Thank goodness that my husband works for a school district that gives him a ski break. I don’t know what I would do otherwise. Things have been very busy. We are hosting a German exchange student. She arrived on Sunday, and so the days leading up to her arrival were full of organizing and cleaning and cleaning and did I mention more cleaning. Not because my house was that dirty, but mostly because I started on Monday, and then when the house got dirty, it needed to be cleaned again by Wednesday and then again on Friday, and then one last clean on Saturday. And so I have learned my lesson that sometimes it does pay off to wait until the last minute. Tatum is on her millionth cold of the season and is thoroughly unhappy…and so am I. While I am trying to have grace with her, I am also trying to let her know who’s boss. That might sound harsh, but she is VERY strong-willed. She is refusing to say please, and will just shout “no!” instead. This is how our conversations have been going.
me: are you hungry?
me: would you like some crackers with dip?
me: okay, how about some mango?
T: no. candy.
me: sorry, you can’t have any candy because you haven’t eaten any food.
And then the crying starts…again. Yeah, fun times around here. Poor Ina, that’s our exchange student. She is pregnant and is probably wondering if she has made a terrible mistake. Oh, I should also clarify that she is 29 and married. That could have sounded like a German teen mom otherwise. She is getting her second degree and teaching credential to teach English and French and has to do an intercultural project which is how she landed here!
I could go on about the downer this week has been, like how my wallet was stolen yesterday, out of the grocery store. I was the perfect target as I was distracted and wanted to get out of there before Tatum completely melted down. Ina, asked me about having my I.D. stolen and I said, “well that’s the good news! I needed to get a new one anyway, because I lost my wallet in the summer and never replaced my license!” That’s pretty much how I roll and it drives organized people who are not like me crazy. I called my bank after a couple of hours and $650+ of damage later, but luckily I only had a $20 in there. The bank or credit card company or someone takes care of the rest. Oh, and the craziness that happened while I was on the phone. I was attempting putting the kids on time-out without talking because I was on the phone, you know how that goes. Tatum is crying, Piper is slamming doors and banging a pan from her cooking set on it. It was insanity for about 5 minutes around her. The guy on the phone was super friendly and told me that I could set the phone down for a minute if I needed to. Okay, just breathe. That was yesterday and that is over. Now look at me, I am going on. Stop.
What I wanted to say is that I heard something yesterday that I know to be true but it is hard to remember and internalize it when you are in the moment.
In parenting, the days are long, but the years are short.
So very true. My days have been really long this week. I have been looking forward to bed time, which is sad. That is not how I like it to be and that is not how it always is and I hope that things are better even starting tomorrow. But I know that in the midst of these long days that I have a duty to mother them and teach them and instill in them, as my days and years of investing in my children are short. I don’t want these trivial things to take presedence over that which is lasting. I am going to allow myself to have a bad day, heck even a bad week. I am not going to beat myself up over it. But I won’t allow myself to be sucked into the trap that motherhood is all about mediating arguments, making meals, cleaning up meals, wiping hands and yes, wiping butts. Those are just some of my duties. But the ones I really enjoy, the ones I live for are the ones that don’t fit so easily on a list. I love talking to my children about the needs of those around us. I love seeing Piper internalize it and come up with grand ideas on how to fix all these problems. She wants to have a soap stand on our corner and make and sell soap so that people that don’t have it can come and get it from us. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but she is trying to be proactive and I love that. I love that Piper has spent many nights in her room writing Valentine cards to us and that Tatum’s said “I love playing with you, Tatum”. As I was going off to bed, I thought she had fallen asleep with the light on and when I walked in her bed was covered with stuff and she was writing. I love that Tatum doesn’t want to go anywhere unless she is accompanied by her big sister. I love that the only thing that caused Tatum to stop crying today in the car, and not only stop crying, but also start laughing was her sister. I love all of these things and I love them enough that I endure long days and dirty tooshies because I know in the end that my years are short.