"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
No, no, no. That was not my sneaky way to make a special announcement. You can sit down, unclasp your hands, and wipe that silly smile off your faces now. I will say this though, I’m gaining a whole new respect for parents.
J and I were asked by some good friends if we would stay at their home while they’re out of town this week and look after their kids. There are 5 of them: 3 are teenagers (16 and up) and the other two are seven and four years old. We’re not necessarily *needed* but having a few responsible adults in the house helps give the little ones a sense of normalcy, I think.
I’m into day 3 of 4 and a whole new world has opened up for me that’s so far from the quiet little studio that I’m used to coming home to after a busy day at the office. A world of making meals for the adults and “big kids” and making something entirely bland and boring for the little fussy eaters. A world of helping with 2nd grade math while making all of these dinners. A world with mounds of dirty dishes and a laundry pile I won’t even glance at. A world of 8:30 PM teeth brushings and tucking in to bed. I couldn’t do it without J.
The teens are a God-send. I couldn’t imagine doing this without them either. They look after the little ones while J and I are at work. They run interference when we just can’t get the youngest to eat his dinner. And they’ve been great about stepping in to help clean up.
Nevertheless, I’m tired. Last night after making dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, and putting kids to sleep, I face-planted into bed around 9 PM. Even with J and I double teaming on this one, we’re both exhausted. I know that usually people don’t end up with 5 kids all at once. Most of the time parents seem to acquire their children one at a time and build up to the chaos. All the same, I don’t know how parents do it – I stand in awe.
But there’s all the reward too and that’s pretty cool. I’m more of an adopted auntie to these kids so it’s not the same maternal instincts at work. Regardless, I love seeing them succeed: to help the 7 year old with his homework and watch him “get it”. The relief of seeing the youngest eat a meal despite his finicky appetite. And I love the sweetness of tucking them into bed and hearing them ask how soon I’ll be home from work tomorrow.
J has softball games tonight and we asked the little ones if they would like to come with us to watch – they couldn’t have been more excited. And I’m looking forward to taking them out, even if they are a couple of high-energy boys. It will get a little crazy, I have no doubt, but that’s part of the fun!
My conclusion from the week thus far? I’m definitely impressed with parental types. To work an eight-hour day and come home to another full-time job is unbelievable to me. Parents – you guys rock! I’m still not sure if I want to join your ranks, at least for quite a while. Playing “auntie” works so much better for me right now.