More bowls are stacked in the sink, filled with water and random spoons, waiting to be put in the dishwasher -- once I empty it from the load I ran Wednesday night.
The groceries I bought during a last-minute trip to Trader Joe's are piled on my counter. A bouquet of pink snapdragons, still wrapped in cellophane, are propped up in a drinking glass so they won't wilt before I have a chance to trim them and make them look pretty and put them in a vase for all the world to see.
Today is the first day of summer vacation for my older kids. For the next three months, I will have everyone at home with me every day.
Part of me is ecstatic by the possibilities. Summer is my favorite season by far. I love its simplicity and unbridled joy. Summer holds nothing back. I want to do the same with my kids. I want to go to the beach and stay up late and eat ice cream for dinner and use sunscreen as my perfume and only wear shoes when I have to. I want to live in the moment and stare into their eyes and rediscover who they are and who they are becoming. I feel like I've lost pieces of them this past year. The pregnancy absorbs me and school absorbs them. I need a good long soak with my family.
But part of me is cowered by the realities of having four kids at home every day. Just this morning, I finally got the baby down for a nap when the toddler came screaming up the stairs, upset about something that her brother had done. (Said brother was hot on her heels, scowling that he hadn't done anything.) It's been thunderstorming all morning and the TV has been on way too long. The toddler is the only one dressed, and only then because she had a rank diaper.
If my reality wars with my possibilities, which will win?
While I was nursing Kieran this morning, I read this post by Stephanie at Adventures in Babywearing, and I felt it resonate all the way to my toes. Being a good mom to four children who always need you is wonderful and fun and satisfying. But it's tiring and the cycle never stops and when does mom get a chance to breathe?
In the middle of making dinner today, I'd take breaks to fill water balloons at the kitchen sink. My plan is to stockpile them at night, so that the kids have plenty for the next day. But these water balloons, I carried in my shirt, and brought them outside where the kids were playing. And I grabbed my camera and snapped this photo and then SNAP! one of the balloons burst and I gasped! Soaked, cold splashed through my skirt, to my feet. It was like my water broke, literally.That is a good mom.
The kids were surprised, too, and then we all started laughing. I rung out my tank top. They tossed the other balloons and within about four seconds all of them had burst.
Something needed to break today. And I'm glad it wasn't me.
I want to be a good mom everyday -- but especially this summer.
Time to tear the wrapping off the snapdragons and trim their stems and get those heavy pink blossoms a fresh drink. Wilted flowers should not be.