Once in a while he is home a little bit before the dinnertime-bedtime rush, and once in a while he is off and obligation free for a whole weekend… but mostly not.
Once in a while I go do some aqua aerobics, and once in a very, very great while I get a few glorious minutes alone where all three kids are napping at once, but mostly I am a mother. I am washing and putting away clothes, cleaning up crumbs, preparing meals, tidying up the kitchen after all that meal preparing, reading stories, kissing owies, wiping noses, changing diapers, clipping tiny nails, washing tiny faces…
Once in a while this wears me down, but mostly it’s beautiful.
Once in a while we are husband and wife. All three children are sound asleep, chores are done, obligations are fulfilled, and the night is young. Ish. We sit at the table and talk or we play a game of Scrabble. We dance in the kitchen.
But mostly, we are parents.
He gets the big kids to sleep while I get the baby to sleep. It takes all night. We’re exhausted and we just crawl into bed to watch an episode of whatever NetFlix DVD we have at the moment. Or the kids are asleep but we’re cleaning up the house/ baking those muffins/ packing up the diaper bag for tomorrow/ adjusting this little bike seat or fixing that broken toy. Or maybe we spend a few minutes of quality time together and then somebody’s up crying for us—bad dream, teething, sick, who knows—and the night is over almost as quickly as it’s begun.
Mostly, we are parents. Our conversations are peppered with the drum beats of a small car on the living room wall and incessant requests for snacks or snuggles or playing Superheroes. We spend more time saying “Sorry, what did you say?!” than we do saying our actual sentences. We frequently mutter, “Never mind. I’ll just tell you in 18 years.”
Our most important conversations take place in the garage or laundry room and are still usually interrupted with at least one round of “What’s going on out there?!” “She hit me!”/“He tip me over!”
Once in a while this feels a little hard to handle… but mostly, it’s our beautifully crazy life and we wouldn’t have it any other way.