I have three kids. And I adore them. Really, I do.
I also have two stepdaughters. I also adore them.
I’ve got a Glennys – who’s not a daughter, exactly, because she’s got parents, but she’s my oldest’s best friend and practically lived with us until she moved to North Conway a couple of years ago – and yeah, I adore her too.
But wow – what an unbelievable disaster they create. And I have to just step back, and remind myself that February vacation only comes once a year. It’s not Christmas vacation, when there are a zillion Christmas and Hanukkah gifts to play with. It’s not April vacation, when the weather is warmer and I can throw them outside without guilt. It’s February. It’s cold. And they’re bright, brilliant, creative children. And again – wow, what an unbelievable disaster they create.
My poor beleaguered dishwasher is running thru again, with three meals a day, times at least six kids and two adults, and a toddler who believes that every day is better when there’s baking involved, it’s definitely working overtime. My washing machine isn’t speaking to me anymore, but continuing to crank along, washing load after load. You wouldn’t think there’d be much laundry, as everyone seems to be in pajamas all the time, but still. There’s lots of laundry.
And my living room, oh, my poor, sad living room. Blocks and board games, books and flutophones, barbies, Noah’s Arc animals, Hello Kitty and Dora figurines are EVERYWHERE. Paper, crayons, pens and pencils, markers and erasers and scissors litter the floor. I do my best to keep the television off and am actively working on cultivating patience and persistence. Because only by virtue of the two, patience to keep reminding myself that I love them, and they are bright, brilliant and creative – and persistence, by not ever really stopping picking up, a little bit, all the time – only by virtue of those two qualities am I maintaining any hold on my sanity.
This is the only February vacation I’ll ever get with a ten year old, a six year old, and a two year old. And a thirteen year old, and two eleven year olds. But really, this’ll never happen again. So I’ll smile, hopefully, and won’t scream in frustration and start hurling toys into the trash. I’ll be grateful for creativity, and hours spent building worlds with dollhouses and barbies, and drawing for hours. And remind myself that it’s just a few more days until we get back to normal again.