I've heard it said of parenting that "the days are long, but the years are short". I look back at the younger years and remember the truth of that. I recall the long days, waiting 'til daddy got home from work. I loved those days, but there was an endless feel to them.
My days don't feel long anymore. Right now, it seems as though the days are short and so are the years. These are days of waking up early and sending kiddos off in phases. First the older two, trading advice on outfit choices, swapping sandals and jewelry, trying new hair styles. Prayers, afterschool activity updates, and they're off. Next, wake the younger two girls. Breakfast, hair, talking Claire into a jacket, and too often a hurried reading of the baggy books that didn't get read the day before. Once again- prayers, "Choose the right and Be Kind!" and waving through the doorway as they climb on the bus. By this time, Sam is sometimes awake and sometimes still sleeping. If he's still asleep, I peek in on him. He has taken to sleeping on a castoff crib mattress on the floor between Emmy and Claire's bed. He is sleeping much better now he has roommates. I walk into the older girls quiet rooms, stepping over the tossed-on-the-floor clothing (the obvious losers of that particular days fashion show). I turn out lights, raise the blinds, and shut the door for the day.
I like our busily quiet mornings. I tackle my list for the day. Sam watches a show or plays while I do a barre workout, we tidy the house, throw in some laundry, and if I'm on my game, start something for dinner. There are dishes to be done, rooms that need cleaning, and a house that gets straightened in preparation for the whirlwind that arrives in a few hours as the girls start arriving from school. Most mornings include a call to Grandpa from Mr. Sam, in hopes he can "go to work". Now that the weather is warming up, there is grass to be mowed, flowers to be planted, and weeds to pull.
Claire arrives just before lunch, hungry and sometimes a little
Emmy comes next, and is always greeted with enthusiasm by the littles because she comes up with such fun activities for them to play. School is her favorite, but no matter the itinerary, it almost always involves her teaching them something.
Kate follows shortly after- unless she stays after for math club, to work on History Fair, or lately, to practice soccer with Ashley. It is snacks, homework, and then reading. Lots of reading. I usually have to cut it short in favor of a few chores getting done :).
Ryenne is mostly gone: to work, practice, after school activities or with friends every chance she gets. It feels strange to have her off and away so often, becoming so awfully independent. Of course, this all involves a lot of driving around and picking up and dropping off, which makes me almost ready to send her off in a car before long. Almost, but not quite.
Games, practices, homework, efforts to motivate kiddos to clean rooms that will be messy again by morning. After school snacks and playing referee for the days disagreements. Chatting with cheerful kids on good days and cheering up disgruntled kiddos on the not-so-good-days. "Happys and sads" around the dinner table.
Showers and notes signed and books read and pajamas. Scriptures and prayers if we are doing it the way we should, which of course, isn't every night but hopefully enough nights to make a difference. Bedtime stories and bedtime kisses and if I'm being honest, bedtime battles. Checking texts on teenage cell phones and often, following up with discussions about such things. Long gone are the days of kids being in bed by 8. (These older kids have stamina, I tell you.)
Finally I climb into bed, tired but mostly happy. Weary from a full day and wondering if I'm doing it right. Already making lists for the day ahead and saying quiet prayers and wondering about this child or that child and hoping they're getting everything they need from me. Puzzling over what it is that I can do to be kinder, more patient, and create stronger relationships that will get our little family over the bumps that lie ahead. Feeling thankful for this little family of mine and for a job that stretches me more than I ever imagined.
These are short days. . . filled with people who I love the best and who grow me the most. And I wouldn't trade a thing.