It started out like any other normal day, which is to say, I woke up at 5:30am when Sam left for work, ate my [ahem, first] breakfast, fiddled around on the iPad from the comforts of my bed getting all jazzed up over our country's current state of affairs, and by some miracle managed to doze back off to sleep. I was then woken up by the thunderous footsteps of my two smallest girls traipsing into my room around 7am. With their snuggles, giggles, and demands for a first-thing-in-the-morning beverage, my day had officially begun.
I went to bed last night with high hopes for today. I determined in advance not to waste a moment of the day worrying about things over which I have essentially no control [like, ahem, our country's current state of affairs]. I was going to hit the ground running with school first thing in the morning, during breakfast even because, by golly, come baby-time in November I'm going to be ahead not behind already.
You know what happens when you make plans like that? That pesky enemy always catches wind and does whatever he can to mix up those ducks you had so neatly in a row.
We had finished our history lesson over a breakfast of donuts and cereal [it's okay, healthy eating was not on my list of aspirations for the day...you just can't do it all every day]. And since it was only 9:30am, I let the kids out back to enjoy the gorgeous fall morning. Seriously. We have to enjoy those when we get them. Leah, being the precocious 19 month old that she is, insisted on joining her sisters on the back porch where they had set up a playdoh station. After giving explicit instructions to keep her on the porch, I began cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast [fine, you caught me, it was really from dinner last night]. As I looked out our breakfast room window a moment later, I noticed a little yellow blob at the top of the stairs on our playground. That would be 19 month old Leah. Preparing to step down. And in an instant I was transported back to the fateful day in February 2011 when 21 month old Sarah tumbled down those very steps, forehead-first.
And ended up looking like this -
This time, I found myself a full backyard away, sprinting as fast as a 33-week pregnant woman can, trying to sternly warn her "No, no, Leah!" without scaring her into tumbling. In the pro column this time, however, was big sister Sarah who managed to grab her by the arm, just as she fell. Forehead first. Because Sarah had her by the arm she just mildly bumped the little noggin. Scared her to death, and me too, but she walked away unscathed. It was playground redemption for Sarah. I was so proud of her. (Abby, who led baby sister out to the playground and left her unattended, however, a different story.)
While relieved to have escaped potential disaster, I came back inside (with Leah, of course) and counseled Ben on his next assignment. Leaving him to it (or so I thought), Abby and I sat down at the kitchen table and expeditiously knocked out all of her subjects. In record time. I went to check on the status of Ben's math assignment. Nothing. Hadn't even started. He was on the computer. What happened next was a combination of wills - his and mine, which resulted in a show-down (no comments from the peanut gallery on engaging in a battle of wills with a 10 year old boy, he gets it honestly from his stubborn mother). Long story short, as of 2:30pm, he still hadn't started his math work. Or anything else for that matter.
Cranky from the show down and from having read quite a few news articles that morning, I opted to take phone call from my sister to lighten the mood. My possessed phone hung up on her no less than three times, including the time I know it was fully charged but claimed to have a dead battery. In the process of plugging it in, and in an effort to rescue Leah from the booster chair in our kitchen that she repeatedly buckles herself into and cries inconsolably until someone lets her out of, I got up from my bed to move into the kitchen where the charger awaited me. As I rounded the corner, my foot literally got caught in my own favorite, pink pajama pants and I fell to the ground. Hard. Because, let's face it, 33-week pregnant women cannot fall gracefully. I landed on my knees and, somehow, the top of my foot. I played it off so well Julie didn't even know it happened until I told her. I think I'm okay, but my dignity suffered even if no one witnessed it happening. As the day progressed, I swelled up and bruised, but Shep #5 is perfectly fine. And that's really what matters!
At 2:30pm, I called a mulligan and loaded up the herd, including Ben and his math books, for a trip to Starbucks. Drive-thru, of course. I felt better already. All it took to reset the ten year old was the promise of a day off if he not only completed his math for today and tomorrow, but two lessons worth of all of his other subjects as well. Turns out, that kid lives for days off. By 6pm, he'd completed all of his schoolwork for two days. Amazing.
So, the kids all went outside to enjoy the awesome fall evening we were having as we waited for Sam to get home. About 15 minutes after he got here, it started to get dark so I went out and called the kids to come in. I spotted Abby on top of the mailbox. Ben was in the yard across the street. Sarah was nowhere to be found. I called inside. Nothing. Backyard. Nothing. Front yard again. Nothing. Her bike was in the road, obviously unoccupied. The cul de sac was empty. Most of the houses were dark because it's fall break and the homes where she might possibly have a playmate are temporarily vacated. Sensing my distress, Sam walked to one end of the street while I hastened down the other and the next and the next. By this point it was just about dark. I saw Sam walking back toward me. Alone. That's when I started to panic. It's dark. She's nowhere to be found. And no one in the front yard saw where she went. I checked the playground. Visions from The Shack came to mind (they always do), and as I re-enetered the house I looked up and saw Sam.
"She's in her bed. Asleep. You didn't check there?"
Well...this is Sarah. That's literally the last place I'd ever look. I checked her room. Yelled her name back there even. But I didn't check under her covers. Poor girl. Must have been exhausted. I can literally count on one hand the times she has put herself to bed. And it's usually because she's sick. (Let's pray she's not sick, okay?)
So I cried. Because even though nothing truly bad happened today, it was just a drainer. And "losing" Sarah was the final straw.
Since we were all accounted for, no one was permanently injured, and Sam was home, I was able to relax. He even got me giggling uncontrollably over, of all things, twerking. I asked him if he could do it. He said, he was too old and he'd probably pull a muscle. I said I was going to try it, but only after he left for Chicago next week because I didn't want him to watch me do it. He said, "Be careful. You can't even walk without falling down." Boom. Hahahaha. Then he filled a head of lettuce with like a gallon of water and pretended he was the salad spinner and slung water all over our unsuspecting kids and kitchen. It's pretty hard not to laugh at that. Love that man.
So that's when I decided to blog about it. Because, if I'm being honest, this is a pretty normal day in this place. Crying, laughing, show downs, near disasters, you name it.
People sometimes say to me "I could never homeschool" and "I don't know how you do it" and "How do you manage it all?"
Here's my reply - Yes, you really could. I don't, not by a long shot. And I'm covered by Grace. Lots and lots and lots of it.
I'm ending today thankful for the whole mess of it.
Thankful for babies who love me and love each other. Thankful for their strong personalities. Their mischief. Their will. Their smiles. Their propensity to fall forehead first. Their unanticipated moves - like putting themselves to bed at 7:15pm without dinner and snatching baby sister out of thin air in an effort to spare her from stitches. Thankful for a husband who handles with care the fragile emotional state of his very pregnant wife, and makes me laugh despite it all. Thankful for a God who gives me so much grace I could drown in it. All of these things, the sum total of which is madness, but somewhere...deep down...there is method in it.
A BREAK IN THE ACTION
6 months ago