Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where The Boys Are

My eyes open each morning and I wipe the sleep out of them.  And someone yells or screams or throws up or falls out of bed and the day begins.  It's exhausting, but somehow I make it through each day, looking forward to bedtime with great excitement, and I lay my head on my pillow and close my eyes and sigh because I know in a few hours it will start all over again.  It's a huge blessing, but a huge challenge all at the same time.

These two boys surprised us in their own way.  My pregnancy with Hailey was very traumatic and we were told that more children was an unwise way to go.  And then we found out only twelve months after Hailey was born that Lauren would be joining our family.  Being filled with much fear and anxiety at the prospect of that pregnancy going in the same direction, we made the decision that we'd cap our family at three children.  When we married we planned on four, but it didn't seem that it would happen.

And then Devin came along and we had no clue what we were in for.  He came after a very sad and depressing miscarriage and it seemed that the heavens opened and he was our rainbow baby in more ways than one.  He was born only three months after the death of my amazing and sweet brother, Joseph.  The birth of Devin reminded us of the great circle of life and he was a shining ray of hope during an otherwise painful time.  We joke that part of Joseph's spirit lives in Devin because he is just too strong willed and energetic to be ONE single spirit.

And then nine months after his birth we found out that Garrett was coming.  That would make five babies in barely seven years.  While we were incredibly grateful for our bounty, we knew that life would be crazy, but we really had no idea just HOW crazy it would be.  I often times say that we need our own reality show for teenagers to see exactly what it's like day in and day out to have all of these young children under one roof.  It's nutty and surreal.

Sometimes I catch myself wondering what it would be like if Lauren really had been our last baby.  Life would be much easier in a lot of ways.  Maybe I'd be caught up on sleep.  I'd probably be skinnier for sure.  The circles under my eyes wouldn't be quite as dark and I'd have less gray hair on my head.  I probably wouldn't yell as much or cry as much.  My older kids would have a little more of our attention and not as much responsibility.  Outings and vacations would be much easier.  We'd be done with strollers and diapers and potty training would be a distant memory. 

And then I think of what we would be missing.  We'd be missing two crucial players on our team.  We wouldn't laugh nearly as much.  My heart wouldn't be quite as big, nor would my hips.  I wouldn't know the joy of seeing two boys blossom into best friends, almost like twin brothers.  I wouldn't see Lauren as a big sister.  We wouldn't be "the lucky 7".  No one would be left to take over Ethan's Lightening McQueen obsession.  The bathroom would usually be clean and not nearly as wet after bathtime, but there wouldn't be the same echoes of laughter coming from within it's walls.  The kitchen table wouldn't always be covered in a mystery goo, but those two chairs would remain empty and there would always be an ache in my heart for what should have been.

And so, days are insane.  I rarely sit down unless it's to drive the van or use the bathroom, and even then there are always little fingers showing themselves underneath the door trying to find me.  We're late almost everywhere we go because Garrett is conditioned to poop in his diaper just as we're running out the door, already later than we should be.  Little shoes and socks always come off and get lost during very inconvenient times and tantrums are to be had.  Grocery shopping trips are usually miserable and sometimes I cry on the way home.  I can't get one mess cleaned up before another one is being made.  Laundry baskets full of clean clothes get flipped and scattered because they find them and need the basket to use as a hat, a fort, or a trap before I have a chance to fold the clothes.  I hear strange bangs and clanks and crashes and then a cry is certain to follow and I rush in to find someone covered in blood.  It's my day, it's my life.

And I know that this phase of life is just a short time and that one day, I'll miss it.  And the thought of that time creeping up makes me heart hurt.  I'm tired, I cry, and sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom and throw a tantrum of my own.  And then I sit down with these precious boys and smell their baby soft skin laden with a hint of Cheerios and peanut butter and drink them in, and it reminds me that I can make it one more day.

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