A week or so ago I was talking to a friend of mine who was expecting her first child. I mentioned how I loved the baby years, but that I was quite happy to be done with them. Lots of people told me “enjoy it now, you’ll miss it.” My response was usually “I’m going to enjoy missing this.” And it is true. I do have some nostalgia for those baby and toddler years, but the nostalgia is light and pleasant. I have no actual desire to go back and re-live those years. Our conversation turned to talking about my current crazy schedule. As I spoke, I realized that as crazy as things are right now, they are also really good. I’ve got two teenagers and two grade school kids. The days I’m currently living are the ones that I am really going to miss someday.
I thought of it again this evening as I wrote out note cards to post on my fridge detailing the schedules for my teenagers. The new semester begins on Tuesday. Link’s schedule is no longer filled with his favorite kinds of classes. I’m going to have to pay more attention to make sure that unpleasant work gets done. Kiki will also have new classes. Patch is working his way through challenges, but we aren’t clear yet. Gleek is soaring, but there are at least four more major projects to go. I caught myself counting the months until the school year is over. Then I stopped. I don’t want to rush through this. I’ve only got a limited amount of time left with all of them living at home.
In that spirit, here are some snippets of things which happened in the past week which I was almost too busy to note.
Every night when Kiki goes to bed, the cat goes with her. In fact there is a regular ritual involving a saucer of milk and smear of butter, followed by a trip outside. Sometimes Kiki and the cat play a little chase game where Kiki peeks around the edge of the stairs until the cat dashes up at her. Other times Kiki wiggles her hand under a blanket and there is pouncing. These games produce giggles and admonitions from me to not wake up the younger kids. All these little rituals from brushing to snoozing, add to the general level of happiness around here.
When Link is bored, he sorts through his things. He makes a pile of things he does not want anymore. Most of them end up in the hands of his younger siblings. I’ve watched this process with delight and bemusement. I used to have to argue with Link over getting rid of things. They were all his treasures. It was all I could do to convince him to let go of candy wrappers. This past week he emptied out his big drawer of treasures. He finally got rid of those twisted pieces of metal that he picked up while walking home from school the year he was in third grade. Also in the pile was his treasured “Cappy” hamtaro. This was the toy so beloved by five-year-old Link that when it was lost we had to resort to ebay for a replacement. He loved it, treasured it, would not share it. Now Cappy has lost his magic and Link is ready to move on. I would feel more sorry for Cappy, except that Patch grabbed him. There are a few more years of play ahead. Link is growing tall, looking to the future, and letting childhood go. It makes me both glad and sad.
We made more progress on my office remodel this week. Because of my hurting wrist, I’ve not been able to take an active role. Instead Kiki and Link have done most of the work. Together they dismantled the shelves, helped load up for a trip to the dump, and then swept up the mess. Both of them found great satisfaction in the work. After the deconstruction, Kiki did not want to be done working. Instead she helped me box up all of the books so that they would be safe for the remainder of construction. Now my office wall is bare and ready for the next stage of the project.
The beginning of the new year brings class reassignment at church. All the kids are bumped to the next class up. The new year also means reassignment for the church teachers. Some teachers are released from teaching duty, other people are asked to take it on. This shuffling is necessary, but can be disruptive for the kids. Last year the switch was particularly difficult for Gleek. So I was pleased and delighted to realize that both Gleek’s teachers and Patch’s teachers have been moved up with their classes. My children will experience no disruption, which I view as a great blessing just now. We can continue to have church as a place of peace and save the challenges for school.
Gleek was assigned her first real research project this month. There was a long list of specific types of sources that she needed to have before assembling the project. I’ve been quite impressed with her. She’s been working a little bit every day and the project has not been onerous at all. Tomorrow we’ll assemble the final project and all will be well. I love that she has learned “a little bit every day” so young. I feel like I only learned it about four years ago.
Life of late has featured lots of sibling squabbling over video game turns. In particular, Patch and Gleek have been squabbling over whose turn it is to play minecraft. Sorting out each conflict is tiring and/or annoying, but the shapes of the conflict are comfortingly normal. These are not the sounds of huge emotional traumas which I must agonize over and resolve. It is mere sibling bickering, part of the music of family.
Life is good even though it is crazy, busy, and often hard.