I don't have time to write much anymore. I don't have time to shop for clothes or read books (the kind with lots of words, written for big people). I don't have time to get my hair done or be super-crafty or write songs and sing at coffee shops anymore, either. No free time at all, really.
And for now, I'm okay with that.
Because right now, I'm living for other people.
My writing involves a second grader and a fourth grader huddled around our dining room table, pencils poised, ready to summarize the story I just read to them. They are becoming excellent writers! Yay!
My clothes shopping involves hurried trips to the second-hand kid's clothing store, scouring racks of $1 clearance items in just about every size (since we've got most of them covered)...or maybe running into Goodwill to find a pair of $4 jeans for myself, since I've needed new ones for months and haven't found the time to shop.
My reading involves hippos and trucks and baby owls and farm animals, board books with baby tooth-prints embossed on the cover, and well-loved paper books with Scotch-taped spines.
Doing hair means (on a good day) getting a shower, and (on a usual day) trying to remember to run a brush through my hair. Frequently, it means sitting boys (and man, too!), one after another, on the chair in the kitchen, clippers or scissors in hand. Some are always more willing than others. Some can only be bribed using Thomas the Tank Engine (I'll let you guess which ones).
These days, super-crafty means laminating kangaroos with my preschoolers. No lie, I did that this morning. Last week I laminated jellyfish, and the week before, iguanas. This is my life.
The songs I write now are mostly about stinky diapers or rubber duckies or how Mama loves you more than the whole entire world. Not the kind that draw a crowd, but maybe the most important songs of all, at least to my little audience.
My "free time" is filled with doing puzzles with toddlers and playing with babies and driving teens all over the planet. I pick up discarded bread crusts from the floor, and I eat a lot of plastic food. I edit schoolwork, dictate sentences, and research marsupials and amphibians with an eager crowd of children gathering around. I exclaim over Lego creations more often than you would even believe. I listen as children recount, nearly word for word, the awesome new book they're reading, eager to share every last detail with me. Every time I turn around, somebody has something to ask or wonder aloud or complain about or just simply to share.
I am often completely overwhelmed with my life. I have bad days, my kids have bad days, and there are days when we're just a big ball of crazy. In all honesty, sometimes I long for just a few moments when nobody needs me for anything at all.
But then I remember that someday, I will have those moments. My kids will be grown, my house will be quiet. Someday, I will have time to live for myself - to "follow my dreams" or get my hair done or maybe just to go potty by myself - and when that time comes, I'm pretty sure I'll long for the moments I'm living today.
We've been told by older parents to spend as much time with our kids as we possibly can when they are young, because it goes so fast and you can never get it back. Not ever. Every moment you spend away from your kids is a moment that is lost forever.
I'm okay with no free time. I want to give my kids every second that I possibly can. I want to enjoy them, experience life with them, be in awe of their discoveries, teach them, learn with them, and learn from them...even on the hardest of days.
I don't want to miss a moment.