I never thought much about it when they were all home and I felt like I was drowning in kids all those years, and the quiet is welcome, but every once in a while, this old house takes on the rhythmic routine of days gone by. It's like being able to go into the past, only everybody is older now. There is none of the anxiety that hounded me for so long. For decades I was stressed over things not being "good enough". Now I find comfort in the fact that nothing can hurt this house. We have seen it all, from bees in the walls to fountains of water pouring out of the wall in the shower. I am telling the truth when I say that it would take a doozy to throw us off now. We have practically been through basic training with this house. I like it much better this way.
For the past few days I have:
- spent the majority of time in my pajama's or an apron, or both.
- met one or the other of my older "children" coming in at 4 am, and not been upset with them for missing a curfew.
- visited with my pretend daughter and noticed that of all the people in the house, no one said a word or remarked in any way when my pretend grand baby serenaded us with her version of a song on the piano. Not too loudly and not for too long. I was so proud nobody told her to stop. We are a mellow crew at my house, I am inordinately proud of this.
- felt the boys trying to gauge how awake their sister is, trying to make the choice between sleeping a little later or getting in the shower before their sister, as there is a long wait for hot water after girlfriend gets done.
- heard the voice inside my head ask "are you really listening to your brother and your son have a seemingly casual conversation about AR's, which I am pretty dang sure are assault rifles, and both of them sound pretty knowledgeable?" and answered the voice inside my head "Yes......yes, yes I am." and then smiled. We are a family who can protect ourselves and those we love or are prepared to die trying. I am most definitely proud of that.
- divided up left over ham while my sons bring a table into the house by way of taking off the back door, and then the weather stripping, until they achieved success and kept me from having to turn around and sell a great table and benches that I bought second hand. Without measuring my doors or the top of the solid tabletop, just in case that was not self explanatory. ;) I have raised men who rise to a challenge, not to mention perform miracles with nothing more than a pipe fitter's wrench, a tape measure, and 7 flat head screwdrivers of varying lengths. What a relief.
- watched while wringing my hands as my sons tried and failed to get the old table down the stairs, as the "new" table would not possibly fit down the basement stairs. This did not deter them either. We just switched out the sets and now I can do puzzles on the table in the basement while my youngest baby plays video games with his friends and asks me to "please do not be a part of this conversation, Mom". Something tells me this could be a game changer. The basement has been forsaken by me for several years, for reasons having to do with testosterone and dog hair. No more. Muahahahahahahahahahaha.
- watched one of my mother's dearest friends see the Rock Star's tattoo, (which is his grandmother's name right over his heart), tear up, hug him and say "I am so proud of you", which is pretty much the same thing that I did when he showed me, and the LAST thing I ever could imagine saying when presented with any of my children's first tattoo............of which I had adamantly insisted there would never be any "as long as I live"......... I can eat crow like nobody's business, having had quite a lot of practice over the years. I think I have learned that you just never know what a day will bring, but that it will probably be all right, whatever that is. I needed that.
- comforted and reassured my sister in law that it really wasn't a problem that my nephew left the door open and the dog ran in with big muddy paw prints all over the kitchen, because a) This happens all the time! Really! and b) I bought a carpet cleaner for this exact reason! You know those commercials where the kids make a terrible mess and the mom just smiles and says "that's OK" in a sing songy voice? Well, I am now that mom. It took 22 years and a Bissell but baby, I am finally there and I have to say, it feels good! It really is OK!!
**It should be said that if you want to be "that mom", (and you do!! Trust me, you do!!) you should be very careful not to replace your carpet or fix anything that happens to your walls for a couple of decades. This process will erode the part of you that cares about your house looking "good". This is crucial, not to mention freeing. At the end of the 20 years, you will not give one single flying flip about another stain on the carpet, OR another hole in the wall, for that matter. I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be WORTH IT. In other words, give up now, give up and relax and just enjoy those kids while they are still there. The other stuff you can fix or remodel later, or not........
I hope you had a great Christmas and some down time to just "be home". It isn't easy to accomplish in today's world. You have to really make your priorities count. And if you are one of those people who are still caught up in getting everything perfect? Give it up, now, while there is still time. If you can't drop everything and have a child, at least borrow one for a while, or get a dog. There is still time to save yourself. I have often said of children, "they save us". They really do, not in ways you would recognize as "saving" at the time. It's in the looking back that you see how the hardest things were the best things, in the end, and marvel that you wouldn't trade them for anything.
It's nice to be reminded of that once in a while, even at 4 am.
To my kids, you did a really good job with me. Thanks!