I’ve had the dresses since before they were born – the cute ones my twins were going to look just perfect in. They had matching shoes and hair bows too but they won’t keep those on for more than 30 seconds so that part was probably never going work out anyway. The rest, though, was going to be great...or so I thought!
We were going to go to the parade – where I would have had the most adorable little family. Of course, I rather hate parades and it’s about 95 degrees by 10am but, hey, who cares when you have the chance to show off cute outfits, right? Then we would all go for a picnic in the park (never mind that it’s probably 105 degrees by the time the parade is over and that the babies have to nap every two hours) and finally head over to the pool to let the rest of the kids do some swimming (no nap, hot weather and I won’t let the babies near a public pool for fear of chemicals, salmonella, lead poisoning, and toddler pooh, or whatever it is you find in a public pool). Regardless, it was going to be a good 4TH, a darn good 4TH, a Facebook-worthy kind of darn good 4TH.
And then, it wasn’t.
Instead, the night of the 3rd my husband and I got in an argument. For the record, I was right. [Editor-Husband's note: Well, of COURSE you were, Babydoll.] But, you know the old saying in marriage you can either be right or be happy. Well, this time I picked right but shortly thereafter I really wished I had chosen happy.
Then, the babies both got sick. It started early the morning of the 3rd with a little cough. By that night, the cough had turned into hacking. And then they took turns going ba..ba…ba until about 1:30 in the morning when I finally got some sleep only to be awakened around 3:45am. At that point I was up for the day. By mid-morning, an overprotective mamma, who shall remain nameless, was Googling whooping cough. It wasn’t whooping cough. Oh, and the girls were in cozy, but completely mismatched, and not-so-cute...sweat suits.
But wait…there’s more! I had dressed the girls in those cute little dresses I was so fond of for Sunday church and hadn’t gotten them washed since. So, I thought I would just throw them in the washer that morning and at least take a few pictures of our first Independence Day. Well…after starting the wash, we discovered that neither the washer nor the kitchen sink was draining properly, resulting in a big, soupy, sloppy, disgusting overflow onto the floor. At this point, I was one grumpy, sleep-deprived momma who was still rather perturbed with her husband. [Editor-Husband's note: I think what Jill meant to write here is something like "Fortunately, my awesome husband is oh-so-handy and was able to get the drains going again, lickety-split. Plus, he cleaned up the mess and then washed the towels he used to clean up the mess so I everything was good as new." Yes, I'm sure that's what she meant. ;-)]
Of course, the teens had to have something to do [Editor-Husband's note: Young teens and a 10-year-old...no driver's licenses to be found just yet.], so for the vast majority of the day they sat in the living rotating between a marathon of video games and an entire season of the show "Dirty Jobs" that I had picked up at a thrift store for a dollar (yea me!)
But wait…there’s more! When I was making bottles at the kitchen sink, my sweet girls, who like to stand up at the counter with mommy, were chewing on the pull-knobs for the cabinets. I looked down to see that one of them had cut her little gums on the knob and was bleeding all over herself...as if just being sick weren’t enough. Bless her little heart. I felt terrible!
Around six that evening after a dismal day of sick babies, mad-momma and watching a man clean up pigeon poop for hours on end (the Dirty Jobs marathon :-), my husband put some steaks on the grill. [Editor-Husband's note: Looks like Jill forgot another line or two. I think she meant to say something like "Those steaks positively melted in our mouths...I told him he could get a job as a chef at a high-end steakhouse, but he said his artistry is not for sale." Or something like that.] After we finished eating, he planned to take the teens to see some fireworks and get a few of their own. I gave up on taking the babies being as they were sick and…well, a 7:30 bedtime doesn’t really mesh well with the 9:30 fireworks. Plus, at that point it's too dark for anyone to appreciate cute outfits. At least there would be peace in the house, fewer arguing teens and no more pigeon poop marathon.
And then it started raining...pouring, actually. Are you kidding me?!? Rain? On the FOURTH OF JULY?!? It poured like I have not seen in years. Seriously?! It never rains here...except, apparently, on holidays featuring cute outfits. It was raining so hard that all fireworks shows in the area were cancelled. By this time I had entirely given up on my Facebook-worthy pics of my perfect family on the perfect 4TH... (I guess I could have posted pictures of my teens watching a man clean pooh for four hours??) But now, no fireworks, no show, no quiet house.
Later that evening, I was in our room putting the girls to sleep when my husband brought in a plate full of cookies. Now, I’ll be honest: I was slightly annoyed because the girls were just about asleep and I was afraid it might wake them up…and because my patience had gone the way of the pigeon pooh. But, even in the half light I could see the two sugar cookies and one beautiful chocolate chip cookie on the plate. My husband must have gone to the store just to get cookie dough! I’d wanted chocolate chip cookies for two days. I mentioned it earlier in the day – as did the kids. [Editor-Husband's note: Actually, the kids said "M&M cookies," which is evidently what THEY wanted.] My husband prefers sugar cookies. Poor misguided soul. At least there was one of those glorious, luscious, chocolate chip beauties on the plate. It took a bit longer to get the girls completely to sleep. So, for a good 20 minutes my mouth watered. When they were finally asleep, I made my way over to my delicious treat took a big bite. Wait...what is THAT?!? He wouldn't have...surely not...doesn't he know how much I HATE peanut butter?! Detestable, loathsome, wretched, disgusting peanut butter! Now, you go right ahead and think I’m a terrible person. You’re probably right. But I was mad. Legitimately mad. He went to the store and bought – peanut butter and sugar cookies. Atrocious! I marched straight into the kitchen to get to the bottom of this travesty. So he said he thought I wanted M&M cookies and that the store didn't have them, but he thought that the Reece’s ones would be the closest. Does this man know me at all?! Do 2 ½ years of marriage mean nothing to him?!?!
My second ex-husband (yes, I know it sounds bad) used to tell me that I was the most optimistic person he had ever met when it came to the future and the most pessimistic when it came to the past and the present. I hate to admit it but I think he was right. I have a confession. I hate holidays. Even birthdays. I used to love them when I was a kid. I’d mark my calendar and look forward to the day for weeks. I guess in a way I still do that, even if just mentally. Then, that darn perfectionism gets in the way. It just never is as perfect as you think it’s going to be – or as everyone else’s appears to be on Facebook. So where’s the lesson in all this? Where’s the happy ending?
Maybe it’s found in balance. You know, a little bit of plan-ahead. Don’t wait till the day of to wash the dresses and buy the fireworks. And a little bit of let-go. Play in the rain and enjoy the pigeon poop. After all, even on the “Worst. 4TH. Of. July. Ever.” I still have a loving (however misguided, peanut-butter-cookie-buying) husband. Two sweet little, sneezing, stuffy-nosed girls and a house full of teens who can now make a city roof-top or bridge free from the fecal matter of our feathered friends any day of the week (or at least tell you about it). Maybe it’s not in making every day perfect but in finding the perfect in every day.
Hope you have an awesome week! If liked my story I hope you’ll share it with your friends J