This was the breaking point:
I was still in my pajamas, trying to get a good start on my day, when I heard the sounds of Betsy splashing in the bathroom. Not a good sound from this girl who is attracted to toilet water like a moth to flame.
I rushed into the bathroom to find that Betsy was not in the toilet at all. She was on her hands and knees happily splashing in the puddles that covered the floor. "That's not..." I thought.
But yes, Dear Reader, it was.
Apparently Levi's morning shower had left--as usual--pools of standing water across the bathroom floor. When, a few minutes later, Jesse came into the bathroom, he thought to himself--naturally--"Oh! I see it's pee-on-the-floor day." So he did. All over.
And there you have it. My girl in her pink leggings and embroidered tunic splashing happily in her brothers' urine.
"Mom, it's okay," Jesse kept telling me. "The floor was already wet." Which somehow missed the point, I felt.
So there I was, still in my pajamas, swabbing the floor. Dirtying towels to add to the soiled sheets already piled in the hallway following a certain midnight bed-wetting incident. Creating a growing mountain of stinky laundry. While Betsy was trying to climb over said piles of filth to return to the scene of the crime.
Yes, it's a sad scene. No ones wants to start their day this way. But it's also totally de rigeur. Any of you with any number of children knows just exactly what this kind of morning is like. Because we've all had them. You strip the baby. You clean the bathroom. You think, "I went to college for this?" Then you get dressed, you start the laundry, and you move on.
But I wasn't really moving on. I was furious, frustrated, and discouraged. Beyond measure. What I was missing, I later concluded, was equanimity.
I think I've been losing perspective for quite some time now. Months, maybe. Up in the night, hassled in the day, more on my plate than I can chew, and not a moment's peace for a bit of introspection. The angsty teenagers, the bickering kids, the psycho Jesse, the needy Betsy. My head in a buzz of pressure and distraction. The corners of my mouth pulled down in an (unattractive) expression of tension. I'm becoming the snarling mom that everyone, myself included, hates.
That's when I decided that what had heretofore been an idle fantasy must become a reality: I needed a day off. With an accompanying night off.
I made some unsuccessful low-ball bids for a hotel room on priceline. I racked my brain for any hidden caches of funds. Then, I called my mommy and asked if she had any miles/points/vouchers she could part with. And my daddy did.
So last night, I drove the kids home from school, dropped them off, then drove away.
Dear Reader, I drove away from this house.
to be continued