Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The truth and nostalgia

Ok . . . so because of my extreme superstitiousness and cautiousness and borderline paranoia, I chose not to mention that Josh was out of town ALL last week. He left Sunday around 5:30 and Caroline threw up at 7:30.

Not exactly how this mama likes to start a week alone.

Thankfully (ha,ha), it turned out to be strep and not a stomach bug reeking havoc on the whole lot of us. And it only took me and one nurse to hold her down for the 3 swabs needed to get a good enough sample to test. There are many patient qualities that Caroline excels at, swabbing for strep is NOT one of them. My mom saved the day and stayed home with the younger two hooligans (I have panic attacks just imagining keeping up with them and restraining Caroline.) We left with a prescription for her favorite bubblegum flavored medicine and orders to eat lots of popsicles.

Unfortunately, not only did I have a poor darling that felt lousy--and she really did feel L-O-U-S-Y, lousy--it also threw a wrench into my whole week. When Josh is gone, I like to pack things in to keep us busy, help the time pass quickly, and wear the little people out so they sleep good. Less than one day in, and I was rewriting the calendar for the first part of the week. I was REALLY disappointed that it meant no play date with Cory and her boys on Monday. Cory is my oldest friend . . . not that she is old, she's actually a year younger than me, but she is my first and longest friend and we don't believe that we live in the same town because we CANNOT seem to get together. She and I rescheduled for Wednesday (she is a mom of 3 and totally understood). I was suuuuper excited when Tuesday night rolled around and there were no other strep cases in the house and Caroline seemed ready to go back to school. The plan was to meet at her house at 9:30 and then go to the pool at 10. (What fun! The pool with just 2 kids!!!!) At 8 something Cory texted me that we should probably forget the pool since a big ole thunderstorm was rolling through and at 9:15, right before I loaded up the dumplings to head to Cory's house for a regular play date, the school called and asked me to come get Caroline because she apparently wasn't feeling as good as we hoped. Canceled. Play date. AGAIN. BOOOOO!

A short week later, these feel like little things, but last week, as I was trying to remain patient, fun, kind, and firm without Josh, these moments and hiccups felt bigger. This phase of life is hard. It is physically trying and very hands on and full of teachable moments that I don't want to miss. Yes, there are plenty of wonderful things that happen with kids this age . . . and I keep hearing how I should enjoy it because it will never be like this again. I just want to say--I do enjoy it, but that doesn't mean I am not looking forward to some of these phases being behind us. The future is always something different with new challenges and new things to love and cherish. The past is always something to remember fondly, sometimes with nostalgia and sometimes with a hearty "THANK GOD WE MADE IT!".

Case in point, my sweet, wonderful, perfectly amazing nephew is a month old this week. Here is a picture from yesterday, just in case you have forgotten how heavenly he is
Anyway . . . as much as I love, love, love, love, love (do you get the idea?) him, I am not sorry we are not in the first baby phase. I adored the time I had when it was just Caroline, Josh and I, but I am so happy that she is my oldest of 4 and that we can talk and laugh and shop and have real conversations about things that matter and watch "Father of the Bride" together. I wouldn't trade that time for the world, but I wouldn't go back either. I enjoy sleeping through the night, hopping in the car without 3 bags of gear, not changing poopie diapers, asking "What's wrong" when someone is crying and getting a reasonably accurate answer. It is with that same hope that during weeks like last week, I look forward to the day when strep won't strand me, when my boys won't be crawling into video games, when Bo and Sascha will understand more of what I am saying, when height requirements aren't a factor in family fun.

I know there are rough waters ahead too--it hasn't been that long since I was a teenager with angst and emotions and issues. But I also remember fun times with my family and conversations with my parents that surprised us all and laughing til it hurt when my mom and I got slap happy and knowing my dad had my back and would kill for me (or at least maim). The way I see it, contentment doesn't include blissful unawareness of what's going on in your life, it's the ability to see that over the horizon is an end to that challenge (even if it means a new one will surface), buckling down, and getting through it with as much enJOYment and sanity as you can.

In spite of how incredibly helpful my parents were last week, by the time Friday rolled around, we were counting down the hours until Josh got home. By 8:30 that morning, I was over Bo and Sascha and ready to run away and hide from them. My sweet friend from Dallas (actually she's FROM here, but now lives in Dallas) was having a similar morning and directed me to this article. It was exactly what I needed to hear--some empathy, some sympathy, some "rock on sister" and then some "make the absolute most of it" motivation.

I know, not such a funny post. No vandalizing by my kids. No funny Sascha quotes, but maybe when they are snotty teenagers, I can reread this and remember I was looking forward to being told how much they hate me and how little I understand and how happy they will be when they are on their own!! Or at least it will be a reminder to look forward to that next stage with naive excitement and be glad they are all able to bathe themselves.

(And yes, I know I will miss Miss Thang's chubby little hiney in the tub one day.)

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