As Hubby and I weeded the garden yesterday, these words actually came out of my mouth:
"I love a weekend when we have nothing to do."
Our weekend of "nothing to do" included:
1. taking Hubby's car to the shop
2. buying pig and chicken food
3. a quick stop at the grocery store
4. taking a load to Goodwill
5. picking Hubby's car up from the shop
6. doing 8 loads of laundry
7. mowing 7 acres
8. feeding 6 children and four pigs several times each day
9. weeding and watering the garden
11. taking Buttercup to camp 40 minutes away from home
12. continuing to get everything ready for VBC.
13. spending two hours on the phone with Dell after my computer completely blew up and lost absolutely everything on it.
Last week about did me in. By Friday afternoon, I was a hot mess. We all were. (Except Phoenix, of course. The knowledge that he was about to leave us all for 10 whole days kept his spirits nice and high.) The big kids were bickering something awful, the little kids were crying and whining at the slightest provocation, or no provocation at all, really. I was not my usual, jovial self, and thus was unable to steer our boat of crankiness into happier waters. Hubby was gone and wouldn't return until after the little kids were in bed, so my despair was even worse, knowing there would be no rescue.
I managed to get some sort of dinner together and threw it on the table. I tried my best to ask the children some questions to get a conversation going, but my brain just wasn't working. The unhappiness continued to reign.
Finally, as I was cleaning up in the kitchen, things started to turn. The kids were still at the table when out of nowhere, Turken just busted into a fit of forced, loud, obnoxious laughter. None of us had a clue as to the origin of the outburst, but it certainly did what I had been unable to do all day. It made us all laugh.
From that point, the big kids took over and ran with it. They started a contest to see who could keep a straight face the longest. Let's just say there were no winners. They didn't just smile. They didn't just guffaw. They giggled. Giggled so hard they were falling out of their chairs and had trouble breathing. I haven't heard that much giggling in a long, long time.
I used to hear it. I used to hear giggling all of the time from all of my kids. But as they get older, the giggling gets replaced with big kid chortles, snickers, and laughs. Smirks, hoots, and grins are much more common these days.
But Friday night, after a long, exhausting week for us all, the giggling returned. They were so tired, they didn't care about how uncool it was. They didn't care that their siblings were getting on their ever-lovin' nerves just minutes before. With that one ridiculous outburst from Turken, the giggle gateway was open, and I had my little kids back.
As I stood in the kitchen, intently listening, I pictured the kids as they used to be. When we really did have weekends, if not full weeks, of nothing to do. Of days when I fervently searched for things to keep us busy. Of days when I could get those giggles by simply threatening them with a visit from the tickle monster. (I'm aftraid that these days, as big kids, the tickle monster would accidentally get punched in the face. And that would hurt. At the very least, the teen's, preteen's, and tweens' eyes would roll into the back of their heads at the mention of any such monster.)
The giggling couldn't last forever, of course. Those sleepy children did need to get to bed. But the feelings that the giggling brought out lingered. They actually stuck around all weekend.
Through the errands. Through the chores. Through the (bleeping) computer crashing down around me. A more positive outlook made everything seem easier.
So when Turken made fascinating observations like, "It's hard to burp your ABC's," I was calm and relaxed enough to hear it.
When Star took the lead as the oldest sibling at home and beautifully entertained the little boys in the baby pool, I was able to appreciate the growing and maturing he is actually doing.
Many people may believe that a weekend with "nothing to do" means sitting on the couch to read or watch TV or relax by the side of the pool. A weekend like ours would seem like a whole heck of a lot of something to do.
I guess it's all a matter of what your usual is.
There will come a day when our usual will be filled with quiet time and nothing to do. Sometimes, like last week, I look forward to those days with every fiber in me. But then something like a silly contest will remind me that when that day comes, I will be bored out of my rocker, wishing with all my heart that the kids were little and bickering all around me.
Have a lovely day!