Inhale, exhale, I repeat in my head. My blood is pumping so loud in my ears as if to the beat of a rock metal drummer.
“Please pass me a diaper.” I repeat for the third time.
“No!” shouts my four-year-old trantrumess, who is playing with her dolls right next to the diapers.
I am six feet away from them. On the floor in front of me is her younger sister whose bare bum is watching me. I know from experience I can’t leave my two-year-old bare as there will be a mess everywhere. I curse myself for not checking if there were diapers next to the wipes. The unopened pack is sitting across the room.
Again, I breathe in and out trying to calm my tired and frazzled nerves. Then I am clear. She is four not 34 years old. She is my first child however; it’s not up to her to do mommy tasks. For as long as I can remember I always took care of my younger sister. Now that I think of it, I never was asked to take care of my sister. When our mom was sick I just had to be a mini-mom by making dinners, tucking her into bed and being the shoulder to lean on. I was never asked, it was expected. As an adult, I love helping her in any way I can. It is because I love her. And now, I am doing the same thing to my oldest.
In many ways, because of what I went through growing up, I never had a chance to be a kid. With a more cleared exhalation, I take my chances of a mess and crawl over to the fresh pack of diapers. I peck a kiss on top of my defiant daughter’s head. I make it back in time to wrap up my toddler’s tushie. She stands up and off she goes.
Observing both of my daughters doing kid stuff, I resolve in my heart that I will no longer expect too much from them. They will grow up too fast regardless. Every child deserves a full and happy childhood. That will be a constant gift to my children.