Good and Exhausting
I took a walk tonight with all four kids alone, Isaac and Susanna in the double stroller. Abby asked me why I seemed stressed and I told her that one day she would have one baby, just one, and she would call me and ask me how I ever did four. She said she’d surely be tired and hungry after having a baby, but she wouldn’t be stressed because she’d be so happy. Ben piped up to ask if he would need to “have surgery on his scrotum” in order to become a daddy.
God help me to not be so exhausted that I miss the humor.
Life is so good and so exhausting. Hello, tired thirties. I give a yawn of thanks each night as I climb into bed.
Isaac is learning to use the potty, Abby is learning to be brave in the face of mean girls (yes, still), Ben is learning how to go to kindergarten and not be grumpy all evening, Susanna is learning how to eat real food and deal with incoming front teeth, and Tim and I am learning how to be human without apologizing for it or mentally berating ourselves. And all this learning together is so good and so exhausting. We need loads of grace for one another.
When we all congregate at home, we gather around the table. I will admit that some days, I have to make myself. I’d rather veg out in front of the tv while eating, I really would. But we gather, frayed, weary, tired. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I’ve been teaching the kids what it means to prepare a meal for someone, how much work is involved from meal-planning to grocery shopping to getting it on the table. I want them to know where the food comes from, not think it is zapped into place each night without effort. From this conversation, I can transition naturally into explaining how rude it is to say, “Ew! I don’t like this!” They are learning to say “thank you” for the meal, no matter what it is; they aren’t thanking me for the food only if they like it, they are thanking me for the effort. This battle I will fight. I used to fight to make them eat the food, but now I don’t. They can eat or go hungry and that is that.
So, we as parents are teaching our kids to see us as people, not servants. This is so good, and so exhausting, too.