It was the kind of day that found me hunched over carpets, muttering and scrubbing, because my youngest son, whom I thought was potty-trained, decided he wasn’t anymore and pooped and peed in the middle of our living room floor, multiple times, and then pulled out my oil paints and smeared them on the carpet too.
Oil paints. And poo.
That was my Tuesday.
And I found myself crying a lot, and worrying my oldest son whose heart is as tender as mine, and swearing a lot under my breath, quietly so they couldn’t hear, and most often, it was the German word for shit. “Scheisse.”
Only, it wasn’t just a swear. It was a lifeline. It was a prayer, for this knelt-over mother.
I know, it shocks me too that I’ve come this far, or rather, descended this low to depend on shit for prayer but when you’re face to face with poo more often than not it’s the first thing on your mind.
And then came lunchtime when I served up crackers and cheese and meat, and sat with my boys at their little table that we got from Ikea, and Aiden told me he didn’t like God anymore. And Kasher promptly peed in his chair, and I cried. Again.
Maybe it was a spiritual attack. Maybe it was Satan’s fault.
Maybe it was my fault.
Or maybe it was just a bad week, and this too shall pass, and in the meantime, Scheisse, Lord. Scheisse.
But always, at the end of the day, I hold them. I hold my boys’ baby-powder skin close and I kiss the curves of their dimpled knees and tickle underneath their chins and their laughter is like the sound of spring, like a dozen robins singing in the window of your soul, and you remember.
You remember her, the girl you lost in the toilet. The one that bled red from you, before either of these boys came to be.
You remember how it felt to hold nothing in your arms. How it felt to stare at your perfectly clean carpet all day long.
And suddenly, your prayers are no longer shit. Your prayers are hallelujah, for all of your aching back and stained carpet, because there is life in your arms. In your home. In your heart.
And it’s worth all the tears in the world.
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