You’ve probably seen this pic going around the web (No, it’s not me. Feels like me, often, but nope). School’s out. Summer has begun, and there’s a little part of me that remembers the days that I feared this above shot. Walls closing in on me, Cereal and milk slowly dripping from the ceiling, and overstuffed diaper scent wafting through the kitchen, stronger than my coffee that just won’t do it’s job this morning. EEEEEK!!!!!!!
(Yes, even “Every little thing/ Marley-girl-Buna” … can also be a real “Madea” who just wants everyone to sit still for a minute and be real real quiet until Mama’s had enough coffee or enough wine to deal!… sigh!… Deep breathing technique beginning: Breathe in. Breathe out. Sip coffee. Repeat.)
However, this summer, although my body’s not fully cooperating with me, and I feel like I’ve literally been punched in the gut by the Incredible Hulk once I reach the afternoon (my body definitely decides to wave the white flag after lunch and shout, “Hey we’re still in recovery from that surgery 3 weeks ago, ya know! So settle down, Sparky!). Oy Vey.
What to do?
One choice remains.
Well… I intended to adjust,
However, I slipped, and ended up letting my “crazy show” a little first:
At the end of the school year, while going back and forth to the hospital, and seeing the faces of my kiddos who were so bummed that this was all happening again and again, I felt like I was failing them. I wanted to give them the world and make sure they missed out on nothing. With five kids, we make a lot of sacrifices as to how many things we can really do. For example, every child, for the most part, picks ONE main extra curricular activity, unless something else comes along that they can ALL be involved in that won’t break the bank or our sanity. It’s about being together, and not losing our family dinner time. That’s important to us.
Well, seeing their bummed faces, I started to miss WHY they were upset. I mistakenly felt like I needed to make it up to them by being Super Mom who would commit to bringing them to whatever extracurricular they’d never gotten the chance to do, camp they hadn’t tried, etc. But I was wrong. They just wanted ME. And I wanted them, too.
We began our first week of me, literally, gripping my stomach as I donned some really cute suits in hopes that it would distract both my kiddos and the folks at the pool from noticing that my tummy was still kinda hurting post-op, while I also perfectly planned how I could take my kids to the pool each day for their swim team practice and watch them have their fun in the sun! Took a few days to figure it out without any major lifting of the bambino, Snuggles. (We do a lot of holding while walking through the baby pool/chasing across the pool deck, strollers, and swimming in the pool with her. There in the pool, weightlessly, I can hold her! HEAVEN! ) How I’ve missed holding my Snuggles!!!!!! I could cry. I’ll stay in that pool with that squishy, voluptuous little cutie, and let my Firecracker swim to me all day if it means that I get to be MOMMY right now!!! I’ve missed all of this more than I could possibly say. When I’m out with them on my own, doing what we “normally do”, all feels right in the world. My heart grows a little more each time I’m out with them on my own, like “a big girl”. 😉
But sometimes, much like laundry…a huge load sneaks up on ya, and BAM! …. Ya realize you’re in over our head! How’d that happen?!?
Well, when it comes to our very “unorthodox laundry” system, we don’t even “fold em.”
(Side bar. Bare with my tangent. There is a point…)
We line up baskets (one for each of the 7 family members, plus 2 extra for towels and lines… yes, that’s 9 baskets in a row!!!), throw the big heaping baskets of clean clothes on the vacuumed rug and have the kids help sort/THROW the clothes into the apporopriate baskets (That is, after they’ve leaped on top of, rolled down, the laundry mountain… hopefully with with clean clothes on, so as to not YET AGAIN soil my fresh clothes. OY!) They take their baskets up to their rooms, put them away how they like (They have labeled bins and drawers, but “NO”, they don’t usually fold. It just gets unfolded when they scammer for that first outfit during the next dressing session! Work…undone!) My only rules: Dress clothes must be hung; no clothes shoved in corners/ put them AWAY in some organized fashion; and give me back my baskets within 48 hrs before next laundry day. Works for us. May make you crazy, but I just couldn’t waste my life away folding laundry for 7 people anymore, and clean the house, and cook, and try to ENJOY any of this life that I’m trying so hard to FIGHT TO LIVE FOR! I’m not gonna beat cancer in order to live for Laundry. Seriously.
BESIDES, LOOK WHAT I FIND IN THE LAUNDRY WHEN THEY SORT FOR ME?
So, why did I go off on my Laundry tangent?
With this house busting at the seams with people necessitating a need for a revolving door on my laundry room and confirming my point that nudist colonies were truly made for large families, not hippie free spirits.
*WHY WERE NUDIST COLONIST TRULY CREATED? They are for people like me who just can’t keep up with the dirty clothes. Let me clarify, I’m not itching to see or be seen. However, If I were to, by some freak chance, to go blind as result of my chemotherapy and other treatments, send me there with my family! It’s perfect. Then, I don’t have to see all those nudy-booties, but can just bask in my glory like a free bird and not notice who’s upset at what they see with us. And, hey! No laundry! 😉
Sorry, Tangent again! Sheesh! (Blame it on the chemo brain! Ugh)
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Laundry was literally taking over my motherhood, and my family life, so we adjusted. We cut back and took out the folding. Know when to hold ’em, know when NOT to fold em, in this case! And it was a game changer. Glorious!
I woke up on the first Monday of the second week of my summer feeling a flurry of emotions. I was so happy to have my kiddos home, fulfilled to be Mommy again at the pool like I’ve spent every summer of my life, yet felt my body giving up because it’s still “recovering”, felt TICKED that my mind and body were not in sync with one another (“I don’t have time for ‘dat!), and when I saw the summer schedule and all the things I’d committed to, something had to give or Mommy was going to snap and thus spill my little emotional outburst all over my family. Pretty much the opposite of my hopes and dreams for my kiddos when seeing their sad faces at the hospital just a few weeks before and all throughout this year.
“Busy-ness” isn’t good for any of us. With young children, it’s good to get some kind of a schedule or routine for our summer to give our brains a little order and to get us moving in the first half of the day and out of the house, or we kinda lose it. They need sunshine, we need fresh air, and the pool is great for that! Thus, SWIM TEAM stayed on our schedule. We practice in the pool in the a.m., stay to waterslide, splash around with friends, eat our lunches that we’ve packed to save some cash, and head home to watch a movie, read, color, and chill. Thus… we CUT OUR AFTERNOON COMMITTMENTS. My kids want ME. After a long year of treatments that are still ongoing, they want their mommy. I’m involved in swimming, I’m not involved in gymnastics and dance, and other things that I watch them through a glass wall of each studio or gymnasium. We cherish our morning fun in the sun and our down time in the afternoon and possible impromptu playdate in the late afternoon or early evening with friends.
A friend of mine, Kelley (long time friend and fellow blogger: freedomintegift.com) reminded me of something very important a few days ago. We moms spend all school year multi tasking our life away and priding ourselves on our ability to do so. However, with phone in one hand, baby on hip, stirring a pot with another, and half focused nodding at the child in front of me who’s telling me about their day, I realize…
MY MULTI-TASKING STINKS!
May I stink at multi tasking this summer and do a lot more one thing at a time “Multi Slacking” with my kids!
I want to focus more on them and be less distracted.
As many of my friends know from past summers,
I drop off the face of the earth a bit in the summer.
You may not hear a whole lot from us, unless you bump into us at the pool or snowball stand. Please don’t take offense. Summer is my time where I’m totally 100% smitten with my fam. I truly enjoy the detachment from my phone, the computer, and embrace the “multi-slacker” poolside mama with a week or so in the theater for my kiddos to act with me in my drama camps, or dance with my friends in a benefit coming up in June (check out the “Join the Team” for more info). Why? Because these are the things that give me peace, they make me happy, and they keep us together.
This is how we’ve learned to know when to:
HOLD EM’ (“Hold” my kiddos close, as much as I can this summer and always)
FOLD EM’ …or NOT (“Fold” on the extra activities, that run you ragged and split up your family this summer, and as for Laundry: I highy recommend “NOT FOLDING“! Espcially the kids’ laundry. It’ll just frustrate you when they throw it on the floor in a desperate hunt)
*By no means do I have the answers.
*By no means can I vouch for myself or commit to sticking with everything or anything that I say perfectly.
*By no means do I say that I know what I’m doing. I’m just parenting one day/minute at a time.
*By every means do I admit that I’m a spaz that messes up regularly, yet will give myself a pat on the back for being cool to laugh at myself, pick myself back up after with either a rolling laugh or a good cry and moving on.
*By every means, I intend to pull back this summer, love my family, and pray for grace to know when I’m screwing up again, and cut back more if I need to.
*By ALL the MEANS that God has to offer, I pray I can do all these things with my family this summer through these last legs of my treatment THROUGH THE GRACE OF GOD ALONE so that I can truly
KICK CANCER TO THE CURB THIS SUMMER and
hear the glorious words of, (as my Hubbie always says, “Lord willing”)…
“REMISSION” in the FALL!!!
(As our last and final “cut back of the summer” was to postpone our final surgery until Fall, giving my body a break to recharge. Not to mention, with infusions happening every 21 days anyway still – just 3 more to go, my kids need a break to enjoy the summer with me at home, not at a hospital, if at all possible)
“And that’s all I have to say about that” – (Forest Gump)
Make it a great summer, however that means for you and yours this summer.
Make the best of it.
Even in the darkest grey clouds of a summer storm, God sends some summer sunshine right behind it. It’s coming.
*I know many of you out there are being hit by many “storms” in your life, our prayers are with you. You are part of Team Buna. We want to pray for your intentions. Please add your intentions to the: PRAYER WALL TAB
Simply add your intentions to the comments in the post, or send to firstname.lastname@example.org
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God bless ya,