push and pull

I just spent an hour under a fidgety non-sleeping toddler. One who didn’t want to sleep in the crib, heavens no. Lying next to me wasn’t enough either, shut yo mouth. On top of me? That’s apparently the place to be when you’re one and you don’t want to sleep. She even treated me to the wandering hand. You know the one: where she rubs her hand all over my upper torso, works her way up to my face and then jams a finger up my nose. It’s a delight, let me tell you. I finally gave up and came back upstairs where she currently sits on my lap showing me how exhausted she is, yet not even blinking for fear she’ll accidentally fall asleep. It’s a bitch being one.

It’s been a stellar day, complete with crying all around. We finally have a name for what I hurt: turns out I pulled my piriformis muscle. To put it bluntly, I hurt my ass. I am only mildly comforted by the fact that it’s a common sports injury. I damaged it with the stroller hike from hell and then sealed the deal when I got lost in the woods. After a night of rest, mornings are excruciatingly painful and you can often find me eating ibuprofen by the handful while sobbing. Once my ass the piriformis muscle warms up my day is tolerable, but until then, I find myself wishing for a quick death.

Understandably, this has been really hard on the girls. Lily came and sat next to me the other day as I lay on the floor in tears and gently put her hand on my shoulder. She slowly leaned in and whispered, “Don’t whine, Mommy. Just ask!” Clearly she’s listening to us about the incessant whining, she just didn’t realize that the phrase didn’t apply in this situation.

This morning, with Mark out of town and Lily choosing 4:30 am as wake up time, things got real ugly, real fast. Anya was clinging to me and crying, Lily was pushing, kicking and yelling. I was lying on the floor with Anya sitting next to me sobbing and Lily kept trying to tickle me; you know, by jabbing her fingers into my face? Because isn’t that they way YOU like to be tickled? Anyway, I loudly told her to knock it off and that’s when she busted out with a big fat “NO”, yelled right into my face. My instincts gave me two options: push her away and yell some more OR grab her little body and hug her with all my might. I chose the later and when I enfolded her in my arms, she struggled and let out another “NO.” I hung on. Within seconds, I felt her body relax a little and then she was crying, hugging me back, desperately needing my arms around her even though she wanted to fight. We lay there, everyone crying and I just held her, whispering words of comfort in her ear, telling her how I was sorry that we were all hurting so much, that I loved her, that life was just hard sometimes but I was never going to stop loving her, no matter how angry she got.

Within a few moments we all stopped crying. Lily lay next to me, sucking her thumb with one hand and holding me with the other; Anya nursed and gripped my hand tightly. I felt like a very leaky life-boat: damaged but still afloat. My girlfriend Allyn (Hi, Allyn!), a massage therapist, tells me that injury’s in the ass region usually have some sort of emotional element. “What are you dealing with, Hon?” she asked me when I got her one the phone today to complain. “Figure that out and you’ll feel at least a little better. I mean, come on, the phrase 'tight ass' exsists for a reason.”

We lay there like that for a long time, me and my girls, just floating in emotions. When we finally got off the floor, I felt a little less heavy, a little less tight. There’s still a whole lot of emotion wrapped into what’s happening with my family right now, but at least I feel like I’ve pulled the loose string on the issue. Hopefully, in time, we can unravel this bitch. In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to hold on.