Sometimes it takes awhile for our country boys to plow our rural roads. And sometimes this renders husband stranded at the bottom of a very long hill. Come home early, I always say. But he pays no mind. And after many attempts (it’s a man thing) the car has to stay at the bottom of the hill and mama has to drive down with the van to rescue husband (it’s a girl thing.)
Today, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, there is a rooster crowing through the windows of my bedroom. That’s not what woke me from my nap (that would be Brynne). Gregor does not enjoy rooster, but I rather like him. He makes me feel all country. And the rooster seems to set the scene for my newest domestic experience: Canning peaches.
I loooove canned peaches but have never attempted to can them myself because that’s a wee bit scary and way over my head domestically. My friend, Kate, cans peaches and if I’m extra nice she gives me a few jars a year and my life is filled with song.
She kept telling me that it wasn’t hard. Kate is the one that taught me how to can applesauce. It is now something I must do every single October. But I remained doubtful regarding peaches as Kate is the domestic goddess. What is easy for her is a chicken enchilada disaster for me. I could be very successful, I’m sure, if I only followed her around and took pictures of the things she can create in her kitchen.
I can be barefoot and I can be pregnant, even at the same time, but canning peaches…mmmm…too much work. And I heard it was sticky. Like all over your kitchen sticky. Instantly unappealing. I have enough trouble keeping the kitchen clean.
Well, the other day Kate gave me a call. I wanted peaches, right? Help was on the way! A 48lb box for $20, was delivered to my doorstep and the rarely accessed domestic goddess button began buzzing away in my brain. The manuscript was set aside. Oh my…have you ever smelled a giant box of peaches? The aroma alone can spin you right into an apron with your hair in a messy bun, and water boiling on the stove.
Canning Peaches was Googled immediately and Kate was put on call, standing by, if an emergency arose.
Oh there it is…
Taken off the counter by Brynne and assembled into a lovely centerpiece on the living room floor. “A Pineapple and Company,” featuring a candle (stolen off the counter), a glass rabbit, a plastic dog house and wagon. All assembled on a plaid doll house skirt. I’m thinking I should let her be in charge of interior design around here.
In six months I will be unemployed.
I knew this day would come, even though some days, it couldn’t come fast enough. But now that it’s almost here I feel like yelling “WAIT! I’m not ready yet!” I don’t want to send out resumes. I don’t want to “brush up on neglected skills.” I already have the job I want.
I’ll need some severance pay.
I will definitely need counseling.
In six months my blue-eyed four-year-old, Paige, goes to school.
I know, it’s not like I quit being a mom just because my children are in school. It can be a full-time job keeping a house running smoothy, even when the kids are in school. There is always plenty to do.
I know I’m a bit too sentimental, someone who romanticizes the past far too easily, but I haven’t forgotten the hard days. I clearly remember days of colic, throwing up, changing wet underwear every single hour, losing mittens, wet-wipes, all that snow gear, stumbling in the dark to find the darn pacifier, trying to shower alone, my arm going numb from carrying a heavy child up the hill. I used to wonder why I was so very tired. I often thought, just let me lie down. And then finally the baby started sleeping through the night and I began to feel somewhat normal again.
There were bad days, but there were a lot more good ones. There were boring, slow days, but there were exciting, adventurous ones too. There were tears and tantrums, but there were rocking chairs and thumb-sucking. There were those big innocent eyes that told me there was no one else they loved so much.
I’m determined to enjoy these last few months with my last child at home all day. We will have a grand time. But I’m also thankful kindergarten is only three hours. Thank you thank you thank you it’s only three hours. I can do three hours…I used to dream of a quiet house and now I’m terrified of the feeling.
With each child before, that marched off to school, I was always so happy to see them jump off the little yellow school bus and run right back to me. Three hours apart was plenty for the both of us. And I know, we will both adjust.
I didn’t put Paige in a preschool mostly because I didn’t want her to leave. You see, we have this ideal symbiotic relationship. She likes me, I like her. It’s quite perfect. We do letters and reading. We count. We share. We say please and thank you. We do those great PBS Arthur puzzles and play the princess matching game until I can’t take it anymore. We play games I don’t like (Hi-Ho Cheery-O!) and she sorts silverware because I ask. We go for walks, play with others, put band-aids on baby dolls. We cook muffins and fold laundry. We lay in bed sick together. We rarely argue. And when we do she’s always the first to apologize. Who needed preschool?
In fact, a certain person in the family (I don’t like to name names on this blog 🙂 insist it’s gone way too far, that someone is a wee bit too attached. No matter where I’m sleeping Paige will find me. If I’m in bed she will stand up, in the middle of the night, with her eyes closed and find me. Then she snuggles up and all is well in her world. She is so big now that it drives that other person in the bed nuts. She is also a very crazy sleeper. She flops to the right, flops to the left; it’s rare that her head stays on the pillow. Usually it’s her feet next to my nose. That other adult in the bed gets pushed to the side and then his back hurts. If I fall asleep on the couch downstairs she will find me at some point during the night. If I’m out the door early to run, and she wakes up, she cries until I come home.
I have not discouraged this co-sleeping arrangement. Those poor older children were always put right back in bed after the age of 2: You are too big. There isn’t room. Because there was always another baby in the bed with mom. They don’t appear traumatized. Yes, this is how the youngest child becomes spoiled…mama just can’t apply the same rules because she doesn’t have to…
When I told Gregor that I was sad, and that my whole identity was being ripped right out from underneath me, he said, “Tell you what, now you can refocus all your energy on loving me…”
I know, I know, I need to embrace this upcoming stage in life. I will find my spot just as she will find hers. I’m going to sieze the day and enjoy every single second in the right here and now. I’m going to listen to Dr. Seuss – Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
I’m really going to try not to stop mid-stride when I see you outside on the playground, pushing your little girl on the swings. I’ll try not to break down when you reach down to zip a coat or put a mitten on your little boy’s hand (I know, for the thirtieth time in an hour). I may not carpe diem you out loud, but you betcha, I’m thinking it. And if it happens to slip out, try to understand. It’s just because I wish I was you.
Yes, I need severance pay. In the form of a blue-eyed four year old little girl.
It wasn’t until I read Lindsey’s post that I realized that a decade had just gone by. Amazing how life has changed in ten years. I thought about significant events:
2 1/2 years of marriage turned into 13 1/2
Understood how you could love someone more than yourself
A new mother of one to a more “seasoned” mother of 4
Had four healthy pregnancies
No major illnesses
Understood why 12 teenage boys were good birth control
Apparently I’m a slow learner
Stayed up way too late every Saturday night waiting for the last kid to come in, praying there was no alcohol on his breathe or glazed pot eyes.
Potty-trained 4 children
Read a whole lot of parenting books
And People magazines
Only had 1 ER visit for a child and 1 for the husband
Traveled to Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Florida, Maine, Vermont, NYC, Rhode Island, Boston
Changed a million diapers
Nursed 4 babies
Gave away all the baby stuff. And was sad.
Saw three children go to kindergarten and one to middle school
Had a child yell, “I hate you.”
Had children say, “I love you,” more.
Said good-bye to being a dorm parent for nine years!
Got a job teaching biology, then anatomy & physiology, then strength & conditioning
Many pig dissections 🙂
Just said good-bye to all those jobs but swore I’d be back
Bought our first home!
Learned how to garden, paint walls, fix a few things, install a tiled floor
Survived two flooded basements
Cried a lot
Had Nelson teach me how to play chess
Cope tried to teach me to knit
Brynne taught me how to like the spunkiest of children
Paige showed me why youngest children are spoiled
Learned that childhood won’t last and having a child sneak into my bed at night is the least of my worries.
Taught 3 children piano lessons
Learned how to cook, make bread
Learned how to grocery shop with four children in tow – happily 🙂
Began making chore charts
Phased out of newlywed to wife and mother for the long haul
Ran a lot of 5ks
Ran a marathon and a couple halfs
Saw my hair morph into many different styles
Tried many a hair gel 🙂
Frowned at many stubborn white hairs
Said good-bye to too many friends
Said hello to new ones
All of my siblings married. And I’m the luckiest sister-in-law in the world.
All my brothers and Gregor’s brothers served missions
Became a mini-van mom. Oh my gosh.
Went from a church branch to ward. Served in many callings.
Filled 10 scrapbooks
Gregor’s family was sealed for time and all eternity
Got a fish, chickens, and a dog
Parents moved from childhood home
Got a cell phone, a personal computer, started a blog
Began to really write
Had many a confidence crises’
Became more confident
Was part of a real birth
Coached many athletes and conditioned many sports teams
Saw Gregor coach, teach, work in admissions, and now director of athletics
Discovered Forbidden Chocolate
Nurtured children and began to see what my most fulfilling job in this life will be
The next ten:
Dating. Oh my gosh.
Out of control homework.
More piano lessons and violin and soccer and karate and skiing and…
Twin boys. that one’s for you G.
Money. Hopefully earned.
A job outside of children. What it will be I have no idea. But I have a hope.
A finished basement
A Proctor sabbatical (better happen buster!)
Travel to foreign lands: Spain, Venice, and Israel. Maybe Iowa too.
In ten years I will be 45 (gasp!) Gregor will be 47 (bigger gasp!) Cope will be 21 (falling over now) Nelson will be 19 (mission?) Brynne will be 16 (dating!) and Paige will 13 (oh boy.)
It goes at warp speed when you look back, doesn’t it?
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you -John DePaola