Monday, March 31, 2008

To: Mom and Dad Subject: Paradise

I suppose you’ve reached that age when it’s officially allowed to get out of the late winter weather we have around here and head south to better climates. Some people call you ‘snowbirds’ but after the recent bouts of snow, rain and ice we’ve had here, I think I’ll call you ‘smart’ and ‘lucky.’
I also suppose that while I sit here and watch the sleet fall outside my window, your windows are open, the warm breeze blowing in. Your house probably doesn’t smell like it’s been closed up for four months, harboring all of the wonderful odors that come from having small kids around. You are probably not dining on chicken nuggets and fruit punch, and you most likely don’t have to dig through a pile of clothes to find a shirt without spit-up on it.
Sounds a bit like paradise.
Yesterday was just a normal day around here. I woke up the kids, although they didn’t want to get out of bed. Truthfully, I lied and told them it was a snow day, and when they jumped up all excited, I yelled “psyche!” even though I knew they had no idea what that means. They do now.
After forcing them to wear weather-appropriate clothes and wrestling to wash faces and brush hair, away we went on the morning route. Around the town I drove, dropping off kids at school and running errands, all the while hauling the baby through the rain; If she wasn’t born tough, she will be soon enough.
Once I got home it was as if the entire world had emailed me and given me a list of things to do. I spent two hours on the phone and the computer, trying to accomplish things with one hand while the other held a baby. Meanwhile, your grandson found a tin whistle and apparently started to teach himself how to play one very high, very loud note, mostly while I was on the phone. I don’t know how they do it, but kids just seem to sense when they should be quiet…and that’s when they make the most noise.
After lunch we headed to story hour, disheveled as usual. I must have looked like a bag lady, my coat collar turned in, diaper bag and library bag slung over my shoulders. The baby was awake and making noise (they must start sensing that quiet thing at a very young age) and sometime when I wasn’t looking, your grandson put on pants that are two sizes too small for him.
The librarians were probably wondering when the flood was coming.
As expected, we walked out of the library with more books than I had planned, which didn’t help with my bag lady status. Then it was off to school to pick up the kindergartner, meaning I had to show off my unkempt family to an entirely new crowd.
While the kids enjoyed an afterschool snack of whatever they dug out of the fridge, I took advantage of the few minutes I had and decided to wash the bedding, something that I know is overdue. Things like that just creep up on you—one day you’re sleeping in fresh clean sheets, the next you realize that last week when the little ones climbed in bed with you, the drool they produced is now a dried up stain on your pillow. Such is the price we pay for cuddling with our kids.
The evening was spent doing homework, practicing piano, playing Uno, and reading a few more chapters of the latest Junie B. book. I admit, it’s the most reading I’ve had time for in months.
After the kids were in bed, I crashed on the couch where I fell asleep, only to wake up and drag myself to an unmade bed—the sheets were still in the dryer.
So with eyes at half-mast, we made the bed and fell into it. I laid there knowing that as excited I was to finally get some sleep, I knew full well I’d wake up still tired tomorrow, where the same crazy schedule awaited me.
Yet another day in my own little paradise.

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