No one told me motherhood would be so noisy. That silence was a commodity. That questions were an endless, relentless, renewable resource. If I could figure out how to make cars run on questions, I'd be a trillionaire.
Every day, I sit down to write. Every day, I have very little to show for it. By the afternoon, I'm trying desperately to get anything down on paper or into my computer. My head is pounding. I have my headphones on, one of the focus playlists from Spotify plinking and strumming away in my ears. Focus. Ha. That's funny.
I close my eyes and try to think. Brainstorm. Anything.
"Mommy. Mommy! Are you listening? Did you see that? Hold on, let me rewind and play it again. Oh wait, not fast forward. Oops. Nevermind, I can't find it now."
OK. Shake it off. Deep breath. Stretch. Eyes closed. Zone out. Searching for just a glimmer, an inkling, an ember in the ashes.
"Oh, come on! Mom!! I can't open this. Why is it stuck? This is stupid. Here. Can you please help?"
It's hard to be needed all the time. It's hard to silence my own needs. Needs that make my mind race at night, bursting with ideas, things to explore, words to capture. Sleepless, I toss and turn, thrashing desperately to hold on. To keep my grip and not fall into the abyss of sleep.
But it happens every time. I wake up, hands empty and eyes heavy. My grasp has failed me again. It's OK, I think, I'll get it back. Today is a new day. It'll come to me again. Breathe.
The sounds of conflicting TV shows and YouTube videos and video games pierce their way into my skull. An endless cacophony of swoops and boops and cackling laughs. I turn my music up louder and silently wonder how many days are left in summer vacation - even though as soon as school starts, I'll miss them.
"Mommy, why don't girls have penises? You don't have a penis, do you? How come? How do you pee, then? Out of your butt? Did you know that your butt is really just the top parts of your legs?"
"Mom, I keep trying to do The Worm, but I can't figure it out just yet. Watch. Also, the cat threw up again. I meant to tell you that earlier."
Sigh. One more time. I can do this. I have the words in there somewhere. I just need to concentrate.
"Mommy! Where are you? Are you listening to your music again? I have to tell you something. I love you. So much. Do you know that? I love you forever. Can you come cuddle with me?"
Sigh. Swoon. Melt. Writing can wait another day. Silence is so sweet, but the noise of motherhood can be sweeter. Well... most of the time.