The One at the Beginning

If you have young kids, chances are good you've seen SING recently. In case you haven't, let me just tell you, it's a cute little movie about a bunch of animals performing in a singing competition. Each participant has to overcome some sort of personal obstacle (and discover something about themselves in the process) to participate in the show.

Johnny's dad is a mob-boss who is hoping to pass on the family business to his son, while all Johnny wants to do is sing. Meena is a painfully shy elephant who must overcome her fear of singing in front of others. Ash tries out for the show in a duet with her boyfiend, but only she is chosen and she has to work through the effects of this on her relationship. And then there's Rosita. A stay-at-home mother to 25 piglets and wife to an over-worked and less-than-attentive husband, Rosita desperately wants to do SOMETHING for herself. And so, she tries out for the singing competition and is chosen.

My kids had been wanting to see the movie since it came out, and since we didn't get to the theater to see it, I went ahead and bought it when it was released to DVD. Since we got it, they've watched it approximately 526 thousand times (my three-year-old LOVES Johnny), and as I sat here the other night watching it with them, I had a sudden epiphany.

You guys.

I am Rosita.

I am that short, slightly chubby stay-at-home mother of 25 kids (well, four, anyway, but who's counting?), who's longing to do something for herself.

Now. Please don't get me wrong. I love my husband and kids, I mean capital L-O-V-E love them. And they definitely aren't as oblivious as Rosita's husband and kids.


BUT, my husband is at work a lot. In fact, he works two jobs so that I can be home with our young children and our family can still afford the ever-increasing tuition we pay to send our kids to Catholic schools. I absolutely know how lucky this makes me. However, during the week, there's only one night that the two of us are home together. Most days, we see each other for about 20 minutes in the morning before he leaves to take our oldest to school and go to work and I get everyone else moving on our day. We see each other for another 30 minutes in the afternoon when he's home between jobs IF there is no practice/ball game/dance class/swimming lesson occurring during that small window. Then, we're not back home together until 10 or 11 p.m., depending on what time he gets done at work. At that point, we're both ready for bed.

BUT, my contact with the rest of the adult world is limited. I spend all my days with children (mine and others for whom I provide care) and my time is occupied with caring for everyone else: packing lunches, making meals, dropping kids off, picking kids up, making sure everyone is where they need to be, when they need to be there. I am a cook, maid, chauffer, secretary, and nurse. I wipe noses and bottoms, I clean up spills and vomit. I answer questions, break up arguments, dry tears, kiss boo-boos. ALL. DAY. LONG.

BUT, I am the last line of defense. Although my husband works long hours and that can be hard on him, the fact remains that, generally, he is only responsible for himself.  While he is working, I am with the kids, running to and from activities, cooking and feeding everyone dinner, helping with (and sometimes fighting over) homework, cleaning up from dinner, doing dishes, giving baths, reading stories, tucking in, straightening up... The list goes on and on.

BUT, even after we go to bed at night, I am still on duty. If someone is too hot or too cold, has a bad dream, needs to go potty, needs a drink of water, or just wants to snuggle, they come to me. Some nights I get to sleep all night long, but my kids are still young enough that, more often than not, SOMEBODY needs something from me in the middle of the night. Sometimes, multiple somebodies need me, and sometimes the same somebody needs me multiple times.

At one point in SING, Rosita falls flat on her face during rehearsal for the millionth time. After she picks herself up, her performance partner tells her, "You can't just sing it. You've got to show the fire and desire." to which she responds, "The fire went out a long time ago... I should just be getting groceries" and leaves the theater. Later that night, she's dragging through the grocery store like a zombie and Bamboleo comes on the loudspeaker. First her feet start moving, then the rest of her body catches up, and suddenly she's unstoppable. She finally lets loose and she's on FIRE.

And so, even though I know that I'm lucky to have a hard-working husband who is incredibly supportive of all I do; even though I know how lucky I am that no matter how much he works, he still gets to come home every night; even though I know I'm lucky to have great, mostly kind and well-behaved kids, it's time to relight the fire. It's time to do something for me.

I hope you'll join me and follow along.