Way back, like maybe thirteen years ago, when I was a stay-at-home-mom with four much smaller children, I remember thinking (as I was pulling my hair out by the roots) that when my children got older life would settle down. I distinctly recall looking at my four precious babies...my red-headed, freckle-faced eight year old ball player, my energetic, curly-topped blond four year old girl, and my itty-bitty teeny, tiny twins not yet a year old...and knowing that some day things wouldn't be so chaotic. Because they would grow up some and it would get easier.
And then, maybe six years ago, I remember looking around in bewilderment wondering why it life had only gotten more nerve-wracking and it seemed I got even less accomplished because certainly it wasn't all that difficult to manage kids at 15, 11 and 7? Only I had become a stay-in-the-car mom by that point, shuffling them around to and from three different schools, between all their activities, helping with homework, picking up stuff for projects, washing football practice clothes and tying shoes for smaller ones and packing bookbags and lunches and no...it wasn't getting simpler. Maybe in a few years. By then, a couple of them would be driving and they could help with errands and practices and take themselves to school. By then, they would be nearing the end of their formative years. They would be almost grown. Who was I kidding?
Here we are, at the end of Number Two's senior year and guess what? Things are just as hectic...maybe even more so...than they were when I had four babies who depended on me for their very existence. One comes and goes at all hours because he works full-time and goes to school full-time and his job is dangerous and school is rigorous. Burning ceilings fall on his head. People get violent when they're being arrested. He needs to eat and wash clothes whenever he can...which might just be 2 am sometimes. The next one? She went to college while she finished high school. She volunteered three days a week at one place, one day a week at another, earned her blue belt in jiu jitsu, managed to make good grades, apply to college, write for scholarships, babysit for spending money, and now...baccalaureate, awards day, end of year banquets, senior breakfast, field day, college orientation day, a dorm room to furnish, vacations to pack for, books to buy...
In the midst of all that, we homeschooled two 7th graders because homeschooling should be less stressful, right? Ha ha ha! Planning, lessons, grading, reading, checking, rechecking, editing, ugh), planted a large garden, moved in an extra college kid for seven months, attended co-op group and PE classes, went on field trips, read through about a third of the Bible, joined an archery group, learned lines for the school play, and bought twenty acres which we'll be building on as soon as life settles down a little...
But it doesn't look like that's going to happen after all. The settling down part, I mean. Oh, it's easier to deal with four kids who are 21, 17 and 13. It's nice to be able to send them to the store to pick up a hose for the pool or bring something for dinner. I love that they all do laundry and help with the house and yard. I love that they're responsible and maturing every day. It just seems like life keeps going faster and faster. The boys grew about 5 inches when I wasn't looking. Their voices are changing. Our daughter turned into a young woman. Our oldest is a man. We're getting OLD! I don't know when we're going to find a spare minute to just BE.
But it better be soon, because if they keep getting older this quickly, we'll be grandparents before we know what's hit us and then of course we'll be ruined. Because who could slow down when there's little ones to snuggle?
Just not yet!
Ok, I'm finished rambling, I think. I'll leave you with a lovely picture from the reception after Darling Daughter's baccalaureate service in May. See what I mean? Young lady. In heels. Help me.
From left to right:
DD's BFF The Blond Band Leader, Miss Yearbook Editor, Darling Daughter, The Salutatorian, The Future American Idol, and The VWANCS.