I was sweaty, dry-mouthed, tired and already out-of-words.
And it was only 10:45am.
We’d just pulled up to my husband’s office and were about to bring him lunch.
It’d been a long morning already.
At 5am, my alarm went off and I nursed the baby. By 5:35am, I was on the way to boot camp. Home at 7:15am. Breakfast for the kids immediately, followed by 2 more rounds of breakfast. All kids dressed. Toys picked up. Fights broken up, multiple times. Baby nursed again. Another round of toy pickup. Made myself a green smoothie. Got myself showered and dressed. Folded some laundry. Made lunches for myself, husband and kids. Brushed toddlers’ teeth and put shoes on. Loaded everyone in car. Drove to husband’s office in downtown.
I found a parking meter, and then, parallel parked my Suburban. (Can we just stop right there and say that should earn me a trophy, in and of itself?!? Thank you.) I put the baby in the stroller and walked down the sidewalk, with the 2 boys trailing behind me. Got everyone into the lobby, then the elevator, went up to the third floor, through the maze of hallways to the hubby’s office.
The fight was over.
And now, I got to do something really special.
My husband had purchased a pack of massages from a massage therapist in his office building. As a treat, he asked me to bring the kids to his office, and hand them off to him. They’d all eat lunch in the office courtyard, while I went to get a 30-minute massage.
And. It. Was. Hand-off. Time.
As my (sexy, amazing, awesome) husband rolled the stroller away from me in the hallway, the toddler and preschooler trailed behind him. They yelled inappropriate things like “Spiderman forever” and “Captain Jack Sparrow,” as they unceremoniously scraped their toys on the side of the hallway walls on their way to the elevator.
I smiled inside, as I turned the other way and walked to the massage therapist’s suite.
She was waiting for me. We said our hellos, and then she dimmed the light and left the room so I could lay down on the table.
As I laid there, with my eyes closed, I realized that I’d been so busy all morning that I hadn’t even had any brain power to focus on how amazing this was going to be. I’d been too busy to even look forward to it. All of a sudden, every nerve ending in my body sang with anticipation for the relaxation that was to come.
She came back in.
And as her hands started working on my upper back, she said the most beautiful words.
Words that I will never forget.
“Right now, your only job is to relax. My job is to massage your muscles and thank them for protecting you and nurturing your children and doing all that they do. But I don’t need any help from you. I know you’re a caregiver, so your first instinct is to help. But right now, you don’t need to take care of anyone. Just relax.”
Even as I type it out now, I can feel my body turn to liquid at even the thought of those words.
And let me tell you. Those words fed my soul in the most profound way.
You don’t need to take care of anyone.
I’m not sure anyone has ever said them to me. Maybe my mom, when she stayed with us while I was pregnant and ended up getting the stomach flu. Lay in bed. I’ve got this. Just relax.
It’s amazing how just a few words can loosen every muscle and uncoil every twisted nerve ending in my baby-holding, toddler-raising body.
How it can move my soul, so far… that if I think about it long enough, it’ll bring a tear to my eye.
Your only job is to relax.
For the next 28 minutes, I closed my eyes and dove, deep and deep and deeper, into a warm, luxurious pool of relief and peace and calm. I was swimming in nirvana. It was blissful.
I’d been relieved of taking care of anyone, even myself. Even if just for a 30-minute massage.
No one needs me. I can relax.
The feeling is so foreign that it took a few minutes for me to settle in. And as she soothed my tight, stressed, always-needed-by-someone body, she also soothed my soul. If that sounds silly to you, I don’t really care. It’s true.
In that moment, I realized how rare it is for me to not to be needed. I’m normally on-call for 3 little people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Milk refills, diaper changes, laundry folding, sandwich-making, boo-boo-kissing, and all the repetitive, monotonous, relentless tasks that come with parenting young children. Sure, I’ll miss it one day. And I know I’ll wish someone needed me. But right now, I’m just really really tired.
But there, laying on that table, not being needed… just felt so grand.
And I also realized something else.
I really need to get back here very, very soon.
(But for now, it’s back to my day job. I hope that next appointment comes real quick.)