Blaine took the kids to church tonight, and I stayed home with sleeping Elliot. (Formerly sleeping. Now she’s ingesting dry cheerios at a rapid rate and looking thoroughly confused at the quiet house she woke up to.) I was cleaning up supper after they left, found a nasty dried out milk mess under the spoon jar on the counter and another mess of clay smeared on the bench and I had a fleeting thought.
Soon enough this will all be past.
These moments, when I cringe and head for a scraper to clean up the mess that at least one, likely more, child knew about, made, and failed to see the value in cleaning it up for themselves, will be past. And I’ll miss them.
I keep telling myself that anyway.
The messes amaze me. The laundry never ends. And yet I hear from mother after grandmother that these years fly so fast.
This morning, when I was facing a temper tantrum throwing Pierce three minutes after I got up because I wouldn’t let him have a piece of candy from his co-op Valentine’s party for breakfast, the moment didn’t seem so short. When he was still screaming half an hour later, I was nearly certain that this day would pass in absolute agony. When he started another tantrum this afternoon when everyone was getting their allotted candy for the day but he didn’t because of the morning’s fit, I stared at his little face and reminded myself. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. Everyone says it will.
Not everyone has met Pierce, my stubborn, strong willed son, however. He’s bound and determined to prove them wrong.
And then. Sixth grade math is horrendous. Who makes this stuff up?! Why on earth does my dear word-loving daughter need to learn order of operations when I know no one who really writes things that way in every day life?! (I know. I know. I heard about it in college too. I hated it then too. FOIL. I got that one. About the time I learned First, Outer, Inner, Last, they moved on and it no longer applied. I’m still shaking my head in confusion 14 years later.) We spent an hour trying to figure out one order of operations problem a week ago. When I was helping Liberty with her math today, and most of this stuff totally makes sense to me, but today I had to ask her what to do with some term that I have yet to come across, cannot remember now, nor can I find it in the book at the moment. All the while I was attempting to cover my ignorance in a “tell me what you know so I can help you with what you don’t” attempt. (Cat’s out of the bag if she reads this, eh?) All of this went on while Eden tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to diagram adverbs, Charlotte pestered and pestered for me to listen to her read, Sterling and Ruby slithered out of the room to go play because all they had left was a subject they needed me to do, and Ellie fussed because no one was paying her any attention and she has seventh child syndrome. And Pierce cried for the candy he couldn’t have.
Some moments cannot pass fast enough.
Some days are just like this. Who am I kidding? Some weeks are like this! I wish away these years, struggle with the hard stuff, shake my head at the agony of minutes passing in ridiculousness.
But it’s not ridiculousness. Tomorrow’s another day. Tomorrow holds hope for Pierce and that peanut butter cup he found so entirely worth getting himself into trouble over. Liberty’s math will be fresh and new and, we can hope, less confusing. Diagramming adverbs will be old news and so not a big deal.
In the meantime, I’ll cherish the quiet moments that give me a moment’s reprieve after a particularly rough day. That moment is now past, my family is home, and my dear youngest son is hollering from his perch on a certain white throne that he needs assistance.
Some days it’s merely survival. Knowledge that today will never return, for better or worse, spurs me on to try again.
Because, after all, the years are short. Someday I will no longer find messes unattended and wonder who on earth thought that was okay.
In the meantime, it’s time to wipe another backside, sweep up the cheerios, send the kids to bed …and hope that tomorrow holds simple fractions, decimals, or perhaps the FOIL concept. I can handle that.