I woke up this morning with the weight of Owen heavy on my legs, Sam's head underneath my hand, and Hannah's leg flung up on the couch next to my head. Eli was on the floor next to the couch as well, so I had all four kids within arm's reach or closer. There are days, too many of them, when this kind of closeness weighs heavy on me; it is difficult to be the primary source of security and stability for four other people, knowing that they look to me for everything. The basics, of course, like food and clothes and money for the movies, but for safety and guidance and emotional security and love. The other night when Owen was ill, Hannah lumbered into the bedroom after me, carting all of her blankets, too nervous yet to sleep in a room without me. I inwardly sighed, thinking nasty thoughts about not having had more than an hour to myself in the last going-on-three-weeks and resigning myself to being up all night, either with Owen fussing or Hannah waking me up at the slightest noise.
Yet this morning, I felt grateful for the very things that are such a burden sometimes. I know that finally getting a decent night's sleep had something to do with it-I slept for a full, uninterrupted 6 hours of sleep, which is far better than anything I have been able to get thus far-but it is more than that. My kids not only love me, but they trust me. They seek me out in the night when they are ill or afraid or lonely, and as difficult and emotionally trying as it might be, I would not change any of it. I would not change the fact that my 15 year old daughter would rather be with us at home than with her friends. I would not change the fact that all of the kids have other adults in their lives whom they trust and can rely on, but at the end of the day it is mom they want.
I know I come across sometimes as a whiny drama queen who is never happy, but really, that is far from the case. I had a comment about this blog being like a soap opera, and while I know that her comment was not AT ALL intended to be a criticism, it made me rethink some of the things I post sometimes. I am not going to change anything, not at all-but I realize that while everything I post is honest and true and very real, there is a greater number of things that I don't post about; I am guilty of not wanting to come across as the sappy, sticky-sweet, life is perfect mommy blogger, because God knows it isn't. At the same time, I think I sometimes appear to hate my kids or resent them, which isn't the case either. I think the reality is that some days really suck and I won't lie about that, but other days are really, really good.
Owen is feeling better, we had a good night's sleep, and now it is time to get serious about getting things ready for the trip. I strictly forbade the kids from wearing any of their new clothes before the trip, so we can at least get those packed up. I have to go to the grocery store tonight to pick up snack items, water, soda, lunch stuff to pack in the cooler (yeah, yeah, I am cheap-we will be those Joad-like people sitting at the rest area eating sandwiches and playing in the dirt. Sue me.), etc... tomorrow night I have to take the car in after work to be washed and waxed and the tires rotated, and then on Friday evening we will start loading the car in preparation for leaving Saturday morning. The kids last night were saying, "Well, now that Owen isn't feeling better, can't you just call in sick for the next three days and we can go now?" Ha, I wish. The excitement level is high and the days are dragging by, but at the same time, I don't think the kids have any real idea how much work is involved in getting a family of five actually ready and out the door. I should have started last week-three days isn't enough.
And to those of you who have asked, the house will be watched while we are gone. Steve is going to be there twice a day to feed the animals, the neighbors know I am going to be gone, and I am going to call the police station on Friday morning and let them know the house will be empty. There isn't really anything else I can do; Steve finished fixing the gate last night so I was hoping to be able to unchain Mama dog and let her run free in the yard, but the bitch is an escape artist; I still don't know how she got out, but I looked over to the neighbor's yard and she and the pup were lounging under their tree chewing on unripe apples. With hope, I can CATCH her getting out and try to fix the problem before we leave.