Moments to bottle

We took the Bigs to the symphony on a day with a slightly weird schedule. Tess was whiny and wiggly; Dave removed her. Remy was behaving beautifully, then I saw his eyelids droop and he passed out completely. For 45 minutes of beautiful music, held my sweet boy and wanted time to stop.

Our kids are growing up so fast, and my parenting is just keeping up. A few years ago, I would’ve shaken him awake so he could enjoy the music. These days, I know the small moments of joy count – but they’re not always the “special” ones. Yes, I love it when the Christmas cookies or decorating eve go beautifully! But what Remy and I will remember was a moment together in one of our favorite places, snuggly and surrounded by beautiful music. He won’t remember the program from his first “real” concert, but who cares? He’ll remember how he felt – welcome, comfortable and at peace.

So instead of trying to create magical moments, I’m trying to love them intensely when they happen, giving them my full attention. That quintessential warm arm around my neck at bedtime, the off-tune heroic singing of the boys when we sing together, the warm little hand in mine as we walk down the street. They may be in fits just before or after, but it doesn’t matter.

Our kids are close in age, and our moments of beauty with all of them happen in waves instead of instances. That makes capturing and living them all the more important.

After Tess’ misbehavior in the hall, we could’ve stomped her back to the car and home. Instead, we let Remy choose where to have a Bigs date and what we’d order. With grudging respect, Tess acknowledged the fairness of that verdict and grabbed some crayons. What could’ve ended abruptly and rough instead gave us a moment of joy. Here’s to learning new skills every day!


People make me tired

I get kids. We make each other mad sometimes, but their wishes and needs are so straightforward, for the most part. Lately, I’m kind of over adults. What happens between 5 and 20 that turns us into such mysterious beings? What inspires us to shave off the honesty and begin the scheming? Sometimes I handily digest and interpret others; sometimes I throw up my hands.

People laugh when they hear I’m an introvert. I’m chatty and warm, and have a smile on my face most of the time because I love my life! I work for a symphony that makes my heart race when they play; I am honored to be a mom to four of the most beautiful little people I’ve ever met, I’m married to the man of my dreams – hell! Based on comments, the man of most women’s dreams! Everyone I love is healthy and happy. So what could I possibly have to complain about?!

Every once in a while, I get peopled out and need some time to myself. If it were conveniently solved by my annual solo walkabout, we’d be in great shape. But I can’t time it. I don’t have a gas gauge that shows me when I’m dangerously close to coasting to the shoulder of the highway. Sometimes, I just come up on fumes.

One amazing skill I’m watching my kids develop is how to control “the big feels”. We’re not born with a natural control system. We teach them to count to 10, have them take a minute, snuggle them, explain to them, talk to them…and it often works. In fact, I’d say they’re getting pretty good at pulling themselves together and telling us what’s up with WORDS. Still, once in a while they lose it completely. Today, I feel like them when they’re having an out of body experience. Don’t worry! I’m not pounding the floor and screaming about swimsuits or too tight shoes. But man! Do I want to lock myself in my room and growl.

The thing is, I’ve got dinner to make and laundry to do. The work emails keep coming and the kids aren’t napping. So where do I put my big feels? Today, they’re going into dinner. Dave took the Bigs out to walk Leroy and I’m gonna chop the shit out of some cabbage. See you on the other side.


Update! Whacked cabbage, made an awesome soup dinner for the fam. The Bigs rolled in delighted with their walk, and the Littles finally slept. I got hugs! Such good hugs. Our kids are the best. Next parental lesson for self management? Ask for what you need. Turns out, I needed a project and a minute alone. Just like Tess does.

So many people take care of us. They drive a kid to an appointment or make us laugh when we’re having a rough day. Friends and family help us out of jams and are there when we need a shoulder. That can’t help me when I’m overwhelmed. Sometimes the only medicine for this feeling is an empty, quiet room. So if you see Dave out with the kids, chances are he’s letting me blow off steam or sneak in a workout. And I’ll be here, practicing what I preach to the kids and taking note of how to be more empathetic the next time those green beans at dinner might just make a boy die from horror. Sometimes we have to gulp air and whine before we can find those words. And sometimes the best medicine to people exhaustion is as simple as a moment with no people. Duh.