Last Sunday was one of those days...and the end of one of those weeks. You know, one of those weeks where, at the end of it, you're surprised that you made it through and you hope your kids can forgive and forget the fact that they'd been ignored for an unhealthy amount of time. I had logged more hours on the phone than I care to count as I tried to help a wonderful, troubled family - and when I wasn't on the phone, my thoughts were far away from my two, sweet, dependent kids who needed me, too. I realize that I need to become better in being able to handle problems without becoming so self-absorbed that I neglect what is most important to me.
Maybe on a more normal schedule, my kids would have been a little better at handling my negligence. But they're not adjusting super well to Brian's new schedule - they miss him terribly throughout the day, and I often have to distract McKenzie from tears when she finds out Daddy won't be there to tuck her in on a given night. This surprised me...the fact that I'm actually fine, and my kids are struggling...I was expecting the opposite reaction. But I think the Lord is giving me more strength than I need so I can turn my thoughts away from me, and onto my kids.
Anyway - back to Sunday. At church I finally tied up all the loose ends with this family (being serenaded the whole time by McKenzie's shrill cry of attention), and packed my kids, bags, books, scriptures, toys, shoes, papers, stickers, and purse (seriously...why can't all the little things stay in one bag?) into the car. As I drove home, I carefully mapped out the rest of the evening - saturated with some serious mommy-kids time. I was excited to have a nice, fun dinner and then move on to books, puzzles and games before winding them down with a nice, warm bath and tucking them into bed with a few songs, and many hugs and kisses.
My plan started off well - we had a pancake party together...complete with fresh peaches, strawberries, raspberries and bananas, and a little powdered sugar on the top (that was McKenzie's suggestion, and it was actually very good!). About halfway through the dinner, Carson dumped his full cup of apple juice onto the white, tile floor (and I know it was on purpose because just after he did it, he looked at me and said, "Ha, ha, ha, ha" in a very sing-songey, mocking tone - ohhhhhh, isn't he cute?). But, this night was all about love, right? So, I gently asked him not to do it again, and filled his cup up with water. Ten minutes later, as we were finishing our last bites of dinner, I glanced down to the massive puddle of apple juice to see hundreds of little, black ants throwing a party around, and in, the apple juice. "OH!" I exclaimed. I moved the kids and the stools out of the kitchen and grabbed a rag to wipe up the mess. The juice had dried just enough to get super sticky...so as I wiped the rag across the antsy-juice, I ended up just spreading ant guts all over the place. "Dang - now I gotta mop the floor" I thought. So, I filled up the sink with sudsy water and started mopping it all up. As I finished I had the heart-sinking thought,
"Uh...it's awfully quiet around here."
Yes, it was quiet because my kids had gotten into the stash of macaroni and cheese, taken 15 boxes of it into the nice, clean living room, opened 3 of the boxes and dumped all the noodles on the floor. I went to get the vacuum out of the hall closet, and by the time I got back, they had managed to open the cheese packet, dump it all over the light carpet, and get their little wet tongues into the mess. Banning them from the room, I started to vacuum, (of course, our vacuum doesn't really work - so I had to get most of the noodles off of the floor on my hands and knees), and spray carpet cleaner into the stained fibers. Ohhhhh, aren't they adorable? After I was blotting up the last of the orange spots I had the heart-sinking thought,
"Uh...it's awfully quiet around here."
Yes, it was quiet because my kids had gone into the bathroom and found the shampoo and the soap. They had rubbed it in their hair, on their clothes, and dumped it all over the bathroom floor. Isn't that darling?! It was 6:45 at this point, and my whole evening of mommy-kids time had been wasted. My patience was completely lost, and they were sent to their rooms for an early bed with no stories, no songs, and just one hug and kiss each.
Still seeking for attention, McKenzie kept coming out of her room (until about 9:00). Each time she came out she'd say, "Mommy?" in her sweetest, quietest voice...but I would quietly reply:
"Nope, I'm not mommy any more tonight...mommy is gone for the night. Go to bed and check back tomorrow."
Have I mentioned how wonderful they are?!
Ah, that's just the thing though: they could do it over and over and over and over again...and I couldn't help but love them to death in the morning. What is it about those two little kids? They drive me crazy sometimes - but I can't imagine my life without them. They give me purpose and fulfillment, laughter and joy. And, though this controversial article in Newsweek concluded that having children does not make you happy (which I agree is true in many cases), my two little kids have made my life and my world, and I can honestly say that, for me, having kids has definitely made me happier....even though I have days like last Sunday.