Yesterday we headed out on a field trip to Target and when Grayson told me 'Target is boring' I put my fingers in my ears and pushed ahead. I haven't been in a Target for over a month so I was pretty thrilled. We did make a stop at Sonic for milkshakes to keep it fair.
Today we started off with pancakes and Caiden told me he was so happy because he 'hates oatmeal with a capital H'. Funny that I'd somehow forgotten that when you have three kids they all like and hate different things, so much of dinnertime is spent trading and shuffling. Gray will happily eat all Addie's clam chowder, and she'll scarf down Caiden's string cheese and Caiden will eat just about anything except cheese because he's apparently growing and / or has hollow legs just like Sarah's brother, Dan did when he was that age. I forget what dinnertime was like 20 years ago.
I've had fun pulling weeds and praying none of it is poisonous since my arms and legs are covered with poison sumac that I can't identify to save my life. So I'm also spending some time reading my Texas Gardening Guide while the kids ride scooters on the driveway. I've scrubbed the day's grime off their necks and legs and arms and remembered how sweet and tiny they look when they're naked and wet with bubbles stuck to their faces and every single one of their ribs show; we've read Wind in the Willows while I took in the sweet smell of freshly washed kids. We chased chickens (they're not easy to catch!), watered Sarah's garden and fed their dogs.
I've driven around town, making one wrong turn that resulted in pulling the GPS out of my purse so I could get us back home. All this makes me wonder what our mothers must have thought when we left the kids with them. Did they check them and then check them again right before going to bed, to be sure everyone was still breathing? Did they kiss the tops of their heads one more time, even though they were asleep and would never know? Did they feel every single year of their age? Did they wonder how they ever did it 24/7, 365 days a year?
It's D.A.R.K. here at night, and Papa hasn't arrived yet to 'help' us. I use that term loosely since we all know the 'God's honest truth'. Anyway, we've been alone. It would never occur to me to be afraid, being alone. I looked forward to it actually. For the first time in over two months I slept in the middle of the bed, went to sleep when I wanted, and got up early this morning for coffee and devotions while everyone else was still in bed (even if it was threats that kept them there.) I suspect my dear husband is enjoying some time alone too, before he joins us.
But last night, when I was making the final rounds, checking and rechecking the doors to be sure everything was locked down tight, one light was still on by the side of the house. I knew it shouldn't be. And I also knew to reach the light switch I'd have to go outside to turn it off. As I opened the door, and began to step outside, there in the bright yellow light sat four of the biggest toads I've ever seen, contentedly eating bugs. I just couldn't step out. No way. I realize toads won't hurt you, don't bite, but they jump unexpectedly and might have touched my feet. And that would have done me in. I guess there's still a kid lurking somewhere inside me too.
It's good to remember - what it's like to be a little kid, what it's like to be a mommy day in, day out.