Whether one or all, I savor my family, chaos and all.

April 05, 2018

Let me paint a picture for you. It’s 7 pm. If dinner has been consumed, plates are scattered about... some on the table, some in the sink. The pans and pots are still sitting on the stove, or if I had a moment, sit soaking in the sink. Or maybe, it’s been a long day, and we haven’t even eaten yet. Yikes. Maybe a kid is in the shower. Maybe two kids are in the tub. Maybe all 3 are playing nicely or all 3 are screaming and yelling. Some PJs are on. Some sit in school day clothes. The dog wants to go out. The cats are hissing at each other. It’s chaos. But, it’s my every day. So I tackle what I can when I can, and I push through until all 6 eyes are closed and asleep. I lay with one, then rub the back of another, and remind the oldest to stop at the end of the chapter she’s reading. And finally. After what feels like hours of work, bedtime is done, and I can now tackle those dishes.

Recently, I found myself alone with one child at bedtime. It’s been almost 7 years since I was alone with one child at bedtime. And at the time, it was with a 22 month old. But now here I was, with my 6 and a half-year-old son. Alone. I cleaned up dinner while he read. Then, he asked me if I wanted to play a game (something I love!) and I, of course, said yes! He came back with princess candyland. He set it up (no arguing over who would put the cards! No arguing over which way the board would face!). We selected our princesses and started the game. Easily taking turns - no tantrums despite the fact that I was winning. Just a few rounds of candyland. Then he took a bath while I did dishes. Then he put on his PJs and laid in bed. I sat with him for a bit, but due to a slight cough, he fell asleep easily and I walked away.

It felt so easy - I mean, all things in life are relative - right? As I’m sure, mamas of one could argue that bedtime is a disaster. But when my child population is cut by 2/3, putting one kid to bed is a dream.

This is just one story. One night. But as my children grow up, I find more and more opportunities for one on one time with each of them. That wasn’t as easy when they were younger. But now my husband and I can conquer and divide. We can get stuff done. Many times though, we love it when it’s all 5 of us. I savor long car rides or staying in a single hotel room. Forced togetherness warms my heart. The sweet way they interact when no outside forces are involved. It’s like they can all get along because no one is watching. But I’m watching. I’m watching them grow together. Share experiences together. Build memories together. And I love that. I always said when I had kids - sure I want them to get along and love each other. But more than anything I want them to share an experience. Whenever they fight I will say - ten or twenty years from now there will be no one other than your siblings to call and say ‘guess what crazy thing mom just said.’ And no one will understand it more than them. These days together are precious. And I love all of it. The love. The fights. The mess. The laughter. All of it.

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