The day begins in a mild form of chaos. Not a loud, million voices, massive mess kind of chaos. It’s a quieter chaos, the kind of chaos that comes with every parent who daily attempts to balance the life of self and the little ones for which they care. It’s a silent chaos that echos from within calling forth every ounce of your energy in a Dory-like chant, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
The inner alarm sounds (because after so many years the body knows it’s time) and immediately the the noise begins. . . It’s a race to get on the treadmill and into the shower before anyone wakes up. Inevitably, a knock sounds on the door signaling that I just wasn’t quite fast enough. Breakfast requests are made while I, no doubt, spill milk or place the wrong item in front of the wrong child.
I asked for French toast, I’m corrected.
Oh well, you have a pancake, it’s close enough.
But I wanted French toast.
We’ll try again tomorrow, okay?
Some laughter, a few arguments, random banter and a fair amount of “what’s your favorite. . . ” questions fill the room while I issue a “Hurry up and eat!” about 35 times as three kids are able to completely block out the glowing green numbers on the microwave that constantly warn us that the bus will be here in x minutes.
They bound up the stairs to dress and only pretend to listen to me as I call after them, brush your teeth, don’t mess around, Meadow you can’t wear a sundress, Chanelle come down so we can do your hair, Charlie I don’t want holes in your jeans.
The morning is a blur as we rush for the door to wait for the bus and check and double check. . . Homework done? Do you have your lunches? Did I sign your papers? Meadow, why are you wearing a sundress, it’s 8 degrees outside. Are you ready for spelling test? Chanelle, real quick, spell “people”.
It’s all a blur really. Not because of the speed of it, but rather the chaos and the noise. There is always something or someone, a need or a want. A constant checklist between their stuff and my stuff. Their life and our life. It’s a simple reality of this season of life.
The day continues at a similar speed from sun up to sun down. I know every parent feels this–no matter if you work from home, stay at home, work away from home, married, single, hectic schedule or mild. . . the train keeps moving at a speed far too fast to jump off.
Not that I’d ever want to jump off this train.
What is that saying? The days move slow, but the years go fast? Oh, how I have felt that. Even more lately, though, I’ve felt even the days moving quickly. The sun rises and races back toward the horizon and I find myself clawing for just a few more minutes to breathe, to take it in, to hold a moment in the palm of my hand like the precious jewel that it is. The day moves on and I feel as the clock has waged war against me. It’s a losing battle and I’m certain that ‘time’ is taking it’s victory lap taunting me with it’s imaginary fists in the air, strutting and dancing around the track–certain she’s won.
But then the end of the day comes. The stars have taken their places high in the sky, the moon’s gentle glow can be seen tucked into the darkness that surrounds our house. Brush teeth, get p.j.’s on, clean your rooms up, and get your blanket instructions are only an echo. The debate of can we read in my room? has passed and all is quiet. It is in these final moments of the night that we gather in one room and take back our day.
It’s not a big deal, really. I mean, it’s just a few moments before little ones enter dreamland and the whole day starts over again, but in reality. . . they are the most precious moments of the day. In these moments I lay with little ones tucked into each side of me. One head rests on my shoulder while another lays on my chest. I hold a book, currently it’s Little House on the Prairie, and for a few moments we are all right here, right now, together.
These final moments of the day are a foundation, a grounding connection to what is really important. The chaos disappears and all seems just as it should. Their life and my life merge. Their schedule and ours disappear. We read about the Ingalls family and are fascinated and connected, together, to a world so different than our own.
It’s so simple and yet a saving grace. I take my own lap, with hands raised and fist clenched in victory. Yes, time marches on, but it doesn’t win the battle.
It’s the little things. . .
Snow Days. . .
Daylight minutes added every day. . .
Midday baths. . .
Holding her own with the neighbor dog. . .
Experiencing her first ride on a sled. . .
Light somehow makes everything feel better.
In reality, I understand that there is no holding back time. What I am finding, however, is grabbing onto those little things, and celebrating them, makes times passage okay. . .
. . . despite the speed of it.
I read this poem by Danniel J. Jennax this week and thought it was worth passing on. . .