Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “RealLife”

Waiting is Empty

Waiting is an activity robbed of its activity.  Anticipation is waiting plus joy.  Dread is waiting plus fear.  But sheer waiting itself is empty.

But this is what we are doing now, with the house spic and span and the pictures on the Internet, we wait as the white and black For Sale sign swings on the front lawn.  And I ramble about the empty house with its echo, and scrub stray fingerprints off the barren fridge.  No pictures, no knick knacks, all the toys in bins.  Everything valuable is either pack in numbered boxes in the basement, or stuffed into a black gym bag to be stowed in the trunk of the minivan when someone comes to look.  Look at a house which is still ours, but may not be for long, or maybe ours forever.

The next item on the house selling project agenda: wait.

I went for a walk with Princess, Big Boy and Baby yesterday.  As I pushed the Chariot stroller down the icy sidewalks, and I looked up at the front room windows of my neighbours and I somewhat envied their state.  My emotions reminded me of sitting in the reception area while waiting to be called in for a job interview, as they employed nonchalantly moseyed by trying to get a look at who they might share a cubicle with.  Meanwhile, all I could think is how great it would be to be one of them, with a pass card and a paycheque.  Now here were all these  Not For Sale houses, and I imagined their toothpaste stained counters, stacks of personal papers and corners of unfinished projects, with no worry of someone calling an demanding entrance to peek in their most distant closet.

But at least the waiting has given me a chance to stop working at getting the house ready to wait, and I have had a chance to slow down with the kids again.  I realized that my parental skills had slipped this past month when today, Art Girl kept jumping up from lunch to play a musical accompaniment on the computer.  I finally got up to check what she was up to and found that she was jumping from game to game on the National Geographic Kids website.

This last month Princess changed the most.  Sometime in the last 4 weeks, she grew up.  I noticed it first at the restaurant on Tuesday when she confidently ordered a cheese pizza, carrots and chocolate milk from the waitress with no help from me.  Full eye contact, please and thank you.  Then today, I dropped her off at her preschool dance class.  I kissed the top of her head and she ran off into the room, and started leaping toes pointed, across the floor, her arms out, smiling.  She was wearing her hot pink and blue tutu tunic, with leggings covered in multi-coloured heart polkadots.  She looked like a deer in the sugar plum forest.  And it filled my heart with such joy that I could have stayed there all day and watched her and wept.   As I dragged Big Boy, Baby and myself back to the car, a lady passed by.  She looked up at the blue sky and sunshine.  “Isn’t it a glorious day?” she asked.  It was.

The problem with waiting, is wishing the now over, wishing the time to pass and the days to fall away.  With so little time on this earth, and so much to make us happy, it seems a sacrilege to wish it away, to pine for days ahead.  That’s why I see waiting as empty, and a waste.  So we will call this phase resting.  Because whatever the future brings, we will find some joy in it.


I Think I’m Normal, But I’m Not

We take up a lot of path when we go walking

Today’s Parent On line sent out a call for parent bloggers: “Topic: What makes your family unique?”  Gee, that’s a tough one, I thought.  I’m so normal.

Except I’m not.

I keep forgetting that the rest of the world doesn’t have six kids, 10 and under — or, as I like to put it,  2 kids 3 times.  I mean to us, this is normal when you have a 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, and a baby: dinner for 8 every night, $43 dollars for a fast food meal, boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs waiting for the next kid to grow into them.  We love our life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but sometimes I forget just how weird we must seem.

Weird like this:

  • We will be shopping in the Toy Department for 21 consecutive Christmases, before our youngest outgrows toys.
  • A jacket is worn by five different children, before we donate it to Goodwill.
  • We have to get two hotel rooms.  Otherwise, we’re breaking fire regulations.
  • Costco is our regular grocery store.
  • I have been playing “Bear in the Big Blue House: Time to Go” intermittently for 8 years now — and I’m still not done toilet training.
  • My husband calculated that we have changed 20,170 diapers costing us $7,100.  (He did a spreadsheet.)
  • We wore out our crib, our supersaucer, two highchairs, a bouncy chair, and two strollers.
  • I was going to try to list some of the funny places where I breastfed or changed a diaper, but I can’t think of a place where I have not breastfed or changed a diaper.
  • We take our 3 month old babies camping with us, because otherwise we would never go camping.

So you see, I’m a little unusual.  And deep down I know it.  Both my husband and myself came from families of two kids (a boy and a girl) and, while I always wanted  5 or 6 kids, I didn’t think that it would actually happen.  If you had told me while I paced with my colicky first born that things would turn out this way, why, I just might have screamed louder than her.

But, I’m not that weird.  We don’t do family closets, all wear the same colour, or co-ordinate outfits from Gymboree.  We attend the local school, listen to the local radio, and the girls’ go-to outfits are jeans and a T-shirt.  We play Wii and watch iCarly.  Yet, when I’m out and about with my 4, 3 and 7 month old people always smile and comment “how busy you must be.”  Meanwhile, I’m thinking I’m having a break with only half the crew along!   Sometimes I feel like a professional mother.

And that’s okay.  Because there is nothing like having 6 little people crowding your bed to wish you Happy Mother’s Day.  Or seeing the 8 year old reading her younger brother and sister a story — while she’s holding the baby on her lap.  Or knowing that you don’t have to worry about how the kids are going to entertain themselves on your camping trip — they have 5 playmates already along.   Things might be noisy and a little crowded, and OH!  the laundry.  Lord knows I can stretch a dollar until it screams.  But in this texting, tweeting, IM-ing world today, sometimes you just need a hand to hold,  a real live warm hand of someone who loves you.

As of last count, we’ve got 16 of those.  And that kind of weird is great with me.

Want to read more about the crazy life we lead?  You might like these posts:

Feel Free to Kick Me If I Nod Off

Why Your Kid is Happy and You’re Not

School bans balls…Next, children

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