I found some silver hairs recently. I mean, maybe there were five, but they were definitely shiny silver in color. One for each family member, and maybe two this month for Susanna and her ear infection-turned-fuss-fest.
I don’t know if all moms do this, but sometimes when I’m freaking out that I’m going to ruin my kids or scar them emotionally, I look back on my own childhood. That’s when I remember that, oh yeah, I don’t really have any memories before I was like, four years old, and even then it’s pretty patchy. And when I think of the seat belt laws people make these days, I remember traveling all the way to Florida (where I turned six in Disney World) in the back of a camper van that had theater-style seating. Best.trip.ever. I would look out the red velvet curtains with my legs stretched out and my feet propped up and pretend I was a movie star in a limousine. I mean, those were the days. When my dad didn’t want to stop for bathroom breaks, he just put a port-a-potty in the middle of the camper van and we had to go on the go. (My husband would never go for that, but man it would be nice on those long trips.)
So, here’s to patchy memories; may they ever clear out the memory of those crazy-mom days. (What days? See, it’s working.)
The world of difference between the first baby and the fourth is like, global. I mean, this is news to you, right? No, not it’s not. But as I was cruising through WalMart today with Susanna sucking down the last dregs of my Diet Coke and averting my eyes from passerbys, I realized, it’s really, really true. Not to mention the menagerie of items she has placed in her mouth since she became mobile, all of them perfect choking hazards. Pennies, legos, crayons, floor debris, earrings, the list grows. Side note: not one was choked on, except food items and she has developed a remarkable skill for hacking things back up, like a cow. Wait, do cows hack?
Isaac, as the third born, did some kind of mysterious developmental magic trick wherein he grew up behind my back, in secret, and went from a big baby to a little man overnight. That “overnight” part was actually me birthing another baby, nursing, and not sleeping for two years, so I kind of missed those years. Sorry buddy. I did take pictures. He’s registered to go to preschool this fall. What? Crazy.
Benjamin came home from school this week with this grand scheme to make a “bouncing egg.” He was rattling on about these mysterious supplies we had to buy, which turned out to be white vinegar and a raw egg. When I told him I had white vinegar, he acted as though I was the most amazing preternatural mom to have this substance on hand. I went along with it. Now there is this disgusting-looking frothy egg moldering away on top of our fridge in one of my favorite drinking glasses. And Ben could not be more thrilled, telling me all about how the vinegar eats away the calcium in the egg and how it will be a bouncing egg by Saturday. Someone please tell me you have done this and it works because I foresee messes and disappointment.
Abby is asking a lot of spiritual questions lately and showing interest in baptism. Tim takes her for a few minutes each night to look at different Bible stories. She loves that. She calls it “baptism class.” She also has a lot of interest in telling me her dreams from every.single.night at breakfast in the morning, and I have about zero interest in listening to them. I try not to show it of course, but sometimes I say things like, “Honey, why don’t you finish telling me about that one later…” and she jumps in and says, “No, I want to tell you the whole thing right now because I don’t want to forget it.” Two things that I never realized would be so challenging as a parent: listening to dream summaries and listening to recess drama summaries, which aren’t as different as you might think.
Tim and I recently took a tv fast after a long winter of show-watching and forced ourselves back into books and conversations, where we discover that we do in fact have working brains and things to say to one another. And if we don’t, we go to bed earlier and then have things to say in the morning. Tv definitely keeps us up later.
Sometimes we look at each other and wonder how we got here, four kids and a mortgage. We sat across from a young couple just starting out and told them this golden piece of advice–more frequent date nights. I felt like I heard that a lot, but we didn’t do it because I mean, MONEY, and you have to pick up the phone and CALL PEOPLE and maybe even clean your house first, but yes, yes, yes to all of that and it’s still worth it. It is worth it for someone else to feed them and play with them and they magically become cute again when you come home. DO IT! Do it now, while you’re still young and fun.
And sometimes I get down on myself because I’m dropping this ball and blah blah self-deprecating blah. Then something happens like last weekend, when we had The Great Slushie Disaster with the van door closing on Abby’s hand while she was trying to hand Isaac his slushie and they were both sobbing. And Ben and I stood there looking at them in dismay and then astoundingly, Ben handed his Cotton Candy Nerds Slushie to Isaac. I’m pretty sure angels sang.
Then I knew everything will really still be alright.