Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Post for Future Christine

Red eyes: the curse of all blue-eyed people
the whole world over.

Sometimes I just need to post things my kids say and do so that Future Christine (who is stronger, leaner, and meaner than Present Christine) can remember and become the sort of unhelpful person who stops new moms and says, with a wistful sigh, "Enjoy it while you can. It goes by so fast."

I know this is pretty mean for Present Christine, but seriously? That's completely unhelpful. Please, stranger lady, go enjoy your children or grandchildren as they are right now. If you need a baby fix, volunteer at the hospital or church nursery. Or hold mine! I'm on the fourth one, I don't care about germs anymore. Have you had your shots? We're good then. I'll be back in thirty. I'll bring you a latte.

(You guys, let's all chuckle because we all know that Present Christine is pretty mean in her own right. I hate to meet Future Christine. She's such a jerk.)

I don't mind sharing that maybe 75% of the time our house feels like chaos. Now, that it IS chaos is just patently not true; it is just how it feels. The Professor and I are both rigid Type A individuals, so there is lots of order and routine in our home, and the kids are all happy hostages in our great takeover. Stockholm Syndrome kicked in long ago, especially for B. Everyone craves organization, everyone craves routine, and I still have to give a numbered list of stops we're visiting on errand day to avoid traumatic meltdowns. My kids are also Type A, is what I'm telling you. My house is clean. Our sh*t is in order.

But still: it often feels like chaos, and I know this is just because four children get in the way of ANY type of organization we think we have set in stone. There are shoes everywhere, even if they are stacked neatly by the front door in the designated spot. I still step on Legos, even if the boys are fabulous about keeping them only in their room. I'm still waiting on C to finish up her breakfast so we can get out the door on time, and this is mainly because C is the least-Type A of all of us and also: She is four. And in a perpetual dreamworld. It's a beautiful place full of unicorns and rainbows, but dangit, it makes me late. I am never late. I do not brake for unicorns.

So as you see, the chaos is mainly of our own devising, with a little bit of good old-fashioned rascally kid chaos mixed in for funsies. We go to bed happy but exhausted to our bones. My expression is permanently set at "Exasperated." Twice this morning I found myself saying, "Y'all. I cannot even." And then later I had to apologize for hollering at everyone. C asked me, "Why are you so angry this morning?"

Burn. Queen Mean Present Christine.

We had one of THOSE days over the weekend. Everyone was nuts. None of us had a chance to rest or just hang out together. Neither The Professor nor I got any one-on-one with each other or any of our children. We put our kids to bed snarling at them the entire time, while they chattered happily and hugged us tight. We were taking them for granted and demanding that they get themselves together and, I don't know, become US. Immediately.

After everyone was in bed we came downstairs. He started on the dishes and I grabbed one of the kids' notebooks to steal some paper to make a grocery list. It turned out to belong to B, my sweet, sensitive, tightly-wound child. (I am so sorry, Future B.) The first page I turned to made me exclaim out loud. The Professor asked what I had seen, and I told him:

"Dear Dad: I love you Dad. Love B."

I kept turning pages to find a blank one.

"I love DAD."
"Mama I love you."

Eventually I gave up on blank paper and just started flipping, reading his messages out loud.

"Frands in Sunday School: [list of names]"
"I love Mrs. Adamson"
"Dear Mama, I love you."
"My Frands: [list of names]"
"Once Upon a time was a boy named B...and he lived happily ever after. THE END"
"Dear Ta I love Ta."
"I love my dad."

Most pages just contained one line or sentence, in the wasteful way of children. Oh, how precious those messages were. They hit my heart with their deep love and sensitivity, reminding me of how ungracious I had been to my boy who had the audacity to whine at me. (Gosh, five-year-old. Grow up.) I was so ashamed of myself while simultaneously so proud of the love B had to offer, despite my sometimes weak example. I vowed to get over myself and my rigid personality and always appreciate them in the future.

And then, of course, I lost it with him this morning because he had the audacity to be off of school on my birthday and then ask me the same question four times in a row.

I don't know what I'm getting at. Of course I could make this a Sunday school answer and point toward God, and of course that is true and right and good. I cannot do anything on my own, as I learn in painful lessons multiple times each day. I could start walking the streets and hollering at random, startled mothers to "Enjoy this while you can!" (That option would make no sense because a) it makes no sense anyway, and b) where are my OWN children in this scenario? Wandering the neighborhood? I hope they have become feral children in the nearby cornfields. What a great scenario.)

I guess I'm mainly writing this down so that Future Christine can enjoy it, even from a distance. I hope Future Christine can look back on Past Christine and think, Oh, you did a great job with those kids, and you certainly enjoyed it. Your hair looked like a hot mess three-quarters of the time, but no one can deny that you loved your kids and raised them up and gave them and yourself to God a thousand times a day. Well done, faithful mama. Now go get your upper lip waxed, because it won't break the bank and HONEY.

Reminder to Present Christine: Call the salon.

1 comment:

Raechel said...

I just love it when you write!