Sometimes when it is nap time I clean. Sometimes I do the wash, sometimes I leave a big kid here and run errands. Nap time is like gold. Today I just want to ignore all that and sit here and write. I like doing that.
Besides, I am experiencing a bit of a nap time miracle. It is Christmas Break, all 5 of my children are home with me. You should know that I do not have docile children. My children don't do puzzles, they don't play video games, or board games, they don't watch TV. They wrestle, run wild in the house, come up with crazy messy projects, play loud music and preform gymnastics routines in the kitchen and over the back of the couch. They are always begging for a friend, a cousin, an outing, a cooking lesson. And, I'm sorry to admit, if things are not hopping with one or more of the above mentioned then they have no choice but to fight or tease the ever loving sanity out of each other or the little ones. But right now, things are relatively quiet, hence my nap time miracle, we'll see how long it lasts.
Laying in the dark the other night, with earnest tears, I begged Scott for answers. "Is this what it is like in all families?", "Did I cause this or were they just born like this?" Questions I have had pounding in my heart for a long time now. I feel like I handled the pandemonium fairly well until the year that I was pregnant with Cali. Things just went to a whole new level that year and now I go to bed aching with exhaustion and questioning my ability to mother such busy, rambunctious, strong willed children. A lot of days I feel paralyzed from making plans or instigating routines because I am just in "managing" mode. Running from this fight, to that mess, to a project over there or a fit in the other room. It's hard.
A story to illustrate if I may. A few days after Christmas Scott and I took the kids to a big store to pick out a Christmas tree for next year. My curious, busy children bounced from one end of the place to the other and I could hardly concentrate on the reason we came in the first place. Frazzled and worn out we corralled everyone and went to check out. Ella was loudly and forcefully looking for something in one of the carts. She pulled herself up on the side of the cart as high as she could which tipped the entire cart and all of the contents over. The crash made an incredibly loud noise and workers and shoppers came running. I was humiliated. I was sweaty. I was sad that a simple outing was so stressful.
Sure, someday we may laugh at seeing Ella all sprawled out screaming her head off, next to the tipped over cart but believe me, in the moment it wasn't funny at all. Especially after everything else that we had dealt with on our little outing.
I know we can shape and nurture and guide but I also know that we have personalities long before we are born. For some reason Heaven thought it was a good idea to send us 5 out of 5 blazing hot and high paced souls.
Scott answered my tearful plea that night in the dark with nothing more than a, "I know, we have hard kids, it's our challenge." And they are hard. But they are brilliant and ambitious and determine. I have watched my boys sit in the dirt at the cabin placing rocks in specific locations creating a "flow" for the hose water running from the lawn. That is what I do. I direct the flow (or the rushing flood waters in our case) of their busy little souls and it is exhausting, treacherous work that has brought me to tears and bent me to my knees many times these past few years.
And yet I am fiercely devoted to them. The little stinkers.
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” -Debra Ginsberg