I clipped 8 toenails and 6 fingernails today. They were all mine, and it was all in one sitting which feels like a miracle because, of course, usually nail clipping looks like trying to find the clippers, and not finding the clippers, and asking if anyone knows where the clippers are.
Nail clipping looks like 5 kids telling me where they last saw the clippers, and me looking in those places, and there being no clippers in any of them.
Nail clipping looks like deciding to hunt more, hunt deeper, hunt better, and hunt longer for the clippers, and adding them to the next shopping list in the meantime, and being waylaid by a kid who’s hungry and wants a piece of toast so I neither find the clipper nor add them to the list.
Nail clipping looks like making the toast, and hearing that one kid stole another kid’s Minecraft diamonds, and me threatening to shut off all the screens, forever if they can’t stop fighting about video games, and getting the toast jam wrong, because “I said Grandma’s jam, MOM,” and I screwed it all up because I used the jam from the grocery store.
Nail clipping looks like eating my kid’s toast with crappy-ass jam, and popping another piece of toast in the toaster, and digging past the mayonnaise jar and the mustard coated in dry, crispy mustard bits, and the four jars of pickles to find Grandma’s jam which is adhered to the glass shelf from the last kid who shoved it deep in the fridge while it was still bleeding jam goo from the lid.
Nail clipping looks like being interrupted mid-toast making because someone is hogging two swings outside, and even though there’s a third swing available, “that is NOT FAIR, Mom.”
Nail clipping looks like standing outside on my back patio staring at the kid who’s created a bed/hammock out of two swings and listening to a monologue about the Importance of Creativity During Childhood and how “at least I’m not inside playing video games all day like your other kids who are lazy,” and “shouldn’t I be rewarded for this?” and “besides, I got here FIRST, AND I left a swing for him,” all of which are good points.
Nail clipping looks like playing Swing Judge and offering to cut the middle swing in half so they can share it because that gambit totally worked for Solomon.
Nail clipping looks like kids moving from sworn enemies to comrades, compatriots, best friends forever, as they plan how best to cut apart a rubber swing that’s reinforced with metal cord. They toss around words like scissors and hedge trimmers and chainsaw before they settle on blowtorch as the obvious solution.
Nail clipping looks like telling my kids that, not only can they not use a blowtorch, I wasn’t actually giving them permission to cut the swing in half.
Nail clipping looks like listening to “but YOU SAID” and “you PROMISED” and so much crying.
Nail clipping looks like a hungry, toastless kid finding me hiding in the bathtub an hour later.
Nail clipping looks like me begging him to make his own toast, and him agreeing but looking dejected, and me climbing out of the tub and finding a robe and walking, dripping wet, through my room and down the stairs and down the hall and through the kitchen to make a new piece of toast with Grandma’s jam which is room temperature from resting on the counter.
Nail clipping looks like getting in bed that night – my bed; the on ewith the juddy dog prints and the cracker crumbs from someone ignoring the No Food In My Bed/SEROUSLY/I Mean It/STOP DOING THAT rule – exhausted and catching my tattered toenail on the blanket and remembering I never did clip my nails.
Nail clipping looks like repeating that cycle and others like it, times infinity, in an endless loop until I’m the owner of ripped and ragged claws rather than nails at all, which is, I think, simply one of the definitions of motherhood.
In conclusion, I clipped 8 toenails and 6 fingernails today. They were all mine, and it was all in one sitting which was a miracle.
Also, I love you momrades and dad-rads who can relate. I love you, and I love you, and I’m praying for a miracle for you, as well. May we all know what it is to have (mostly) groomed nails. I HAVE A DREAM, and I invite you to join me in it.
With love as endless as this cycle,