Back to real life...back to joyful chaos.
The stowing-away-in-my-bedroom-with-a-newborn-babe days are long gone, the grandmas have stopped coming over to help, and the ever-elusive routine is slowly worming its way back into everyday existence.
I've missed it. I've missed living life with my kids: teaching them new things, going on field trips, listening to their silliness and chatter, and all the simple little things, like watching them make waterfalls in their oatmeal at breakfast.
I feel like myself again.
Myself...plus one seven-week-old ball of poo and cuteness...
...plus one newly-two-year-old mischievously naughty mountain goat (aka The Tornado)...
...plus one ever-so-sweet, thrilled-to-be-a-big-brother-again, just-turned-five little warrior who is slowly recovering from a fever and a nasty cough...
...plus one darling, hyperactive, attention-starved seven-year-old big sister who is struggling to find her place in all this chaos...particularly the emotional chaos of her older siblings...and who is also wracked by a fever and a cough...
...plus one on-the-way-to-healing-but-oh-so-insecure ten-year-old RADling that is dealing with so many emotions that she just can't control, and who, most days, requires more of my emotional energy to parent than the younger four combined...
...and minus one lost and hurting thirteen-year-old RADling, angry at the world, who is slowly, hopefully, making a bit of progress outside our home. We keep praying.
And wow, am I tired. And overwhelmed. And behind on my responsibilities, like laundry and cleaning and correcting schoolwork and sending out birth announcements and thank-you notes.
And wow, am I blessed.
So blessed to be overrun by all these little people.
To take care of them.
To feed them.
To teach them.
To love on them.
To laugh with them.
To learn life's lessons from them.
To spend all day, nearly every day, with them.
To be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.
My life is not what most would call paradise. It's cluttered...and sticky...and smells a bit like diapers and dirty laundry. I spend far too many days feeling like I'm accomplishing nothing, waving my hands in the air and singing the "Mom's going to Screeeeaaaaam!" song, which my brood gladly sings right along with me.
I have no peace and quiet. There's no such thing as peace and quiet here: just noise and more noise and joyful noise...and screaming (see above). I rarely get to spend time doing what I feel like doing. I have (literally) no time off, someone always wants my attention, and I go to bed exhausted...just to wake up a few hours later to feed the baby.
And there is nothing more important that I could be doing with my life.
In the midst of all the chaos...the blowout diapers and the tinkle on the carpet, the toddler's mouth full of cat food, the screaming baby, the bossy big sisters, the arguing, the coughs and boogers and runny noses and the spit-up running down the front of my shirt... in the midst of all that, I get to enjoy life with my kids. I have time to enjoy life with my kids.
The world is fast-paced, career driven, and super-charged with personal ambition. Far too few mommies, I fear, will ever have the time to enjoy oatmeal waterfalls at breakfast.