As I mentally went through the day’s accomplishments several days ago, it occurred to me: life is getting easier. Strange thought, since I have more children than ever before. It’s been a slow process, but it’s been a process. My children are getting more helpful, more useful, better trained than ever before. A wise woman told me a long time ago that I was in the hardest years, and if I continued to have more children, it would still be easier than what I had just then.
It was true.
These days, I can school four, sometimes five children, boil, debone, and freeze a turkey, can the broth, make supper, mop the floor, and wash six loads of laundry.
Because I have help. It is amazing, really, what this crew and I can accomplish in a day. More amazing is the mess they can also make in a day. Amazing is how I can work hard all day long and still find myself with more laundry, more jobs undone than done, more chaos. It gets easier, but I’ve also gotten used to operating in a new state of normal.
As I drove the lawn mower yesterday with a baby sleep on my chest and a toddler on my knee, I had a moment to realize how things have changed. I have rules like “No knocking on the bathroom door for at least 15 minutes if I’m in the shower.” Another rule that stands is “Clean your room before EVERY meal.” “Police your row” is commonly heard when we get home, indicating that the van needs to be checked for garbage. I plan for a roll of toilet paper per day. I buy 5-6 gallons of milk a week. My girls are fabulous at fractions; doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling recipes gives them plenty of practice.
Life is easier. Easy, no, but different, better, fuller. We live, we laugh, we shake our heads in the crazy moments, but it’s so, so good. My husband walked in from work tonight as Charlotte was in the shower, washing the goop out of her hair I’d used to get the gum out, the bread Eden had baked boasted more dough than bread, and the soup hadn’t thickened because I’d realized we were out of tomato paste and used tomato sauce. Elliot has been sick and throwing up for two days, I’d just chased Elmer down to get the kids’ ball back because, despite the neighbors deciding he’s their dog, he hasn’t gotten that memo and continues to spend every escape chance he gets at our house. Pierce was hollering his protest at a less than favorite supper and not being allowed to dine on (doughy) bread alone, and I was boiling soap to melt it down and it boiled over and helped me wash down the stovetop.
It’s so strange to consider what life used to look like. These moments, crazy as they are, are the best days of our lives. While I’d love to escape to the bathroom for four minutes without anyone knocking that they need me – we have a rule about that too. If I’m in the bathroom, don’t ask. The answer is no. You’re better off waiting to ask if you want a chance at getting what you want. But these crazy days are still much fun. Loud, interesting, never dull, and full of hugs. I tried once to count the “I love you’ s”. I lost count. It’s easily hundreds, every day. These little people are amazing – and I get to be their momma.