I had spent all day making those cookies.
Not that they were super fancy cookies- or even highly demanding in regards to skill level. Delicious- yes. Fancy- no. A chocolate chip oatmeal recipe that I have been making for a year now- always a favorite- always slightly underdone so that there is a tinge of brown on the top but gooey in the middle- these cookies are a family favorite and would be the perfect thing for us to take to our Christmas party that night.
So why did it take me all day to make simple cookies?
I prayed for a cuddly baby. I got one. What I didn't realize was that the super cuddly babies- MUST be cuddled every second of every day or else screaming ensues. Balancing this with the trouble seeking tots has made for some interesting days.
Yesterday, I strapped up Eli in the Moby and juggled Addison and Carter's schedule while keeping up with the laundry, picking up the house, and making the cookies. I had bragged to Aaron just the other day that I felt like we were finally sort of adjusting to the 3 (ha). And I managed to get my list done- each pan baked about an hour or two apart as I had time to go back and measure out more cookies.
By the end of the day the house wasn't perfect, but it was improved from earlier in the day. The laundry was mostly put away (this includes washing ALL of Addison's clothes as she pulled them out of her dresser during naptime, took off her diaper, and-ahem- relieved herself all over her room.), a bag of perfectly made cookies was waiting on the counter to take to our party, and I served up the extremely nutritious dinner of Little Caesar's pizza for my little family.
I ended up wearing Eli most of the day. This is quite the workout, but it let me keep going and keep him happy at the same time. The tots did get to sample the cookies- after lunch and then once in the afternoon. I felt that I was far from stingy with the delicious cookies.
But apparently it wasn't enough. Right when I was feeding Eli one last time before Papa arrived to watch the kids during the party- right when the kids were just about ready to go to bed- right before we were about to grab that bag of cookies that I spent all day making and walk out the door- Addison decided to trample the bag of cookies. To crumbs.
I'm sure she was just trying to open the bag and get another cookie. But she didn't open the bag. She stepped all over it- delicate, perfectly baked cookies crumbling from party-ready into despair.
I don't know what it is exactly, but something about having to work SO hard to achieve simple things around your crew of 3, 3 and under makes destruction of these simple achievements absolutely earth shattering. Add in lack of sleep, physical exhaustion from hauling around a big baby all day, emotional exhaustion from endlessly spinning the same wheels over and over again for the past weeks- and that is what it looks like when you are pushed right over an edge.
It's a slow cracking that begins with "WHY DID I EVER HAVE CHILDREN" to a silent fuming about the extreme unfairness of life as you shuffle off to your Christmas party with a small plate with the few saved cookies that your husband put together while sending "will she make it?" anxious glances your way.
Cookies. Cookies that you spent all day making.
Instagram friends suggested taking the crumbs and making an ice cream topping. This sounded like a more personalized version of taking lemons and making lemonade. It sounded definitely delicious- but didn't take the sting out of my expectations for my cookies being literally trampled underneath well-intentioned feet.
In that moment it all just seemed too much. Overwhelming. Never-ending. Suffocating.
Three kids three and under (with the oldest having special needs) is no joke. It is not easy. It is a constant balancing between insanity and exhaustion. There are amazing moments when I look around and am overcome with happiness and the abundance of our blessings. And then there are moments when I just want to go hide behind the couch and wait for an invisible nanny to come take over.
Yesterday while looking at the cookie crumbs, glaring at my daughter, and contemplating that the sum total of my day was now completely destroyed, undone, made a mockery- in that instance it didn't seem worth it.
We arrived at the party and I told my story once- tearfully. Much more than that and I would have broken down completely. WHAT A HORRIBLE DAY MY COOKIES WERE DESTROYED- this story was a humdinger.
And then I was settled onto a soft couch with tangy punch and talking to a super nice lady who had given me the absolute softest baby blanket at my shower a couple of weeks ago. She was talking about her daughter who had infant twins who was 1. breastfeeding/pumping for them 2. working full time 3. juggling 3 older kids as well. I got even more exhausted just listening to that. Also, I wanted to build a shrine to her right then and there.
The conversation then moved to her baby that she lost many years ago to SIDs. I had mentioned how I was extra sensitive to Eli being exposed to germs because of my sister losing her newborn- and the discussion that evolved from there was quite the wake up call to my horrible day. After a few minutes I felt chastised that an hour before my world had completely crumbled (ha) because of a batch of cookies gone wrong. Really?
As her story unfolded, I looked over at my peacefully sleeping newborn in his Christmas jammies and said silent prayers of thankfulness that he was still breathing. I remembered afresh the horror that my sister experienced when her one week old unexpected passed away. I saw the pain in this kind lady's face as she talked about a baby that she lost decades ago.
I needed it right then.
I needed to remember that no matter how awful the day- there is room for thankfulness. No matter how desolate my schedule has become- it is that way because my day is so full of little lives that have been entrusted to me. Vibrant little lives that are precious and irreplaceable.
Even when they destroy cookies.
Because it turns out that those cookie crumbs DO make an amazing ice cream topping (also, breakfast "granola" to accompany my coffee) (-:
Today Addison is at school. Carter is watching Cars. Eli is actually peacefully sitting in his bouncy seat for a few minutes. I am ignoring housework for a few hours, putting my feet up, and doing something that I have missed these past weeks- writing and taking a minute to reflect.
Sanity to insanity is a slippery slope, but sometimes the slide down and the climb back up comes all in a day's work. And the one provides the contrast necessary for the other.
Thankfulness. 1 plus 1 plus 1. That's a lot to be thankful for.
It's a new day. I don't think I'll make any cookies today. But I do have a baby who needs cuddling, a little girl who needs to be picked up from school, and a little boy who from the smell of it just created a cesspool in his diaper.
I've got it.