After three years of being closed, the Washington Monument has finally reopened and tourist everywhere can cheer “Hooray!” and “Let me take a selfie!” The earthquake that hit the DC metro almost three years ago shook up the monument enough that renovations were needed to fix the cracks. However, the timing of this reopening couldn’t be more perfect since my reading in Listen to Your Mother was inspired by my poor parenting skills during that earthquake. Since the videos from Listen to Your Mother Washington DC won’t be available until July (big sad face), here is what I read during this amazing show where I was honored to be in the presence of some of the most fantastic women I have ever met! So until the videos are ready, enjoy my parenting fail as Emergency Mom
We’ve all seen the stories of mothers that react in times of peril and can perform super human feats when their children need them the most. Like the petite mother that morphs into the Incredible Hulk and lifts up her Honda Odyssey to free her toddler that is trapped underneath, or the woman who truly becomes faster than a speeding bullet and can outrun a wild animal ready to pounce on her child. When I see stories like this I often think, “Man, I really hope a lion never chases one of my kids,” because the truth is, I suck in emergencies.
It’s good to know what your strengths are. Mine: Beverly Hills 90210 trivia, playing for hours at the playground with my kids, and drinking wine.
It’s also good to know what you suck at. For me: housekeeping, self-control around chocolate, and emergencies.
When you have two kids under two years old, you sort of go into survival mode, and one key factor of surviving is getting the kids to nap at the same time. At first I thought this was an urban legend maintained by exhausted mothers hoping for some rest of their own. Since sleep is essential for things like playing Candy Land 300 times a day and nursing your baby 300 times a day, I held out hope that I too would enjoy two children on the same nap schedule. After months of thwarted efforts by the tiny humans in my care, the napping Gods smiled down upon me and one day a beautiful thing happened, a miracle even: my infant and my toddler were sleeping soundly AT THE SAME TIME!
When I heard their soft snores and the sounds of their white noise machines playing in unison, I danced down the hall to my bedroom and performed what can only be described as a perfect swan dive into my bed. It was time for Mamma to nap!
As soon as my weary head hit that pillow, I knew something wasn’t right. Is that ceiling fan swinging back and forth? Was I delusional from lack of sleep? Was this it? Had I really dropped my basket?
When a picture frame slid off the wall and crashed on the floor, I realized I wasn’t losing my mind. This was an EARTHQUAKE!
Are you kidding me? An earthquake? I’m originally from Pittsburgh; what the hell do I know about earthquakes? Snow that starts on Halloween and ends on Easter, yes. The world shaking around you, no.
Jumping out of bed, I scrambled to scoop both sleeping kids out of their beds, but I tripped and fell over my dog who was planning her own escape. Wait, aren’t dogs supposed to be man’s best friend and warn their masters of impending disasters? “Traitor,” I yelled as she fled to safer ground and left me in her dust.
Within seconds, I had rushed into two small bedrooms, one pink and one blue, and scooped up two sleeping, now awake and puzzled, children. While performing my best balancing act with one child on each hip, I started to pace the hall because, quite frankly, I didn’t know what to do next. What did we learn in elementary school during disaster drills? Is it earthquake stand in a doorway or is it earthquake head for the basement. Doorway, basement, doorway, basement?
Instead of deciding, I just ran in circles crying with both kids staring wide-eyed at their frazzled and sobbing mother.
And then as quickly as it had started, it was done. There was no need for the basement or the doorway, the earthquake was over,
With my babies still clutched to my sides, I dropped to the floor and all three of us wept and wept. I cried because I was terrified and shaken that I wasn’t able to jump into action when my kids needed to me to. I cried because I love my kids more than life itself and if one hair on their heads had been harmed because I couldn’t do my job as their mamma, I would die a thousand deaths. And I cried because I was so tired and a God dam earthquake hit the DC metro during naptime.
When we were all cried out, I carried my son and daughter downstairs. I plopped them in front of the TV. I stood in front of the pantry and ate half a jar of peanut butter right out of the container. I Goggled “what do you do in an earthquake” (the answer was doorway), and then I started to gain a little perspective. We all made it out of our first earthquake unscathed (except the beloved nap). And while my follow through could use a little work, my first instincts were right—to protect my kids.
So Mother Nature, give it your best shot and try it again.
But between mother to mother, can you not do it during naptime?