The Coach and I have been talking about January since school started. As in, "Well, the busiest month will be January, the rest won't be so bad." Or "You think this is busy? Just wait until January." You know.
But worrying about it accomplishes nothing, so it was out there, on the horizon, hovering somewhere in the back of my mind.
Until it hit.
9 games one week, 13 another, 13 the next. I didn't count this week. Never found the time. Not to mention the countless projects and long term assignments that all hit this month. Times eight. We've started buying poster boards in bulk.
It feels somewhat like having 5 kids under 6. Just surviving one day at a time.
Except with more sleep. And more driving to basketball games. When they were all little we only had whatever team the Coach had that season to go watch. Not the five different teams we have right now.
I don't want to miss the "now", waiting for the busy to pass. Maybe that's why I haven't been writing as often. To write, I have to step out of the "now" and take a break. There just hasn't been time. I spent so much of when the kids were little thinking, "If we can just make it until they sleep all night," "If we can just get this one potty trained," "If I can just make it through this last few weeks of pregnancy" (times eight).
But you know what? They were beautiful days. Even though I spent many of them hanging on for dear life.
I've learned to relax a little (You should see my house. And every drawer or cabinet. And inside my fridge. Ugh.). There is only so much time in the day. I don't want to spend it ALL just doing what will be undone tomorrow. I want to soak in sitting on the coach rubbing Little Man's back when he's sick (today is day three). I want to sit with my teens after the younger kids are in bed and talk about college and world views and gap programs (Son #1 is off at a college visit, today). I want to GO to the games and cheer (I've been working on not yelling so much - yikes!) and laugh and hug my kids even when they lose a close one. Especially when they lose a close one.
The last couple of weeks? It's been frustrating. Having kids home sick makes it impossible to be THERE for my others. Lots of games and I'm missed quite a few. Last week, when I was sick and last weekend when Daughter (#7) was sick and Son (#4) knocked a tooth loose, and now with Daughter (#5) and Little Man home for three days.
Turns out I can't do it all and I can't be two places at once. And someone has to be HOME. That would be me.
Grateful they are both feeling better, this morning. Grateful that my Coach is with Daughter (#2) at her tournament game this morning, even if I can't be. Grateful that friends took Son (#1) with their son to visit a college he is interested in, since the Coach and I are somewhat occupied.
Can't do it all.
But somehow in the middle of it all, we have fairly happy, content, kids, who don't freak out when we aren't both at their games. Sometimes neither of us are. We have laid-back kids who think it's no big deal to go with another family on a college visit because Dad has a tournament and Mom has sick little ones who need her at home. We have kids who understand that grandparents can't always come to everything (not possible with 20 and 56 grandkids, is it?). We have kids who are blessed with sweet, kind friends and gracious parents of their friends who help with rides to practice, coaching teams, taking kids to Sonic, bringing them home.
I don't like not doing it all or missing events in my kids lives. But you know what? The Lord is using it to make them into some pretty amazing kids. Who know they are loved, but know that we need them to be more independent - since we have a few to keep up with. They are learning it's OK to ask for help from others and depend on other people, too.
The Lord knew that I needed every one of these eight. So I couldn't keep up. So I couldn't hold it all together. So I couldn't do it all, always be there, always help and do things for them. Because I would have. And they have so much more to learn from a mom who has to depend on the Lord and not myself.
Today? I need a spreadsheet on Excel to keep track of where everyone is. But mostly just so I can pray effectively for all of my troops - who are spread out a bit here and there. Giving me a glimpse into the very near future when they won't all be around the table every evening, or sleeping under our roof every night.
That's our job as parents, after all. To grow them up and send them off. It's terrifying, exciting, and pretty wonderful all at once.
Is it too soon to start missing my firstborn when he leaves next Fall? (sniff)