Friday, April 16, 2010

Shell Shock

Please note that this is a whiny, poor-me, Debbie Downer post. I just need to write this, get over it, and get on with my day. Please feel free to not read this post!!

Last night, I put the kids down to bed. I put the leftover perishable foods in the fridge. I brought in the scooters and bikes from the front yard.

But I left out all the dirty dishes. I left out the cake. I left out all the food that didn't require refrigeration. I left the mound of torn wrapping paper on the floor. I left the pile of wet towels on the bathroom floor. I left the half-done laundry in the laundry room. I didn't even go through Andrea's backpack or get it ready for the next day. I DID brush my teeth, because my diet has been about 89% sugar as of late, but I skipped the floss. I left the sticky kitchen floor. I left the basement a disaster. I left up the birthday decorations. I left the trash can spilling over onto the kitchen floor.

And instead, I went downstairs and turned on the TV. Do you realize how long it's been since I've done that?

I'm not sure when life is going to slow down. I used to be busy. I used to think, 'It has to get easier than this.' And in some ways, it does get easier. But then there are always other aspects that get harder, more complicated. I used to be busy, but I could usually put the kids to bed, and at the very least sit down, watch a movie and fold laundry. But before last night, I don't remember the last time I sat and watched TV, even to do laundry.

My kids, on the other hand, I think have a special relationship with the TV. I think they spend more time with it than they do with me. As I type this, they're down there watching TV. I'm supposed to be showering. But I'm tired of doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing.

I have received comments in the last few months from well-meaning individuals that it seems like my kids are overwhelming to me. And in some ways, they are. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's not my kids that are overwhelming. It's the other 100 million things going on in life that take my attention away from my kids that make it all overwhelming.

And the thing is, it's not like I'm doing anything extra. It's not like I have a hobby that I devote any time to. I don't look at my day and see things that I could have done without. (Well, maybe spending 3 hours making butterfly cupcakes was a bit superfluous) It seems like all I have time for are the essentials, the essentials being:

clean house=dishes done and having a cleared path from one room to the next
laundry=washed, heaped in piles in laundry baskets
callings=lessons done the night before; practice the organ 1/2 hour before church starts
feeding my children=lots of tacos and trips to chic-fil-a
nurturing my children=planting them in front of the Disney channel

And all my other time goes to other essential things that just come up. A friend has a sick baby. There's an EQ activity. I leave my keys in Anders' car, which gets parked at the airport while Anders is out of town. Andrea has art class. Andrea has a birthday. Natalie has a birthday. Friends have birthdays. There are people that need a lot of help. The basement floods. There are Natalie floods. There are doctor's appointments. I have to do PT so I can walk. Ethan covers himself in Desitin during nap time. Ethan fills the bathtub with every toy that he owns. Ethan draws on the walls., I'll stop there.

But the list goes on. And on. And on.

Having said all this, I think I'm a bit ridiculous for complaining about life. I'm not dealing with very sick children; I'm not dealing with a bad marriage; I'm not a single parent. My kids love me. My husband has a great job that more than pays the bills. We're all healthy. I have the Gospel. Life is good.

Okay, DONE! No more complaining. My next blog will be filled with pictures of smiling people and funny stories and happy things. I needed to get the Eeyore out of my system and now I'm fine :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Love thy Neighbor

I have this list of about 37-100-thousand-million things to do (that's the format the girls use when talking in big numbers). And yet one thing remains constant amidst the jumble of things swarming through my mind: I must blog. It's for my posterity. It's how I participate in my family history. It's how I find my sanity. It's my alone time. It's one of the best ways to make my mind stop and concentrate on one thing and one thing only.

And, I really REALLY need to be focusing on the good things in my day. Even though it's spring, and the weather is beautiful, and flowers are in bloom, and the sun is shining, I'm still having a hard time shrugging off those winter blues. Here are my 3 things I'm thankful for today:

1) Good neighbors.

Our neighbor Kathy is so good to my kids. She is interested in what they have to say; she remembers their birthdays; she doesn't get upset if they play in her yard. And today, as we were outside enjoying the warm weather, she invited each of my 3 kids to come choose a flower to pick from her garden. They came back absolutely delighted, carrying lovely tulips and daffodils that now make a bright, cheery, slightly squashed bouquet on our kitchen table.

2) Good neighbors.

Our next door neighbors, the March's, have three children - 2 girls and a boy - all a little older than our 3 kids. Today Dad March offered to take Andrea and Natalie along with his 3 kids to the park across the street. The timing couldn't have been more perfect - it was right around 4:30 - right around the time things start to fall apart in our house. It's when everyone starts to get a little tired. It's when everyone needs a little extra love and attention from Mom. And it's when Mom has just (coincidentally?) run out of love and attention for the day, and right when Mom has to go start dinner and not be bombarded by demands for help and justice and snacks.

And so our good neighbor took all the kids - his and mine - out of their mothers' hair and to the park for a while. And I made tacos in peace.

(Ethan stayed behind, but he is a delight when he is an only child. He played trains for an hour, and no one interfered or grabbed or annoyed. Heavenly.)

3) Good neighbors

So Anders is out of town for the next few days. And, since I've done such a poor job of updating the blog, I should explain that my sister Melinda is living with us. So tonight, the kids and I were having a little Family Home Evening (try explaining the story of Joseph being sold into Egypt to a 3 year old, and tell me how that works for you...). After explaining the meaning of "famine" and "slave" and "food storage" a dozen times, we ended our discussion, said prayers, brushed teeth, and I got the kids to bed without incident.

Then the phone rang. It was Melinda. Her car had died and she was stranded at Walmart. And since Anders was gone and the kids were in bed, I called our friends the Wolfords to see if they might come over and sit at the house while I retrieved her. They were so kind, and even as I type this blog, they are out rescuing my sister, whom they do not know, all the while acting like it is no big deal. I know that's it's a big deal. I know that it's their toddler's bedtime. I know they are busy and have better things to be doing.

How did I get so lucky to have such kind, generous, sincere people placed in my life?

I'm not sure, but I am truly thankful for them.