Jonathon’s got the kids today. He will make breakfast and lunches, take the kids to school and pick up (Ruby at least), resolve squabbles and make any parenting decisions that need to be made. I have…the day off.
Ah, this is the life!
So far, Jonathon’s managed to make waffles – from scratch, endearing himself to Zac. Waffles are his favorite. Jonathon’s made lunches, adding Combos, one of our favorite salty snacks and my staple snack in college, to each sack. He might have even added small treats to each lunch. He’s got it nailed. Sigh.
I have a kid-free day. Sure, I see them, talk to them, even hug them. But I don’t have to deal with the messy bits of parenting. “Why did you hit your sister?” “If you spill milk, you need to clean it up. Fast.” “The cat doesn’t want you to hold her right now. That’s why she scratched you.” “No coffee! Do you think we need any more stunted growth in this family?” “Alright, who took all the toothpaste caps?!”
Ahem. I digress.
I confess I will miss the munchkins. I probably won’t get as much interaction with them today. It sort of comes with the territory of parenting, good and bad, ups and downs. Having a baby is messy business. Raising a baby is even messier.
I taught in Ruby’s school-age class last night at church. The kids can be a bit unruly, talking lot and generally being kids. My kid is in the mix with that. Generally, I am a bit overwhelmed in there. I’m always trying to come up with some ways to make the lessons more applicable to kids ages 5-10. It’s a wide age range, a wide range of understanding and intelligence. I try to make it fun. But those kids, they make me laugh. That’s what keeps me coming back. I asked for praise reports last night instead of prayer requests. One boy told me he was becoming a pig. Okay.
While they were eating snack, we were telling clean jokes. No bodily functions, nothing questionable in any sense. Kids aren’t as innocent as they appear. I’ve learned this the hard way.
One boy said, “Knock-knock”.
“Who’s there?” I replied.
“Susan who?” I asked. I’m thinking, Now what?
“Uh…what’s your last name?”
My name became the punchline of the joke. I had to laugh. Sometimes parenting feels like that. You’re so excited! You had a wonderful bundle of joy, a beautiful baby. And then…it won’t sleep. It won’t eat. The baby eats too much, provoking projectile vomiting. It cries all the time. You don’t sleep. Your heart is suddenly, as the saying goes, walking around (or hanging around) outside your body. You feel vulnerable. You are no longer an island. Haha! Sucker punch! The joke’s on you. But…
The moments of pure joy are amazing. Holding a toddler Zac in the middle of the night, and pointing the moon out to him. The eerie orb glowed in the sky as he said, “Moon!” for the first time. I remember teaching Zac his numbers, letters and colors. He knew them all by the time he was 2 1/2. He wanted to learn them; how blessed I was to be his first teacher. I remember finding out I was pregnant with Ruby, and knowing long before the ultrasound that she was going to be a girl. God had promised. How tiny she was as a “jumbo preemie”! Yet even, then, a fighter. My two kids – Zac, who hates almost all vegetables and adores meat, and Ruby, who loves vegetables, and could take or leave meat, would make an ideal vegetarian. Kind of like Jack Spratt and his wife of the nursery rhyme.
I do have a few things I need to do today, like folding clean laundry. Unfortunately, that least-favorite of tasks has no children involved in it. Just piles of dresses, jeans, undies and socks in intertwined miscellany, mixing in a riot of color on my couch. It’s my mission, should I choose to accept it, to pull them apart and bend them into squarish shapes, suitable for drawer dwelling.
Today, I will make the most of the time off, doing things that make me happy. I will come back a rested, happier mommy. But also, today, I’m going to take this day to remember the good times and think of new ways to bless them. They’re good kids and deserve the best I can give them. They are having a happy childhood, after all. Right?!