I made it almost eight weeks.
Eight weeks into life with a newborn, a toddler and a preschooler. (That's three kids ages four and under, if you're keeping score.)
Eight weeks which also included 3 birthdays, one anniversary, a large family wedding and a new job working from home.
Eight sleep-deprived weeks of nursing a baby on the playroom floor while refereeing a fight between two toddlers over a plastic caterpillar that neither one cared about until the other touched and it became the most important toy EVER....while working from home.
Eight socially-deprived weeks that lacked what had come to pass for stimulating adult conversation, as no one in the confines of my home cared to ask if I preferred paper or plastic. And did I mention I started a new job working from home?
Yes, I held it together for almost eight weeks before having a massive, Chernobyl-style meltdown. Or maybe it was more like a Category 5 hurricane: bands of tears gathered strength and eventually morphed into ugly sobs. Flailing arms and angry words carved a path of destruction through the house. I took shelter in the bathroom shower, where finally alone, I sank to the floor and curled up in a ball. Seconds later, I heard a gleeful giggle and looked up to find my 2 year old with her tiny button nose pressed against the glass door.
"Mama so silly!" she laughed. "Why you have you clothes in the bafftub???"
I opened the door and brought her into my cave, burying my head in her soft, wavy hair. I was just about to tell her something deep and meaningful about how sorry I was for the Mamapocalypse she just witnessed when she got very still, looked right into my eyes and yelled "BEEP BEEP!" as she pushed on my nose and ran away with a squeal.
I took a deep breath, gathered up my thoughts and my weary bones, and silently repeated the words that lately have become my mantra: "This too shall pass."
It's been comforting during these past eight weeks to remember that these tough times won't last forever. That there will come a time when my services are not quite so in demand at every moment of the day. A time when everyone in the house can wipe his/her own bottom. Now that's something to look forward to.
But later that night when I dragged my tired bones to bed for the four hours that currently constitute "nighttime" I stared at my sweet baby boy's tiny chest moving up and down as he slept in his bassinet and it hit me: this too shall pass. All of it.
This is most definitely our last child, so this time around when the baby phase is done, it's done for good. No more diapers and wipes, but also no more gummy, toothless grins or naps on the couch with a tiny little body swaddled against my chest.
I know that there will come a time, sooner than I might expect, that the little boy who begs for just one more, PLEEAASSSEEE one more hug at bedtime will be embarrassed by the very thought of embracing his mother in public....
That his constant stream of talk from the backseat of the car that never, ever seems to end (no, I do not know the name of the driver in the lane next to us on the highway, and I'm really not sure how many pieces of brick it took to build our house, or the name of the dinosaur with spiky things on his head) could someday be replaced by grunting and the sound of thumbs texting "OMG, my mom is sooooo annoying."
That the little girl who is right now attached to my side for 95% of her waking hours and can not seem to start a sentence without "Mommy!" will one day put her hands on her hips and roll those big blue eyes skyward with an exasperated "Moommmm!" because I have said/done/breathed the unthinkable.
That the kids who sob at the door on the rare occasion I leave the house to go somewhere very exciting like CVS will one day ask me to drop them off a block away from wherever their friends have gathered so that I do not risk contaminating their images with my inherent lack of cool.
That the baby boy who keeps me up all night with feeding and crying might one day keep me up all night with worrying and crying.
That I will no longer be able to pin my lack of muscle tone in the abdominal area on children unless I legally adopt Ben and Jerry.
That the boo boos will one day be too deep for bandaids and too painful for me to kiss away.
That the kids who right now seem to need me for everything one day won't.
Yes, all of "this" too shall pass, and when it does, there's no getting it back.
And as difficult, as demanding, as exhausting as it can be, I know that I shall miss it when it does.