Charlie and I have developed informal "roles" in our house. It's just sort of happened that I'm primarily responsible for managing all of the finances, decorating, organization and procurement of clothing and household supplies and keeper of the "Honey-Do List" ... while he is primarily responsible for laundry, cooking and liaising with the children. Whenever Charlie goes out of town - all of those responsibilities fall to me. And while it's a lot of work ... I love it.
I've driven more this week than I've probably driven in the past three months, shuttling the kids to and from school and preschool and from teacher's homes to our home and from swim team and gymnastics and art classes to Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and Odyssey of the Mind and Chess Club. But I've loved it. I've loved feeling in those moments like a mother that is spending time with the most important people in her life and doing exactly what it is that she is meant to do.
I've loved packing their lunches every morning and slipping in little notes telling them how much I enjoy them. I've loved getting them off to school and tasking them with "three good deeds" they need to do for others - that they'll need to explain to the family that night during dinner. (For the record, reporting back on the three good deeds has yet to happen. They usually wind up telling me one good deed and two despicable things that others did to them, but this is a process.)
I've loved meeting them when they get off the bus in the afternoon and hearing - first hand - the things that happened at school that day. I've really come to appreciate the bus driver that won't pull away until he sees me - or another parent - making sure that the children are safe getting home before he leaves. I've loved unpacking their backpacks and taking out the various assignments and creations that they've worked so hard on. And I've really come to appreciate the teachers, even more so, for the incredible talent and dedication that they show to our children.
(This weekend, I'll try to post the American Indian books that our second graders came home with today that are quite possibly, the most adorable things I've ever seen.)
I've loved spending an hour of quiet time with Henry once I get the older kids off to school. He accompanies me through all the different rooms of the house, while I make beds and scurry to get prepared for work. The 60 minutes I have to get ready between the start of elementary school and the start of preschool is usually reduced to less than 10 minutes because Henry will sweetly ask, "Mom, will you draw me a picture of Spiderman?" He knows that I can hardly draw a stick figure, but he asks me, anyway. Once I draw a picture of Spiderman, he'll ask, "Mom, will you draw me a picture of ... the Hulk? ... Batman? ... Captain America? ... Iron Man?"
Insert random superhero character here __________________ followed by, "Mom, will you draw me a picture of that?" Of course I will. Because one day I'll remember this time - and hopefully you will, too. And I want you to remember that me taking the time to draw you a picture, was much more important than me curling my hair.
The letter of the week for Henry's preschool class was "J" and I loved helping him pick out something that started with that letter. He was adamant that he bring a jragon more commonly referred to as a dragon. When he held up the figurine he wanted to share, I told him, "Henry, that's a dragon. That doesn't start with the letter 'j...'" and he vehemently replied, "Yes it does. It's a JRAGON, Mom."
Then he sounded it out for effect, "J-J-J- JRAGON."
I've loved listening to William tell me about his dreams, while I cook dinner. His dream, that takes him more than 15 minutes to describe and which I realize at some point, wasn't actually a dream but rather a movie we watched three months ago. I've loved brushing the girls shiny hair and measuring the length every night, to figure out how much longer it needs to grow before they can donate to Locks of Love.
I've honestly loved just about every thing that comes from being with them everyday. What I always remember, when I spend a week solely caring for our children, is that in growing their hearts and minds, I'm growing mine, too. YES, for those few days - once a quarter when Charlie is on a trip - I am totally synchronized with the children and their needs, and the house and it's needs, and it satisfies a need in me I can't fully explain.
Although, if I had to do it for more than a week straight, I'd probably pass out from exhaustion.