Big ups to all the mothers out there handling their business day in and day out. This is exhausting work.
I just got back a lil' while ago from taking the girls to Chuck E. Cheese's by Tanforan. We spent a good few hours there and it was worth all the screaming children, curt workers, sticky tables (sticky everything, actually), creepy animatronics, and 20-minute wait for mini pizzas because they had a great time.
I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I became the second mom in command (Lola's first), but maybe that's because I got swept up in the momentum of everything that led up to it. How I went from just watching Nikki and Mariel whenever they happened to be at the house to having a stroller, baby seat, and crusted up formula as permanent fixtures in my car. How my thoughts during work went from the shirts and sneakers I wanted to buy downtown turned into wondering if Mariel had outgrown a size 3 diaper and would now fit a 4.
It's stressing me out more than I'd like to admit because I'm scared for these 2 little girls. I'm feeling so much negativity lately. Angry. Frustrated. Guilty. Sad. Anxious. Trapped... Mostly pissed off, though.
This is so different from when I was Nikki's age and I think that all the responsibility and pressure piling up would have crushed me by now if it weren't for Jeff. He's the only person outside of my family who knows the extent of what's going on and he tries his hardest to be there. Not just for me, but for the girls. They absolutely adore him. He doesn't have to, but he shares the responsibility with me. He doesn't just come over and play with them. He does so much to help that I can't put into words how grateful I am.
He'll distract Mariel when he comes over on Saturdays so that I can take a nap (even though he's up at 5am for work).
He tutors Nikki for hours just to make sure that she understands.
He's up for taking the girls out when it was just supposed to be the two of us for the day.
He'll bring over movies for us to watch together.
He runs errands with me for my family, driving all over the city.
Mariel trusts him so much that she'll crawl into his arms while he's on the couch on fall asleep.
Nikki wants to be just like him and tries to copy him all the time.
He's basically helping me keep my sanity because he's taking care of me. Holding me together. I know I sound weak... but it's hard.
I'm not saying that I hate having the girls around, because I love them. I love making them laugh and taking care of them... watching them grow up. But I'm not their mother. They need their parents. And I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm making it up as I go along! It shakes me up to think that I might slip up and scar them for life. Maybe it won't be that grave, but I don't want to hurt them. Thinking about how their parents just basically left them... every single time I sit and end up following that train of thought, I want to cry. Every time somebody asks me about it... whenever people want more details about it... I can't share that. It literally makes my chest ache and my jaw clench. I shut down.
For now, I'll do what I can. Do what I've been doing and hope for the best.
Cross your fingers for us.