Life can be a funny thing and with a house full of little people, one might expect to have to call poison control. Of course, you would think it would be because one of the kids have ingested or inhaled some harmful substance, not because their mother accidentally ate dishwasher detergent or thought it would be okay to vacuum powdered bug killer.
Just for the record, I really did ingest dishwasher detergent by accident a few years ago and I did actually call poison control. I was fine and drank lots of water. Fortunately, it was a small amount and the water helped it not burn my throat. Naturally, Ken and the kids still ask from time to time if I would prefer a little dishwasher detergent for a snack.
Of course yesterday, Ken and I cleaned out the laundry room. Before I put everything back, I ran the vacuum and seeing the powder in the corners, thought to myself, "There should be no harm in vacuuming this as we used something less toxic." So I proceeded to vacuum, blowing the stuff into the air I am sure. When I finished, I asked Ken about it and it turns out that while it isn't necessarily harmful, it isn't something you want to inhale. The package read something like, move the person to fresh air and if they are not breathing, call 911. Well fortunately, I was standing outside as we read the label and I am glad to say that I was also breathing.
Being a romantic, idealistic personality puts me in a position to be disappointed frequently. I have high ideals of what life should be (difficult to live up to) and then I get pictures in my brain of what holidays should look like and how folks should respond to my set of ideals. But having a husband, four kids, and a dog, I am figuring out that if I lower my expectations, I will not be disappointed too often.
Usually for Valentine's Day, I plan a beautiful meal, purchase small gifts, and make cards for everyone. I set the table with the good china, decorate in red, pink, and white, and light candles. Sometimes we play music and once, when the first two very very small, we even danced after dinner to love songs. Pretty pictures, huh?
Well, this year we started out making Valentine's on Monday, but some of us didn't finish (me). Wednesday, we decided that rather than cook something fancy, we would opt for something everyone liked and the kids picked tacos. None of this was painting a very pretty picture for me, but it was definitely making life simple.
Then on Friday, I was in Wal-Mart with Alex and this is how the conversation went:
Me: Should I pick up Valentine candy for everyone?
Me: Because I always do. I haven't bought any yet.
Alex: No, we don't need any candy. Didn't we make heart cookies already?
Me (spying the heart shaped balloons for less than a buck): Well, should I at least get the little kids a balloon?
Alex: No, it will just aggravate us when it gets caught in the ceiling fan.
So I didn't purchase anything extra for Valentine's, we ate tacos on an undecorated table, and I never did finish my Valentine's. We even laughed at Alex as he passed out his Valentine's in no particular order since he didn't make them for specific people. That kid can make me crazy some days, but he marches to his own beat. He had a point when he asked, "Who said we have to show our love for people on February 14 any way?"
But then I received a neat surprise. My sweet husband, whose memory isn't always the greatest and who rarely plans ahead, gave me roses, candy, and a card.
Who could ask for more than love without expectations?
Parenting is just plain hard work. Not only are there thousands of physical demands which include many sleepless nights (and don't think that ends once they are sleeping through the night), countless trips to the kitchen to fix more food because three meals a day are not enough, and many trips in the car each week so they can participate in various activities.
Then there are the demands on our brain power. There is much time spent listening to four kids (often all at once), wondering about the choices we've made for their education, questioning the path we are leading them down, and hoping that in the end they will turn out okay.
When you choose a path that goes against the norm, it's easy to question your decisions on a daily basis. Are they learning enough? Are they getting the right stuff? Do they work hard enough? Will they be able to function in the real world?
But then you have those moments, moments when all four kids are outside on the swing together, big kids pushing little kids, all smiles and laughter and you realize that had you chosen any other path, then you all would have missed moments like these.
Go here to see a few pictures Lindsay captured during those moments