In groggy morning hours I climbed out of bed for a baby who needed a fresh diaper and bite to eat, took a toddler to the bathroom and cozied back in for one last shut-eye. My pillows were askew and my quilt had parted ways with the comforter as each spilled over an opposite side of the mattress.
I cared very little if knotted flannel sheets made it all the way to my chin and did not bother to wonder where my second pillow went. Suddenly from out of a hazy dream-like fog a sharp realization hit me:
there was a dinosaur in my bed.
A dinosaur. In my bed.
When a mother is running on sleep fumes and far-fetched hopes of just-another-30-minutes, "she" could care less if a hard plastic reptile shares her space. As long as he is quiet, doesn't wiggle or wake the baby, and won't hog the bit of sheet she just curled under... who cares.
"She" doesn't think she left him there, but this morning he's welcome to stay.
Later in a more wakeful demeanor, I watched a sweet documentary of a family who sold all their household goods and now travel the states together in a little trailer. It was a darling, dreamy, romantic documentary, and then I thought: family of 6 living in a 18 foot travel trailer? Romantic?
We've done that kind of thing, and today we live off grid in a small-for-10-people cabin. We travel together. We grocery shop together. We have "date night" at home while the kids are still washing dishes rather loudly in the kitchen only a few yards away.
Wouldn't it be awesome if someone made a documentary of my life that made it look... romantic? Everyone in the world could view my story and wish it was theirs. It would be beautiful! Don't we all need that? A few well-timed clips of my house when it sparkles and my family when it shines would help provide perspective when I need it - like on mornings when there's a dinosaur's tail in the small of my back.
The truth is, that the beautiful moments, the bunting over the bed and rosy lighting, the laughter, the books all on the shelf with their binding edge facing out - it's real. Hey, even jam globbed on the outside of the jam jar can seem cute if the background music is right! But noticing the favorite parts, really seeing the best scenes depends more on the lens through which we look, rather than whether or not the beautiful actually exists.
On the other side of that ethereal documentary, wanna bet that there's an occasionally-tired mom who can't find a quiet place when the trailer rocks and sways from frolicking hoodlums? Would you like to imagine what happens to milk that's spilled on the floor of a home that's not level?
I love the picture that documentary painted. I was delighted and inspired, but that kind of living is hard work. It may be simple, but it's challenging.
Just like all we mothers experience in our own different stories, life is hard work mixed with dollops of light and laughter, beauty, serenity, and song. We each live a romantic documentary-worthy life, but since we don't have a camera crew or a soul-moving sound track we're left to our own editing. What do I see when I survey my surroundings?
Honestly it's often the dinosaur robbing me of sleep. That's reality. Dinosaurs in beds.
But in my documentary, honky tonk piano plays as I contort my body into semi-comfort, shut my eyes and pretend the last pillow didn't fall off the bed. And even if I don't get to sleep, I think of the small boy who brought his green buddy in to share my cozy place and then left in a hurry - important things to do with his early morning hours - and I smile.
I may not have a film crew but it's my story.
And it's a good one.
When I thought of being a mom, I never dreamed of THIS! ~Five heart melting smiles ~never getting tired of midnight feedings ~having all the answers ~not minding dirty faces ~enjoying watching the boys eat! ~falling in love with pigtails ~appreciating overalls ~appreciating a washing machine! ~wanting to do everything better ~falling in love a million times