There's no doubt, the Universe has given us the greatest possible gift when we received our four miracles and I am eternally grateful for them. I'm also certain that it is because of our children that Charlie and I are becoming religious fanatics. We go to church every week and pray every day. I've never felt the need to give so many thanks for our blessings, while asking for God's grace and mercy, than I do in this season of life.
This morning we learned (again) that hell hath no greater fury than a parent who finds that their beloved tweens have placed clean - folded clothes - in the dirty laundry hamper, because it was easier than putting them away. We've been down this road before, why don't the children remember??
That parental meltdown was literally dampened by an overflowing toilet and observation of water on the bathroom floor, resulting from a tween who had tried to flush a plastic Dixie cup down the toilet and has since learned the excellent lesson that plastic Dixie cups, DON'T FLUSH.
By then, it was only 8:30 AM and we went to church, because church is Good.
On the way to church there were several upset children, because someone was in someone's seat. Also, they didn't want to go to church. And once we arrived, they didn't want to go to their class. Someone looked at someone. Someone touched someone.
Someone breathed annoyingly.
I'm digging deep to stay calm. REAL DEEP. It helps that I'm in a sacred place. Why isn't it helping my children? Why aren't they acting angelic?!
After church, Elizabeth brought her brother - Henry - a donut from the 5th grade religious education class. This was such a thoughtful gesture, because the 2nd grade religious education class doesn't have donuts. Ah, but the donut was blueberry. Or more appropriately, yelled in an ear-piercing grievously disappointed shriek in a room with ridiculously good acoustics, "BLUEBERRY?!?!?!?"
Henry doesn't like blueberries. Obviously. Although, had he not looked at the donut, I doubt he would have even noticed the blueberries. (Note to self, next time tell him to eat it with his eyes closed.) No big deal, we let it roll of our backs. Even if not in this moment, we'll surely look back on this and laugh one day. Maybe not TODAY, but ONE DAY.
Interestingly enough, our children are the absolute best friends when they want to be. But Cheez-Its in a bucket will they bicker and taunt each other when they don't. Then they try to drag their mother and father in to their petty disputes (visa vie, "MOM! DAD! MOOOMMMM, DADDDDDD!") and I really try to say something better than, "Please stop talking, it hurts!" but sometimes, those are the only words that come out.
I can't even remember what the trigger was today, but at some point while I was still IN CHURCH looking in to a 3-day spiritual retreat for Charlie and I, the children detonated my husband's rock-solid patience. When I returned to the van full of excitement and with hands gripping fliers, 3/4 of the children in the car were crying and Charlie looked like he might be on the verge of a heart attack.
"Oh my gosh, what happened?!" I asked.
"I'm saturated." He replied. "I just ... I just ... I can't take it anymore; I don't even know what they're mad about? Look at this beautiful day. Look at US! We're HAPPY and we're in LOVE and we ADORE these kids SO much and they just fight over NOTHING. It's like they fight and bicker just to do it? It's driving me crazy..."
So we went to Whole Foods to pick up a few items and told the triplets that they had to stay outside and wait for us. We've never left them in the car before, but today we did. Because we figured that they were safer in a locked vehicle than with us. Charlie, especially, needed a moment to BREATHE. So we parked at the front, cracked the side windows, took the keys and their little brother, and locked the doors. We were gone for no more than 15 minutes buying expensive produce and yogurt. When we returned, we found this letter that had been written, crumpled, and then taped to the window:
I'm so grateful for moments of honesty amongst fellow parents who don't sugar coat that as wonderfully awesome as it is to raise children - it is helluva hard work and rearing children well requires a tremendous amount of love and patience, love and kindness, love and forgiveness. And most importantly perhaps ... love and laughter.
It's so important to step back and get a grip. When we step back, we're more likely to get things in the appropriate perspective. That perspective being that we're surrounded by often emotionally unstable, and physically limited children who need a lot of sleep - a lot of structure - and a lot of love.
As for us, a Nanny might be a good idea. But look ... we're almost 11.5 years in and we've managed it OK thus far on our own. Surely, it'll be a lot easier now that the teen years are just around the corner.