Will we make it?

The school year ends on Friday, which seems like cause for celebration.  However, I am currently wondering if we’ll make it through the rest of this week.

Today is one of those days.  You know, the kind when the school hours are spent holding crying children all day, then breaking up the fights they get in while you’ve got all four of them piled on your lap.  They cry, so you try to comfort them, and then someone else cries and needs comfort, and then they get jealous and want to be the ONLY person you’re helping so they begin to cry all over again and kick and push and fight each other for the only prime real estate in the world:  your lap.

I thought I’d do laundry today.  I’ve been thinking that for the last 10 days.  Not good.  I needed to do laundry today, because we’re all at the end of our clean clothes, and we still have two days of school, and as soon as school’s out on Friday we’re driving to Denver for the weekend.  Yep, the laundry is important.  And I went upstairs to work on it at least a dozen times today, only to be thwarted by the person at the door and the little ones who have been incredibly high maintenance today.

Tonight is our piano recital.  Sounds simple enough, but I also had to email the soccer coach who planned a last minute practice, get out of the gymnastics carpool, explain to my nine year old why we’re not going to Pack Meeting, etc.  The recital is at 6:00 pm, early enough that I can’t serve dinner AND get the kids in clean clothes AND drive 30 minutes to get there on time.  It’s late enough that by the time they perform, we spend a few minutes greeting everyone, and drive home it will be too late to start making dinner without major emotional meltdowns due to hungry tummies.  Yes, I could have put something in the crockpot, but just didn’t manage to pull my brain together in time.  I used the ingredients for my crockpot meal on Monday so I could be at the doctor’s.  Since I haven’t had time or mental capacity to put together a real meal plan and do some legitimate grocery shopping we’re running low on quick snacks and meals.  At this point I figure there’s no point in shopping until we’re back in town.  So pretty much I’m going to have hungry little ones at a piano recital and there’s not much I can do about it after being in the car all afternoon listening to my five year old say the same five words over and over again with her nose plugged.

In a three minute break between crying babies, I thought I’d make a cake.  I figured we’ll just get Chick-fil-A for dinner (major treat, we rarely do that) and I’ll have a cake to celebrate my children’s efforts in piano and school.  You know, make a mini end of school celebration.  I tried a new recipe (good for me!), set the timer carefully and then discovered that the baking time printed was way too long.  Thankfully I checked on it 10 minutes early and pulled it out, but it’s much more brown than it should be.  I got it out of the bundt pan, poked holes in it, whipped up a glaze and poured it over to try to moisten it up and salvage my efforts.  Bummer.  Oh well.

Then it was off to gymnastics for one daughter and a chance to explain to the coach why my other daughter won’t be there for a week and a half  (great waste of money) and figure out the summer schedule.  Yes, with three daughters in gymnastics, it looks like I’ll be there Tuesday through Friday every week.  So much for a lazy, unscheduled summer.  One activity and there went most of the week.  In the middle of all this the coach says to me, “You’re coming to the dinner tomorrow night, right?”  I pause, trying desperately to remember what she’s talking about.  I guess we’ll add that to tomorrow night’s lineup, then.  Bring it on!

So, now that I’ve arranged carpools for the kindergartener who has to go in the afternoon tomorrow for a field trip, and the daughter I can’t get to gymnastics because I’ll be 20 minutes away at a last minute soccer meeting for a new team with a new coach, and figured out that I guess I’m going to a dinner I didn’t know about (and making dessert sometime before that), we’ll try to find clean clothes for the piano recital in an hour.

At some point in the next 24 hours, I’ve got to clean the car, wash our clothes, get an oil change and tire rotation, make it to the bank for cash, get to the store for road-trip snacks, find our bags so we can pack, clean my house so I’ll be willing to come back from our trip, fill out and turn in a bunch of paperwork at the school, and write thank you notes for all the teachers who have taught my children this year.  Honestly, I could do it…. it’s just that my three little ones are the wild cards, and today hasn’t been encouraging.

SO, if this post seems like it’s written in run-on sentences like a music piece that’s entirely staccato, it’s because that’s how my brain is working today.  And with a trip, two huge deadlines looming next week, and the hope that we can get back to town in time for a special funeral, it looks like relief won’t come until mid-June.  I remember my sincere feelings from yesterday about making more time for my armor building and wonder how things could go so very wrong in just a few hours.

I know that my life will never be simple with 8 children, but I do believe that someday I’ll be able to clean and do laundry with more predictability than I can now.  But guess what?  That someday will come because I won’t have a little 9 month old baby crawling around the house putting anything and everything in her mouth, or a two year old who changes clothes 20 times a day in search of the elusive, “cutest clothesies” ever, or a four year old who needs a cheerleading team in place so he can use the bathroom, or a five year old who stresses about everything.  It will come because they’ve grown and won’t be there for me to clean out their mouths or change their diapers or fold them up into a little ball to tickle and kiss and love them.

Oh, as much as I want order, am I ready for the trade?  It will come, probably, sooner than I realize.  So right now, when I look around my house and feel like crying because I don’t have any idea WHEN I’ll rescue it from its current state of chaos, I have to remember that I chose what I have, and it’s what I really want.

So please excuse me while I smother my baby with kisses.  Never mind that her face is covered with pretzels that she snagged off the floor while the big kids were snacking.  And the recital?  Well, we probably won’t look great, but we’ll be there and support our children/brothers and sisters.  And the weekend trip?  Hopefully we’ll all be wearing clean clothes.  And the house?  I’ll get it clean sometime.  Yes, we will make it.  It may get ugly, but we’ll make it.  And while all the craziness swirls around us, at least I’ve got them all.  I can’t forget that.  I’ve got to live like I love it.  Because I do.

Jennifer

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