As I was driving this Friday afternoon, hurtful words were being thrown at me. How could you? Seriously, you’ve been off all week. Why is it so difficult to keep up with children at home, but you can handle a full classroom during the school year?
This week seems to be a week of chaos. Setting a new normal for the kiddos is always a challenge for our family. This year, with our own three boys and our two bonus kiddos (our word for foster), it creates a house of constant movement; there’s never a chance to catch up.
I had the week planned out in my head. There were several goals and timeframes to meet, however, I knew we would reach them all. The main goal, the light at the end of the tunnel, was Friday evening at 6 pm. Our youngest had his tee-ball award ceremony, along with pictures. He was talking about this event for two weeks. For a five-year-old, this is huge.
Wednesday gets here, and I realize that my husband is going to be at a church retreat for the weekend. “It’s on the calendar,” he says with a tone of uncertainty. To his defense, he was correct. Miscommunication always makes life go so smoothly. Yeah right. How I misunderstood that he would be absent from our house for four days, I’m not sure. Yes, I had watched him pour his heart into the planning, however, somehow I thought he was staying with me. Oops.
Now we’re to Thursday, Daddy/Josh is gone, and the heat is on. Is it okay to lock myself in my room? A text comes through inviting my eldest to a weekend fishing camp. Awesome! He’ll love this. I get the registration set up and begin reading the items he needs to bring. I have less than 24 hours, and I don’t have a clue where to start. My husband is the camper. Momma bear is not.
“Is it okay to lock myself in my room?” What Mom hasn’t asked that?
Friday morning gets here, and I drop off kid three and four at day camp, and kid two with Mimi. After digging in the shed and finding a fishing rod, I take kid one and five with me to a store I was directed to, so I can get a new line. Thank goodness for the man who had the “bless her heart” look on his face. He made my day much easier.
Now we’re back on our mission. We’re headed to Camp Tanako to drop off Big Brother. Pulling onto the bumpy road, Jacob and Garrett gazed around in amazement. Trees surrounded us, and we could see cabins in the near distance. As the van stopped, Jacob hopped out, and stated lightheartedly, “I’m ready, Y’all can leave.” We all giggled, but I knew he was ready for us to go. We gave our big hugs and left.
As we pulled out, I looked at the clock. It was already 4:15 pm. I planned to pick up kid three and four on the way home and drop them at Mimi’s before I dropped by the house to get our sweet tee-ball boy ready. However, that’s when the thoughts began to sneak in, and I became distracted.
Where’s his uniform? I remembered seeing it. Please be in his drawer. I knew where I would find the priceless jewel. As we continued driving home, we made a plan for little man to gather all of his tee-ball items when we got home. Why hadn’t we done this already? Good question.
As we pull in at 4:55 pm, we all rush out of the van. I practically run to get to the laundry room and look down in the basket. There it is, shining from the bottom. The lime green shirt nobody could miss. Yes! We can pull it off for the night—a round in the drier and we’ll be good. I turn the shirt around and shining brighter than the green is two big spaghetti stains. Seriously?! You’ve got to be kidding me!
The clock now says 5:10 pm. Do I have time? The light at the end of the tunnel is here. I spray as much Shout Spray as I can on the stains, and throw the lime green shirt, along with the grey pants (we totally could have pulled those off) in the quick wash. As I paced back and forth, I tried my best to not look at the clock. I glanced. 20 minutes has gone by—seriously, how is this quick wash? The cycle completes, and I chuck it in the drier. Glancing over, I see a precious, confident five-year-old standing in his underwear and socks, holding his bat, glove, and helmet. His cleats are on the ground. I ask, “Are you ready to get ready?” He responds with a smirk, “I’ve been ready.” He knows how to make me laugh.
As my anxiety is out of the roof, and my feelings of failure are creeping in, I am calculating time. I still have to drop kid three and kid four by Mimi’s and get to the Optimist Park within 18 minutes. My momma speed kicks in. “Get in the van!” I start to yell, “Everyone, in the van!” I pulled Garrett into the laundry room. I pulled out his uniform from the drier. “Babe, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wear the outfit while it’s still damp.” Damp is an understatement. Bless him.
Of course, he shrugs his shoulders as if there’s nothing wrong with the situation.
As my anxiety is out of the roof, and my feelings of failure are creeping in, I am calculating time. Why didn’t I plan this better?
We have all tumbled into the van. The seatbelts are buckled. I have officially texted the coach’s wife, so she is aware we may be a few minutes late.
Here come the words. The degrading, belittling questions I ask myself. How could you? Seriously, you’ve been off all week. Why is it so difficult to keep up with children at home, but you can handle a full classroom during the school year? I take a deep breath and remind myself who this night is for.
As we pulled up, Mimi ran out to meet them. Kids two, three, and four hopped out. As we pulled out, Garrett smiled big knowing it was all about him now. Turning into the parking lot, the clock turns slowly from 5:59 pm to 6:00 pm. I don’t know how in the world we pulled this off.
The night continued as planned. Pictures were taken of the sweet tee-ball players. Most of their bats measure close to their own personal height. Medals were passed to each precious child. Cookie cake was eaten. Of course, the cake was the bribery for behavior and connection to sanity through the end. Garrett loved every minute of this and more. However, I haven’t gotten to the best part of the night—for me.
We met at the high school baseball dugout for pictures and fun, and it rained. It rained puddles of rain. On the baseball field. There were red mud stains on every child there.
The icing on my cookie cake that night was the fact that every child had a wet uniform. Not just mine. Give yourself grace, mommas.