It's a small dream, in the overall scheme of things. I used to dream for world peace, an end to global warming, a peaceful resolution to the whole Middle East conflict. Now, I dream of cloning myself, one to walk with Julie, devoting myself to soothing her when she's fussy and won't sleep, one to do the dishes, one to read Harry Potter to my poor Jess because we've been in the middle of that stupid book for two months now, and one to take a long, glorious shower all by myself. Washing my hair. Twice. Conditioning with reckless abandon. Shaving all of my legs and my armpits. Just showering until the hot water runs out.
And in the end, it's all just a dream. Because Marc just called, at ten o'clock, from the gym, and he's still not leaving to come home. And I can't disappear into the shower or the kitchen to do the stupid dishes, because then I can't hear the kids if/when they wake up. By the time he gets home, I'm going to be way too tired to do anything other than croak out a goodnight at him, and will wake up tomorrow morning, grubby, hot, sticky and with a sinkful of dishes. I'd hate being a single parent, and the reason that I'm absolutely certain of that is because two nights a week, I AM one and I don't really like it.
Jessie literally cried herself to sleep tonight. I don't remember why, exactly, because I was busy trying to bounce Julie to sleep and arguing with Sam about him not getting more food (as he's already asked for/received/not eaten a turkey pot pie, fish sticks, broccoli and a cup of cheerios), but I think Jessie was mad that I told her I didn't care when she complained that she couldn't sleep. It may have also been that I refused to take her to the hospital right this very minute for x-rays on her arm (that she banged last Friday and hasn't complained about since), or because we're sending her to JCC Summer Camp for four weeks (scattered throughout the summer) (after she swore that she wanted to go). Turns out that, upon reflection, she feels as though camp is so boring and we've condemned her to a summer of utter misery. She stormed into her bedroom, slamming the door. Which woke her sister from the tenuous nap I had managed to coax her into, I made her come back out and apologize, and then she stormed back into her bedroom (closing the door quietly) and commenced sobbing. But I couldn't go fix it, because I was still dealing with Sam and Julie. So I listened to her cry for twenty minutes, while Sam argued with me and Julie cried and fussed and bounced her way back to sleep. It was a wretched night.
I hate gym nights. I always feel crappy on them, because there's no way for me to do everything well, and without another pair of hands here, at least one kid is miserable, the dishes don't get done, the floor is still mostly cluttered, and I'm still dreaming about a shower.
I try to tell myself to enjoy this time - really. Because I love my kids and they're all so beautiful and sweet. And twenty years from now, I'm going to miss this. A lot. There were so many moments tonight when it was wonderful. I did try to do the dishes at one point and heard Julie start to cry again. I kept going, because dammit, I HATE waking up to dirty dishes, but she was really crying and I knew that Jess would pick her up. And a crying baby is stressful, and I didn't want to leave Jess in that situation. But when I came into the living room, Jessie had picked her up and was laying on the couch making funny faces at her, and Julie had stopped crying to gaze at her quizzically. Sam picked out a special spot for me on the comfy chair and was desperate for me to come sit beside him, and when I finally did (I didn't want to because it's so hot and sticky and getting out of it is hard with a sleeping baby), he curled up against me and was asleep in minutes. Julie's eyes are just starting to turn from that dark indigo to greyish. And she's so sweet and adorable and just flat out lovely... I will miss this time. I've got the rest of my life to be clean, right? When they're older, I'll always have the dishes done, but I won't have a snuggly three year old sleeping next to me, or a big girl who isn't scared of a crying baby but makes faces to calm her down. I won't have a tiny baby who's whole happiness is simply me. I'll try to remember that when I wake up tomorrow morning.