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  • Writer's pictureColleen

I voted, now I need nap

A few weeks ago, we all went out in droves to rock the vote. In my house, there was no school for Belle, which worked out perfectly because she also had to get a cavity filled. Which, side bar: major mom guilt. She's four, so obviously if she has a cavity it's a direct result of me either not brushing her teeth well enough or letting her eat too much junk. So clearly I'm doing an excellent job at this whole mothering thing.

Back to voting day. As we're leaving town for the day (our dentist is 30 min away in the town I grew up in) I attempt to stop at the high school to vote, but as I look in the rear-view mirror I notice that Rosie's eyes look droopy and she'll probably be asleep by the time we get there. Fine, I'll vote later, let's just head to Wellesley so we can get this cavity over with.

I have no idea how this is all gonna go down so I promise Belle ice cream and that seems to calm her nerves. We eat a lot of ice cream. Maybe that's why she has a cavity? We drop Rosie with my Mom (who, BTW, never napped) and head to the dentist - which turns out to be totally painless and takes all of 3 minutes. The numbing cream wore off very fast so she can eat whatever she wants. After we circle back to Moms to collect Rosie, we head to our favorite sandwich place for lunch. Belle orders her usual: turkey on white bread with slices of cucumber, cut in fours. But they only cut it in half, so she refuses to eat it. Even after I cut it in fours....because "it's not the same! and it tastes gross!"

In the time it takes us to order our lunch and have this riveting debate about the sandwich that she's refusing to eat, the heavens opened up and started to pour buckets. I'm talking grab the animals two-by-two and build an arc type of rain. And of course none of us are even wearing coats. I'm holding Rosie and our bag of sandwiches and staring out the window of the shop wondering how I'm going to make this mad dash to the car...because Belle is refusing to run with me.

B: Mom, I have a great idea! You run to the car with Rosie, get the umbrella, put Roo in the car seat, then run back and get me and carry me to the car.

Me: that sounds like a lot of work

But that's what we did. Belle stayed behind and sat at the counter with the owner (whom we know, relax, I don't leave my kids with strangers) and proceeds to tell him every single detail of her little life. I get soaking wet ferrying kids and sandwiches back and forth.

Finally we're on our way home, driving in the pouring rain on the highway, when Belle reminds me that I promised her ice cream. Right, that. I totally forgot.

DQ drive through to the rescue! We'll stop there right before voting and she can eat her ice cream in the car for the rest of the drive. We get to DQ, order her ice cream (chocolate in a dish with rainbow AND chocolate sprinkles every damn time) and then:

B: Mom! I have to pee right now! I can't hold it.

Me: come. onnnnnnnn.

Ugh. So I pull out of line and over to the side of the parking lot near the woods. (Because there's no time to park, get both kids out and walk into the restaurant). I grab the umbrella, go around to Belle's door, unbuckle her, and help her squat in the rain on the side of the DQ parking lot. #desperatetimes I get back in car, back in line, pay for ice cream, hand it back to her and remember she only has one working hand. The other is in a full cast that covers her finger tips (that's a story for another day). How is she supposed to hold a dish of ice cream and use a spoon? Full-well knowing it will likely end in disaster, I decide to make a mom gamble and put the ice cream dish in her car seat cup holder and tell her to use her left hand to spoon out each bite. She does surprisingly well, which is nothing short of a miracle. Just goes to show how important ice cream is to this kid.

We get to the town high school, park and I wrangle both kids out of the car in the pouring rain - B refuses to put her coat on and is pretty well covered in ice cream stains so she looks equal to the hot mess that I feel like. We finally make it inside and as I read the signs that tell me which voting precinct I'm in based on my street address (which by the way, when you're flustered and tired is basically an impromptu IQ test) and try to keep one eye on Rosie who is making herself right at home in the gym, Belle runs straight for the two 10 ft tall flag poles at the entrance to the voting area.

They're the movable kind, with a heavy metal base. She hooks her arm around the Massachusetts state flag, does a little dance around it and then runs off. As she runs, the flag begins to fall. I turn, pick up Rosie and see the next 10 seconds unfold in slow motion: flag begins to fall, police officer a few feet away begins to sprint to the rescue and manages to catch the flag with one hand just as the heavy and very pointy metal end nearly impales Belle as she's skipping off into the horizon. This poor officer was so worried.

"ma'am, it almost hit her right in the head," he says, calm but clearly concerned.

"I know, I'm so sorry. This is my life. Thank you for being so quick and catching it," I said.

Finally, after a very stern whisper-yell with pleading to be careful and not cause another scene, I have my voting forms in hand and I manage to fill in the little dots to cast my votes. But it's too quiet. My kids aren't trying to kill themselves and they're not being loud. Something is not right. I peek around to the next voting booth and see that Belle has decorated it. With a black Sharpie. And Rosie is laying on the floor. With one final sigh, I scoop them both up and head for the check out line. When we make our way to the front, an older woman, who I know saw this whole charade go down, says to me "gosh, you sure are blessed."

While I know she meant well, I couldn't help but feel like it was a dig. A way of saying "keep your shit together lady and appreciate what you have. Stop being frustrated."

Believe me, I'm well aware that I'm blessed. I worked hard for these babies. I prayed my ass off for these babies. I am so grateful for these girls every single day. But motherhood is hard. Can't we just be honest about that without feeling like we're not appreciative? When I'm having one of those days or moments I just wish another mom would say "this shit is hard, am I right?"

Or at the very least, just throw up the Hunger Games three finger solute #insolidarity

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