Sunday, December 14, 2014

SHHHH! I'm Writing This From My Closet

In case you can't tell from my past writings or from the fact that I write a blog putting all manner of details about my life out there for all the world to see, I am an extrovert. An extrovert to end all extroverts. I love a crowd. Bring on more people. I always have something to say. I will offer up my thoughts at the slightest sign someone is interested in hearing them. I strike up conversations in elevators, waiting in line, with the people dining at the table next to me, with the person loading my groceries. It's like I cannot help it. I have to talk. And usually at a high volume, which I am conscious of but also seem unable to control. One time when I was about four an adult friend of our family's told me every time I talked I made the wind blow. So I conducted an experiment and sure enough, the treetops appeared to blow every time I spoke. I thought it was awesome. "People Person" describes me well. 

Until I had kids. 

Picture how excited you were on the Christmas morning you got what you wanted more than anything else in the entire world. Perhaps a Cabbage Patch doll. Or maybe a Nintendo (not a Wii - the version with Super Mario and Duck Hunt). Or it was the year you finally got to get your ears pierced, (that's mine) or you were deemed old enough for your own BB gun.

That is how excited I feel anytime I have an hour alone. 

Ages 1, 2 and 4 during some "I am not alone" time. 

I have not been alone since 2006. Back when we had a 17 month old and a newborn, Preston worked about three minutes away from our house. I remember an evening when I was particularly exhausted and was whining into his handsome ear about how I was NEVER alone. He had pretty much had enough of the whining, and said, a little testily, "Do you think I'm ever alone?" (He could be classified as a bit of an introvert and actually needs some alone time, which he hardly ever gets due to his choice of wife. See first paragraph.) I actually said, "YES! You get to drive to and from work by yourself! You have SIX WHOLE MINUTES EVERY DAY!!!" 

I realize that sounds insane, but I'm telling you, that is a verbatim conversation we had, and I meant it. Six minutes sounded amazing. These little people running around have two thousand reasons to find you before breakfast. And when they are babies you have a video monitor on right beside your bed so you really aren't alone even then. Lo, they are with you always. (By the way, I would totally chuck that video monitor out the window now. Why did I want to see them while they were asleep?)

This is how we used to roll. Literally.

I had the privilege of staying home with our babies instead of working because we had three kids in three years, and day care would have cost more than my meager teacher salary. Literally. And it was a privilege. But oh, my, those years are a blur of spit up, bottles, yoga pants, and Baby Einstein. A child was attached to my hip and there were two glued to my legs. Even now, they are a bit older and two are gone to school everyday, but they will still find me any time, day or night. 

One morning this week, I lectured about how we will have a new strict policy on school. You must be 1) throwing up or 2) have a fever to stay home. No more staying home based on a tummy ache or slightly red throat. I am through with that mess. Literally, within 3 hours of this lecture, the school called me. "We have Middle Girl here in the office, and she says her tonsils are huge." I'm sorry, what? Put her on the phone. GO BACK TO CLASS! She managed to find me even from school.  

Or another example...Hysterical child: "Mommy?! Where are you? I need sumping!" (I refuse to correct this grammatical error, and if you tell any of my children the real word is "something," you will be sorry.) 

Me, sprinting from the upstairs (where I am undoubtedly in the laundry room, yelling at my washing machine - see this) taking two steps at a time, panicked by their frantic tone, "What is it, darling? What's wrong?"

Child who is now calm: "What's for supper?"

If I am on the phone, you can be sure they will find me. "Hold on, Long Lost Friend I Haven't Talked To In Years With Whom I Am So Excited To Be Chatting. My child is apparently being eaten by a grizzly bear! I must tend to her! Oh, never mind. She needed me to change Barbie's dress."

My sister-in-law hides behind the coats to try to escape her kids when she's on the phone. But they find her. I try to go outside. One time I sat in the freezing cold van on the floor so even if they looked out the window they wouldn't be able to see me in the driver's seat. 

My least favorite thing they do, outside of throwing up, is when I am working on something, or talking to someone, or typing this blog, and they will stand beside me and go, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." I mean, I am right beside them, they don't even have to look for me, they can see me and see that I am doing something, but no. "Mom" must be repeated nonstop until it garners a response. This will eventually awaken a sleeping dragon deep inside me, and it will come flying out of my mouth at the loudest volume imaginable: "WHAAAAAAAT????!!!!" Pouting child, "I just wanted to tell you I love you." Whatever. That is so not what you wanted, but I feel awful now.  

This week is going to be a time of super never aloneness as we are keeping the children of our dear, dear friends who have to go out of town unexpectedly. I don't know why people leave their kids with us, but it seems to happen a lot, which I think is a poor parenting decision. But these three kids are like my own. I knew that the day I was showering, (another place I go where I know the girls will find me) and I heard their middle child's voice say, "Martha? I need blah blah blah blah blah." I was SHOWERING! And I did not birth you! Go! Away! 

The mass I will be mothering this week.

So if on Wednesday, Preston tries to file a missing persons report on me, do not help him look. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. No one took me. I have run away. I will return when I feel sufficiently sane enough to once again savor the craziness. 

I do know there are people out there who would love to be in my situation, so I don't want to be insensitive to that. You are invited to our crazy any time. We do not turn people away no matter how messy the house or how empty the pantry. We can always make pancakes. Preston and I have determined we will have an open door policy. So come on over. Just don't be surprised if you catch me slipping out the open door...

Grace and solitude,


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