Our family life is such a hotbed of activity (polite way of saying circus side-show) that we don’t go too long without hearing the comment, “I don’t know how you do it!”
To which I always want to respond…..
I. Am. Not.
Not doing ‘It‘ that is.
My assumption is that their definition of ‘it’ is that I possess some semblance of order in our home. Or that we manage to have a scrap of control. Or that we are raising four kids and working full time jobs and maintaining a smooth status.
To all of the aforementioned notions I give a hearty chuckle.
We are a six man wrecking crew. A family of unorthodox superheroes, if you will. “Interrupting peaceful scenes wherever they go. Leaping tall stacks of dirty laundry in a single bound. It’s a bird, a plane….no, it’s my family!!!!”
And truthfully, I’ve gained some comfort with that scenario. When things are rolling along too smoothly, I tend to get a little nervous.
Try as we might, we don’t do ‘normal’ well. It is times when we feel we have the best grip on normalcy that things quickly erode into a parenting horror film.
There are too many examples to list. In fact, there might not be enough of the great world wide web to document them all. But for the sake of making a point, let me throw out a few:
-Have you ever lost a child? Or feared you lost a child? The experience is undoubtedly one of the most frightening incidents I’ve had as an adult.
We were having a grand time at Disney World when our three-year old chose to hide among the endless rows of stroller parking outside a popular attraction. She apparently found our panic to be hilarious and chose to stay hidden for quite a while (likely only four or five minutes but long enough for Disney personnel to note our flailing and join in our search) before popping out from behind a jogging stroller like some insane jack-in-the box.
I wanted to leave her there.
Right there outside of Nemo’s ride. And I wanted to scream, “Good luck, kid! Find yourself a nice family and head back home in THEIR minivan because I’m out!” (Of course this thought came only after I had a chance to hug, squeeze and check to make sure she was completely and utterly unharmed.)
– Bodily injury. I know we’ve ALL suffered through a child getting injured. And with multiple offspring, I shouldn’t have been surprised when one ended up with a broken bone. However, having the same child break the SAME arm twice in a year…..requiring surgery the second time…. does make you reevaluate your parenting skills.
And pray that CPS doesn’t have you on some watch list for neglectful parents….
-Have you ever had to call Poison Control?
Three times in one summer?
Ummmm, yeah, me either.
I give you these examples because prior to each of these moments my husband and I were breathing easy, letting down our guard, feeling good about our situation. Really basking in the glow of this ‘four-kid-gig-ain’t-got-nothin’-on-us’ attitude.
From now on, when I feel that smugness coming on, I’m going to slap myself and grab an extinguisher. Because something will likely soon be on fire.
Now I will leave you with a photo. A snippet from last Sunday evening. A gorgeous, laid-back summer day filled with church, lunch at a favorite restaurant and lots of time at the pool. I was feeling good. Smug. Cocky about our relaxed day.
Feeling so satisfied with myself and our pleasant afternoon, I continued my smugness while I prepped dinner. Ok, ok….Using the word prepped might be a stretch since I was reheating leftovers.
Regardless, I planned to empty the last 48 hours worth of food from our fridge. And I loved it. I was making space, avoiding waste, teaching lessons in gratitude. I was all focused on making my kids eat leftovers and reminding them about people in foreign countries who don’t have enough food. I was a regular Sally Struthers, saving third world nations one leftover quesadilla at a time. (See pre-fire recipe here.)
But somewhere in my leftover food prep excitement, the smugness came to a screeching halt.
After my dear spouse snapped a pic for posterity’s sake, we raced to open all windows and clear the house of smoke. (I should note that the food item on fire kept burning for quite some time. I will likely need to do another post in future weeks about healthy eating and avoiding foods that are clearly made solely of lighter fluid.)
But I digress….As I cleaned the….ummmm…..charbroiled goodness, a rubber ball came whizzing above my head.
Please note this was no ordinary ball but rather some super charged bouncy ball clearly marked with stickers stating it could bounce up to 75 feet.
Which it would have.
Had it not hit the fan.
Which was on high-speed.
One second it was in the family room and the next it was careening towards the kitchen at 80 mph, narrowly missing me, bouncing off the cabinets and ricocheting across the countertops.
Thankfully it didn’t hit the pile of now charred food or we would’ve added flaming rubber to the clean up.
(Sponsor link below should you wish to purchase your very own bouncy ball. At your own risk. Fan owners beware.)
And the house which had moments earlier been oddly calm quickly returned to what we know as normal. We were back on our axis. Running at our typical, fire starting, noise making, rubber ball bouncing pace.
And all felt right with the world.
At the end of the day, I will readily admit I’m nowhere near doing the normal version of ‘it’. But normal is relative, right? And really just a setting on the washing machine.
So for the moment, I’ll rest easy knowing we are doing a really good job of our own brand of normal.
The “911, what is your emergency?” brand.
Keep your friends close and your extinguishers closer, my friends.
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