It's just 4 laps.
I ran the mile in 8th grade, and I set the junior high school record, but I hate running and I don't have the physique for it. However above everything else, I'm competitive. I had to finish, to get the best time, to kill all those little wispy girls that trailed so far behind me... So I put one foot in front of the other, chanting my mile-mantra "fuck this fuck this fuck this" for 4 consecutive laps. And that's how parenting feels sometimes.
Clearly, I love my children. I love my husband. I even love the damn dog. But this? This life where I follow tiny bodies around, cleaning the detritus of their good times? This life where every sickness, developmental stage, sleep and food deficiency causes these little people to go violently fucking crazy? My life revolves around the mood swings of a 4 and 1-year-old, and all the parts in between involve me wiping something down with a sour rag. Cleaning and catering, cleaning and catering, cleaning and catering.
I don't take showers unless I can get two other people in the stall with me. I don't go to the bathroom with the door closed. I don't eat adult food, or any food for that matter, that can't be prepared in less than 2 minutes. And I don't get to read a book or the newspaper or write words that form complete sentences unless it's 11 pm. Those other posts from the last few weeks? They resulted in all of the CDs being pulled from the 300-disc changer or babies crawling on top of dining room tables and eating orange peels. Or me just completely ignoring Madeleine while she's trying to learn to read. And then I feel guilty. I am guilty. Some things I can let slide, like orange peels. But that last one? Bad mommy.
So here's where I am now: I think I'm on the third lap, which is the hardest. My chest hurts and each breath feels like a sob. With the lack of oxygen, I'm not thinking clearly, and my thighs and calves are burning, but my coach just called out my time and I'm off by 10 seconds. So I've got to kick it up a notch, I've got to devastate that little blonde bitch in the pink that thinks she can keep up. But what if I just pretended to trip and fall? Then I could stop. I could get out of this race if I just rolled an ankle and keeled over into the thick, soft grass. But I'm kidding myself. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other... fuck this fuck this fuck this....