Friday, August 28, 2015

Our Time Together

There is exactly one hour until I need to leave to pick up The Dude. Greystoke took longer than usual to fall asleep for his nap, so he should be out until then. I switched out yet another load of laundry, piled a few more dishes in the sink, but opted not to unload the dishwasher right now. I'm eating sugar snap peas, drinking a huge glass of water, and thanking God for this year. Asking Him to let it pass slowly, so I can savor it.
A couple of days ago, I packed up Greystoke's 12 month clothes and took out the 18 month ones. Like I have been doing for the older boys lately to encourage independence without total ridiculousness, I folded each outfit together. The onesies are gone, except a few I just got that work well as pajamas on a warm night.
I took out 2 garbage bags for the 12 month to save for my sister K's baby...just a few of the cutest or more sentimental items...and one to give to pregnancy resources.
I saved way too many for K. Like the pair of cargo jean shorts that all 3 boys have worn. They have holes by the pockets, but all my little boys looked so cute in them. She will have to throw them away. I can't.
I have bags and bags more clothes to sort through in the coming weeks. The superstitious part of me is terrified at the thought of giving them away.

We're not exactly using 100% birth control.
But I guess you could say I am acting on faith. JT and I both feel relatively certain and content that 3 boys have completed our family.
And with a 2 bedroom townhouse we would like to make last another 4 years or have to be very intentional about what you allow to take up space.

This is my last baby.
And he doesn't wear onesies anymore.
It's looking more and more likely that next year I will be finding a way to pick up some more work, Aquaman and The Dude will both be in Elementary school. Greystoke will be old enough to begin preschool. And though neither of my other 2 started preschool so young, I think I will be comfortable enough with it for Greystoke. For one thing, he is Greystoke. He takes it all in stride. He is definitely a Mama's boy...but he loves other children too.
For another...I am loving The Dude's experience so far at FBI preschool. He is having so much fun. And on top of that, every time I drop him off I see faces that I have known for years upon years taking my child's hand, and there is something so comforting in that.
I still don't plan to be at work all the time. If there is one thing I can see about children getting older it's that they don't need less from mom and dad....they just need different.
I love walking Aquaman to the door of his classroom every morning. I love that we are still in a small enough school to do that. And I love that he wants me to do so.
But I have already begun praying for a way to work either only while they are at school, or to be able to work from home. I had about 3 days of anxiety thinking about it, and I am sure there is much more to come as I get closer...but for now I have given it into the hands of the Lord. And this is one of the many many reasons why I take the time to sit down here when there is a dishwasher to empty and I could really use a little yoga or even a nap....
Because after 3 days of anxiety thinking about this, I read a blog post from 3 years ago...
I was wondering about whether I could continue working part time. I was worried about how God would provide for our family financially...and even more so emotionally and spiritually and physically. I was wondering if we would be able to have the third child I knew would make our family complete.
Because these are my only kids. This is my one shot with them. There are lots of great nurses in the world, but I am the only one who can be their mother.
I think of all the time I have wasted in the past seven years worrying about this same question. And each time, God has provided a splendid way to balance it all. He's got it. He cares. And He knows my heart....which is to please Him. To serve Him. He always provides a way to do it. So I am looking forward to seeing the path that opens up for us.
Oh, and I got my blood work back. And I am like, pretty much the healthiest person that ever walked the earth. The Dr. checked everything. All sorts of vitamin levels and thyroid function and inflammation markers, and they are all right down the middle of normal.
The only thing slightly out of whack was that I was dehydrated...which isn't surprising because Greystoke nurses all night and the labs were drawn in the morning. And that my LDL levels were slightly elevated. Which is mostly the result of the coconut oil fad....and I'm going to be cutting back on that since it was upsetting my stomach anyway.
So what it comes down to is, I am not dying or suffering a crippling disease.
There is a good chance I had fifths disease back in June when the swelling and stiffness began, and the rest since then is simply the diagnosis of MO3B again.
So, I need to drink some more water. Which is always tricky because every time I pour a glass someone sticks their fingers in it, or sucks some ice and spits it back in, or accidentally backwashes some cereal into it.
And every time I pee Greystoke follows me screaming at me to read him a book.
And I probably need to exercise more, but I am still trying to figure out when to squeeze that in.
And I definitely need to sleep more, but let's face it, that's not going to happen any time soon. Because Greystoke is still nursing all night, and my past mothering experiences have taught me that night weaning just makes things worse until about age 2, and especially when you live in such a small space.
And even when Greystoke isn't nursing, someone else is crawling in between us, and Aquaman, the biggest one of all, who is scared even to sleep on the crib mattress on the floor of our room when he is scared because...he can't see anything around him....stretches out on the foot of the bed, and when I tell him I might kick him, he says "that's ok!" and so we let him stay.
Because love can go without a little sleep sometimes.

And the fact is, that just knowing that my body is still working so splendidly under these ocasionally adverse conditions, is enough to give me energy to keep going. I suddenly feel like a million bucks. When my wrists start to ache I just shake them out and smile instead of wondering if there is something sinister going on with them.
I am getting old. Time is marching on.
I will age with grace.
And in the meantime, I am going to soak up this year, even in it's chaos.
After the initial craziness of school starting, things are settling down and I am remembering why I enjoy the school year so much. There is time for individual attention with my kids, and being that I am an introvert, I really really need that time with them.
And so do they.
Greystoke and I usually run errands in the mornings. We take walks, and we snuggle in our bed reading books before his nap.
Sometimes I save his nap until later so that I can have some uninterruped time with The Dude. He loves for me to sit at the table and eat lunch just with him. He tells me about the letter of the day, and he absolutely loves doing the suggested homework that comes home with him each week.
I love to watch Aquaman grow. He is so into his miniature Legos, and is quite the engineer, which incidentally is what he says he wants to be when he grows up.
He can spend hours with little pieces spread all over the table building some new and important invention. He talks a mile a minute about them. I try to pay attention.
He hates to read, and I make him read out loud to be for 15 minutes every day, and some days, well most days, tears pour down his face the entire time.
Yet the class mom, who I know well from last year, tells me that he had her daughter are at the top of their class for reading. So I don't exactly understand. But it is just another mystery of Aquaman, and it's ok. I think someday he will probably love to read. He just doesn't like anything challenging or boring.
Some days he cries because the class mom's twins are "perfect". They do everything right, he says, like it's easy. They never forget the rules, they are great readers, and they always know the math answers too. And don't even get him started about their art skills.
I tell him that their mom is "perfect" too. She always looks like she's slept 10 hours, had a workout, a shower, a hair appointment, and brand new clothes when she arrived to school at 8 am. She always has a smile. She is the CLASS MOM and she is always at every field trip.
But nobody's perfect. And when he feels like it, he acknowledges it. And what's funny is, one of the benefits of being a parent for a while, and of finding my security in who I am and not in who anyone else that I don't really mind her perfect. It doesn't say anything about who I am. I'm not perfect. But I am Loved and Accepted and...filled with joy. Because my happiness doesn't depend on Perfect.
I am trying to pass that on to Aquaman, and sometimes I worry about his perfectionistic tendencies, but mostly I don't. Because he is a wise boy. A wise boy who loves God, and seeks Him. And he has parents who don't try to hide their flaws or insecurities, and we will show him that it's ok to be real. That best is good. But real is better.
The Dude's school sent home a suggestion to hang a "life verse" by his bed and pray it for him every night. I've decided to take it a couple steps further. I picked a whole passage for each boy, and have begun to pray it for them at night. And in the morning...those 10 minutes I have been able to sneak out of bed before them most mornings.

For Aquaman, it is Psalm 23

For Greystoke it is Colossians 1:9-12

And for The Dude, Colossians 3:12-17

What an amazing feeling to put them into the hands of God.
Greystoke is up. He pooped, and also has the hiccups. It's time to pick up The Dude and make some lunch.
Every night lately, Aquaman has been asking me to read "Let me hold you longer" while he sits in my lap. Maybe it's because he knows his birthday is coming up, and he knows how big he's getting in my lap, and how there's really no room for him at the foot of our bed.
Or maybe it's just because I can never get through it without crying at this part:
"I'll watch you go and think how fast our time together passed."
And he thinks it is absolutely hilarious when I start crying.

But this is it. The dot at the beginning of the line, and it is going so fast. I'm going to live it today. I'm going to drink a big glass of water, and a small cup of coffee and gird up the energy to live fully today.

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