Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Four Hours of Ordinary Time

Today I spent 30 minutes helping my second son practice driving and only sucked in to make the car slimmer twice. We sent out invitations for a movie party for my about to be seven year old, and I found time to pick up the dry cleaning, get the car washed and make pancakes for dinner. Three daughters sang in harmony to "Dear Theodosia," from Hamilton while the two youngest brushed their teeth.

Three dressed for bed by eight, after a full day of work, it's going to take an act of the will to read stories but, I can't not climb the stairs. The youngest is turning seven, and bedtime stories are as I have discovered, something which evaporates over time.

She fully reads on her own, so the need for a narrator is disappearing. Today, she saved me a book and a spot. Paul brings his dinosaurs to listen, and they fold their hands in prayer too when it's over. Half an hour later, I discover the bathroom needed serious help, and one brother stole the comforter and pillow from another's room. Meanwhile my fifteen year old plinked on the piano, headphones rendering her oblivious to all but her own head. Time to do the dishes.

I don't know why some days, the minutia of life is effortless, and other days, impossible. One kid needs a band-ade, another lotion, and a third can't find a paper he had only five minutes ago. I text the one who has the car this evening, "It's time to come home," and write out the schedule for the next day. There are ten forms I need to sign and six checks to write. I also need to make a late dinner for those coming home after nine. Did anyone take down the trash? No. Not yet. I keep trying to get back to the computer, and life keeps pulling me back away.

My writing coach declared I could never have writers block, and that I only need write stream of consciousness from the day to prove it. Writing twelve hours of my life, well, there are a few moments I'd rather not immortalize in my head, or anyone else's. Yet I know, there's something missing in the arc of these four hours, and if I don't chronicle it all, the memories created spill out like syrup, too quickly and too much all at once, and if standing alone, too sweet.

The reality includes all those things I'd rather omit from the record; the teasing and the fights and the struggles and the bad grades, the spider bite on the right cheek near her ear and the messes left behind in dribs and drabs and glasses half filled with water. The real story includes the pull-ups I clean up, the bathroom towels abandoned, the pillows and blankets "borrowed" in retaliation and the bumper stickers put in places I said they shouldn't go, which will rip up paint. The stories untold include the social media I see, and what they think I don't know or understand. That's probably for the best. I don't want them to work hard to become wily. Let me be near them. Let them think me naïve.

What I want them to know is they're lovely and I love them. I wish they'd clean up more, do their homework without me nagging and make real peace with each other. I've prayed and continue to fret over all the thousands of little worries I have because I'm Mom. However, when I describe them each, my writing coach says they become purple giraffes on the refrigerator. Maybe so, but while within the home, I'll tell them what's what, it's not my job to remember their faults or to expose them to everyone else. It's my job to put them up on the fridge with a magnet and say, "Hey look, So and so is pretty awesome."

We couldn't weather all the bad that goes in a day, let alone a lifetime, if we didn't love these people beyond what is earned. Hopefully as they grow up, they'll recognize, we loved and still love them unfairly. Hopefully, the combination of truth at home and pride abroad helps them learn, love is always more than what can be merited.

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