Saturday, November 5, 2011

"You see, I'm a they"

So I'm going to list some of the things that I did between 8am and 8pm tonight.  Do you care?  No, you don't.   You did your own stuff.  But it's important(ish) to get to the point I'll make after the list-of-stuff-I-did.  So bear with me. 
  1. Andrew's friend slept over last night (cuteness!), so Steve made breakfast for everyone-plus-one, and then I got everyone dressed and in the car.  Steve stayed home to study. 
  2. They needed to be at the Air and Space Center for Cosmic Kids Club at 9AM, with a 40 minute drive.
  3. Dropped off the 3 boys at the ASC, then got Simone in the car and drove 30 minutes to Virginia Beach.
  4. Stopped at the Post Office.
  5. Bank.
  6. Thrift store to buy "pink books" for Simone.
  7. Stopped at FedEx to make photocopies of Simone's birth certificate for pre-school.
  8. Went to the pottery-painting place, so we could use up the Groupon that was about to expire.  I sat for an hour and watched her paint a plate, Christmas ornament, and tray for Steve in various shades of pink (and a bit of purple).
  9. Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's.  
  10. Got gas for the car.
  11. Pumpkin muffins from Panera. 
  12. Drove 30 minutes back to ASC to get the boys.  
  13. Got there half an hour early, so Simone played in the exhibits and I bought tickets for "Puss in Boots" on my Fandango iPhone app.
  14. Drove Samuel home.
  15. Took Jack back to Virginia Beach (30 minutes) for his Russian lesson at 1pm.
  16. Simone fell asleep, so Andrew and I hung out for awhile in the Oceanfront library parking lot.  He climbed around on things, I tried to read on my Kindle.  
  17. I gave up on reading and offered to take him to Chick-Fil-A drive-thru.  He took about a nanosecond to think, and then shrieked YES, nearly waking Simone. ;)
  18. Got our Chick-Fil-A then came back to the library.
  19. Cleaned out the car (dear lord, there's a lot of trash that piles up when you live in your car!). 
  20. Simone woke up.  
  21. We went inside to the library, doing double-duty.  I needed a folk-tale book for my Colonial America lesson plan on Tuesday, and the kids could check out books. 
  22. We played there for about an hour.
  23. We went to Target to get the Star Wars action figure I promised Andrew if he wore his glasses for a week without taking them off (much).
  24. Then we went to pick up Jack at 4.
  25. Drove to Jen's to get her donations for the Lost Boys Christmas drive.  
  26. Drove an hour back to Williamsburg.
  27. Home for 15 minutes (literally), just enough time to throw English muffins, pizza sauce, and some shredded cheese for fake-pizzas, put in the oven for 10 minutes, throw them on paper plates, get the kids back in the car, and then drive to the movie theater to watch "Puss in Boots."  [Author note: WHAT was I thinking, ordering movie tickets pre-bought to end a crazy day? More on that later.]
  28. Home at 8:30.
I promised you a point, and now you'll get it.  Or at least, my attempt at a point.

The reason I was filibustering our day, in part, was because Steve is neck-deep in schoolwork right now. Maybe forehead deep.  It's deep. So I was on my own for the busy day, and trying to make the best of it.  

When you break down all the Big Chunks of our day, it was about my children...: 
  • Spending time with a good friend.
  • Attending Cosmic Kids Club, which they love.
  • Giving Simone a special morning with just her mom.
  • Giving Jack another chance to see Natallia for Russian.
  • Having the experience of seeing a movie in the theater, and also giving Steve more solo time to study.
Friendship, fun learning experiences, following passions....those are absolutely my Mission Statement for my family.  

But in the midst of all the Big Chunks, I still need to grocery shop, send packages, go to the bank, get gas, etc etc. 

Not one of the things on that list really nourishes my soul directly.  If I was living a Sarahbeth-centered life, most of those bullet points would have been massages, facials, and finishing the Steve Jobs biography I'm immersed in.  

In so many ways, there's more "noise" in my life than I ever expected before motherhood.  It's more boring (in some ways) and chaotic (in other ways) to nurture three little spirits into their adulthood, more than I really understood.  I still would have signed up for it, but goodness!

I didn't even mention the group bathroom stops at Target, at the movie theater, etc.  Digging food out of grocery sacks and throwing it into the backseat when someone said they were hungry. 

There also wasn't a bullet point for Andrew, running full speed into a waist-high chain at the side of the sidewalk, flipping forward, and nearly smashing his face into the cement.  Where's the bullet point for my completely undignified scream in the middle of a busy town-square, and then crying (really) with relief when I saw he was okay?   Hugging him so tightly that I nearly squished him empty of air, because I was so-so-so-so grateful that nothing serious happened.

But there are good missing bullet points, too.  Like Andrew sitting on my lap during half of the movie, snuggling back into me, and the smell of his sweet, little boy head.  Knowing that I have so.little.time left where he will fit into my lap.  And wanting to devour every second of it. He is "precious" incarnate.

And as a backdrop to the entire day, I knew that we were giving Steve the space to do something that was important to him -- doing well in school, focusing on his work.  He's working so hard for our family, and taking a graduate program that isn't family-friendly at all.  I really love that man, and I want to help him succeed.

In that Five for Fighting song, 100 years, there's a part that I love:

I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a
A kid on the way
A family on my mind

Yes, that's it!  I AM a they.  Taking care of my family does nurture me.  More than I expected.  And not in a soul-sucking way, although I do know that feeling too. ;)  But my own personal spirit feels good about seeing smiling faces and happy little children, excited about life. And, supporting Steve however I can - even if it's about being gone all day. :)

Not always.  Sometimes, I really need a Criminal Minds marathon and a hot Epsom bath with no toys in the tub.  But in the big picture of things: If I know, at the end of the day, that my family's needs are met? It feels like a really good day.  Even if all I did was play chauffeur and disc jockey for the car music, taking requests from tiny voices in the backseat.

Someday, these little crazies will grow up and move on in their lives, and I'll think back wistfully to these hectic, joy-filled Saturdays. 


Motherhood and More said...

Sarahbeth, I so often get to the end of one of your blog posts and want to click "Like," and then remember I'm not on Facebook! Great post. :)

Sarahbeth said...

Ha! I know that feeling with blogs. Is there some mechanism for that, because it really WOULD be useful. Sometimes, I just want to acknowledge a post...but don't have anything to add. Another reason to love Facebook. ;)