s dog who lives in New Orleans, a puggle. Has separation anxiety and is not used to not having my sister or her boyfriend around. When I mentioned that the whole family was staying at my parents’ home this included five dogs. To say it was a circus would be an understatement.
I run after Holden as he’s laughing and thinks its a game. Still on the phone. I’m thinking Titan is now long gone. Holden in my arms, he’s eating something. Dog cookie? Nope, I forgot in my other hand I was holding a plate of food I originally started running with so the dogs wouldn’t eat the hundred dog cookies AND a plate full of chips and a sandwhich that Holden had been snacking on.
So I’m running after Titan, on the phone, with Holden on one hip as he is scarfing down the chips that are being held on a plate by my other hand. Titan dodges me a few times and I finally get him back to safety on the courtyard.
Inside we went. Us and the dogs. Maggie, or Pinky if you will, doesn’t like other dogs stepping on her territory. I love her to death, but she’s got some screws loose. When you make eye contact, let’s just say you can tell she has a big heart. It looks like the lights are on but no one’s home. Titan steps on her territory. Dog fight in the living room. Titan vs. Maggie. I’m in the middle pulling them apart.
Then, BAM! What just happened? Am I paralyzed? Ouch something hurts. I can’t feel my neck.
Holden had “jumped” to me off of the ottoman in the living room during the dog fight. He had recently learned to jump in that gymnastics class I had mentioned earlier. Only his jump isn’t a jump. It’s more of a trust fall, forward. Off of an ottoman? More like a swan dive at this point. So he jumped right into my back.
It’s okay though, it hurt me more than him. He’s fearless as I’ve mentioned numerous times. Big red knot on the forehead? No big deal. Not even a tear.
By now I’ve had it with these damn dogs. Out to the backyard they went, as my mom suggested when I called fuming. “They’ll be fine; they just need to warm up to each other.”
Bathed Holden. Fifteen minutes later, let the dogs back in. I felt like a school teacher counting the heads coming in from recess. One dog, two dog, three dog…three dog… three dog. Who’s missing? OH MY GOD! WHERE IS TITAN!?
Check the side gates. Closed. Damnit. Where is he?! Don’t panic, don’t panic, I’m sure he’s just hiding in the bushes. Seconds later I’m calling my sister. “Alex, does Titan like to hide?” Sometimes, why?
He wasn’t hiding. He escaped. He’s long gone by now. They just needed to warm up, right mom? Wrong!
Pacing, I took Holden with me. Back and forth back and forth. Then a bark. I heard it! Coming from the front of the house. Open the front door. There’s Titan, sitting on the courtyard. That was a close one.
Dammit, when is everyone getting home? This is too much. Before I could take a deep breath, Holden had already poured out the dog bowl of water all over himself, freshly bathed and clean, and all over the concrete floor. Smiling at me with his goofy little smile.
Close my eyes. Count to ten. Very, very slowly. Chaos.