Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s the fact that my 6 month old is the size of a one year old, and he is now looking impossibly close-in-age to my two year old. Almost every day of my life, someone says to me, “you’ve got your hands full.” Lately, it has been starting to grate on me, so I’ve resorted to responding with, “do you want to carry this 20 lb baby? I have a dead arm” or “are you offering to carry my bags?” I can laugh at this seemingly harmless cliche exchange. But the other day, a stranger said something to me that stopped my quips from coming. “You’ve got it rough,” she said.
“I really don’t,” I said. “Thanks, though.”
Before she said that, I was walking my son into school, holding my 6 month old son in my left arm, and holding my two year old’s hand in my right. I did, in the most literal sense, have my hands full. I had just been marveling at what a gorgeous day it was, and Bear had just looked up at me and said, “I love you mama,” and I choked back tears as I watched him speak with perfect diction and walk effortlessly to the door of his preschool. You see, this moment almost didn’t happen. When this woman made this callous comment, I was immersed in a moment of joy and gratitude that both of my sons were there in my hands. I am grateful to have them, to bring Bear to school and kiss him goodbye in the morning.
I don’t have it rough. I almost had it rough. I left the hospital after Bear’s birth empty handed. I have friends I love as much as family who are still empty handed, who long to have their hands full. I know parents who have had to bury their children. They have it rough.
I am lucky to have my hands full. Next time you feel like saying this, maybe just hold the door open instead and smile.