My ears aren’t quite sure what to do with this newfound quiet they’ve experienced in the last 90 minutes. The clacking of my keyboard and the soft crayon strokes from Princess across the table are the only sounds in my house right now. Very eerie.
Although today is day two of our school year, it feels like the first true day of what will be our new normal. Tuesdays are my “meeting days”, I schedule my appointments outside home. Due to the busy-ness of the day, I didn’t really notice the change until this morning’s quiet set in.
I’m thankful for children who love school. They run to the bus with such enthusiasm because they love to learn. I’m thankful for teachers who have more training and more experience than I do at discovering each child’s individual strengths and needs. I’m thankful for 6 hours each day to think my own thoughts rather than answering hundreds of rapid fire questions as if I were on a game show.
On my way to my morning appointments yesterday, Stevie Nicks’ Landslide drifted from the car speakers. One of my favorite songs, I automatically sang along. To my surprise, I found my eyes welling with tears as she sang “Children get older, I’m getting older too.” Sure, it was a bit sentimental, but mostly they were tears of relief and amazement. I had survived what seemed impossible.
Honestly, I don’t recall much of those early years with three children under two years, and later four children three years and under. I do recall feeling desperate, isolated and overwhelmed. I thought days of 3 children in diapers would never end. I thought I would be doing EVERYTHING for them for the rest of their lives. I was wrong.
They’ve grown into amazing people. People who love to “cook”, make snacks, serve others. They enjoy learning the household chores. Most importantly, it’s been days since I’ve had to assist anyone in the bathroom. That may not seem like much to you, but after spending years with 2 or more hours a day changing diapers and wiping butts, that’s huge to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful God blessed us with so many children in so few years. I frequently describe it as parenting bootcamp. I was never the young woman who dreamed of getting married and having a family. It wasn’t that I didn’t want it, it just was in the background of my plans. It was vague, something I’d do someday, down the road, but certainly not a goal to check off my list before the age of 30. Babies and kids just aren’t my thing, personality wise. I don’t coo over babies. I won’t ask to hold your baby. Don’t take it personally – it’s me, not you.
Despite all that, I’m so thankful. Thankful for my children. Thankful for the short span that creates an interesting family dynamic. But mostly thankful for surviving those years. Thankful for the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’ve become through it all.
I remember doing the math all those years ago. Knowing in my head this day would arrive, but my heart felt so entrenched in the moment I didn’t dare believe. Today I sit with more quiet and peace in my house than I’ve had in seven years. Did you hear me? SEVEN YEARS. I think it will take a while to get accustomed to this new normal.