Monday, September 15, 2014

on filling the time capsule

I’ve missed a lot of words in the past few months.  Life has been full, spilling over with all the everyday things of growing a family.  It’s a strange awareness, this juxtaposition of bliss and exhaustion “threat level midnight.” It’s this satisfying feeling of squeezing out every last drop a day can hold, every last lingering bit of energy, thought, and motion that a person can muster.  And then celebrating it all with the act of collapsing into rest (as interrupted as it is), only to wake up and repeat. 
This is my time capsule of these first, fleeting days as a family of five.
I’d tell you about seven years of marriage. There was a simple breakfast date of coffee and pastries on the couch, during the hour before the older kids woke up and after the nocturnal one returned to sleep. Steal the moments wherever you find them, I say. We try. But when I think of seven years, I’ll remember the following scene. Baby girl was hardly two weeks old.  Matt had returned to work. My body felt like it had been cut open (it had) with every movement.  Tired was the new black. Three kids depended on me. Basically, it was survival until he would get home and one day, we all climbed into my bed.  The baby slept on my chest.  The older two obsessed with her every breath gathered around me and when he walked in, tears filled my eyes. Unkempt, surrounded by children, I asked for a cold cloth for my neck.  Minutes passed.  I wondered how hard it could be to find a washcloth?   Soon, he stood in the doorway, holding a pair of his underwear, drenched in the coldest water August could muster.  He shrugged in defeat,  It’s all I could find, but they’re clean.  All the towels were dirty.  Laundry never had a chance in our current state of triage.

I looked at him for a good minute and burst into laughter-- the serious,  body-shaking, tears streaming down my face kind.  The baby on my chest didn’t wake.  The kids giggled in confusion.  And in the moments that followed, as he made dinner and started a load of laundry, I thought, this, right here is seven years of marriage, a deep, honest kind of love. Real. Exposed. Desperate. Sacrificial.  A give all you have kind of love, even when it’s only a clean pair of underwear to cool an aching body.

Maybe next year, there will be a slow, romantic dinner, perhaps a getaway? But, this kind of thing, it’s the substance of our days. It’s the bulk of our story.  It’s real life, messy, crazy, and oh so, beautiful.
and on the subject of life with three kids, I’d add this.
I’m in the laundry room. My son had grabbed a dinosaur pajama top and was trying to wear it as pants.  It was inside out and in frustration, he kept saying, where did the dinosaurs go?  His sister needed her grey tutu, because you can’t twirl without one, silly. MOM,(in her most serious way of saying mom) where is my tutu? The baby started crying. My husband was cleaning the kitchen, which is one of my love languages.  I’m standing there half dressed in my own pajamas.  A missing tutu. Disappearing dinosaurs. Crying baby.   Everyone needs me. I don’t move.  We catch each other’s eyes and shrug. Let’s run away,  I don’t say it out loud, because it wouldn’t be heard over the noise, but I think our eyes understood.  And then, action.  It’s in the laundry basket.  Those aren’t pants! Pick up baby.

These days are basically an ebb and flow of thinking either what have we done or we’re living the dream.  Sometimes it’s damage control. Sometimes it’s magic.
Like this next story. 
on homeschool and fostering an environment of learning.
I walked into the kitchen where he was pointing to a word on the wall, that he recognized from his reading lessons.  I walked into the kitchen and there he was, mama, this is the word IS

And when he said, let’s see if there are any other words I know.

And when I peeked in during naptime, to find her tracing the letters on her library books with her fingers.
and of course, our sweet baby girl
The way her little smile catches us off guard and freezes everything.  The way she has irreversibly changed four lives in only six weeks.  The way she showed up and made all of this feel so real and complete, like we’re all here, doing this crazy life together.

and now, coffee, rock a baby, and built a promised fort.