Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Next Chapter

And just like that, it is 2016. What has happened since I posted in July? Um, life happened. The good, the great, the bad, the ugly, and the what the heck it's December already?!? Maybe I will recap the Fall. I will put that on my to do list. Right after, 1. Shovel more snow. Because apparently we live in Alaska. Or at the least, Michigan or somewhere that you need to purchase a really good pair of snow boots. I'm sorry to disappoint, but Tom's wedge boots are, in fact, cute, but not so good for blizzard conditions. And while I sit and look at the irony of my pool still having a good 8 inches of snow all around the edge, I do have to get something off my chest.

It was during this so called, "Goliath" snow storm that a funny thought struck me. Blizzard conditions and and a foot of snow in Texas tend to make you slow down and smell the roses. For at least a week, I might add. I've had lots of days on my hands to ponder life's great mysteries, or at least think about if we have enough milk to make it till the grocery store opens back up. It was in these restful days that I was looking at my kids photos from our Christmas card session and the strangest thing occurred to me.

 I decided to just have the kids on the card this year, and the week before Thanksgiving this sweet lady took my kids pics. If you know me, you know I love a good photo to hang on the wall. One of my least favorite things to do, though, is to coordinate outfits for a family photo session. It's just a lot to match them all and it makes me nuts. But I did it, and we got all three ready and headed out to a place where we had never had photos taken. Kyle even bailed and said he had a meeting(hmmm I wonder if he was dreading this as much as I was), so I was on my own. I would be the the number one screamer. You know.....Look up, don't touch your sister, look at the camera, stop fidgeting, smile, dammit, smile. I always go into photo sessions with one goal in mind. Just get one good pic. That's all I need is one good pic for my Christmas card. And this was a new photographer so I was prepared to be really embarrassed yelling at my kids. Please, Lord, just let her get one good pic with everyone smiling. So with the one good pic goal in mind, we get out of the car, get everyone looking presentable, and she gets busy taking photos.

Then this happened. IT WAS PLEASANT. I mean, in all my life, I was shocked. Did we just take photos for an hour and IT WAS PLEASANT??? What in the world? My children were listening, getting along, smiling, and being rather sane. I kept waiting for the grenade to detonate and there was nothing. No tears, no whining, no deranged mom screaming. I mean it was purely blissful. Listen, 13 years. I mean for 13 years, photo sessions have been a dreaded, horrible, no good, very bad day. I used to be prepared to sweat. This, on the other hand, was nice. So in celebration for this momentous occasion, we went to Dairy Queen for dinner and I bought the entire CD of photos. They were all so good. I loved all the pics. This was a true miracle. This was pleasant.

My friends, I believe I have entered a new season of life. My kids are old enough to participate like normal humans in a photo session. I did not sweat nor yell. They are growing up. I realized this again when on one snowy morning last week, I awoke at 10 am. Yes, I said T-E-N A-M. I walked into the living room and Gunnar was on the computer and Finley was wrapped in a blanket watching cartoons on the couch. Who are you people, and what have you done with my children? Nobody(Gunnar) woke me up to get him milk. Nobody(Gunnar) woke me up and said mom are you awake? Nobody(Gunnar) kicked me in the face rolling around in the bed. Finley even got up and made herself a waffle. What in the world? Did I just sleep till ten o'clock and wake up on my own free will? I'm not sure I remember what that feels like. Nope, no I do not remember. I'm not sure how to respond. And as the snowy, lazy week went on, I found myself resting in my pajamas and dosing off reading a book. When I would get up and walk into the living room, Gunnar was playing, Finley was messing with her Christmas gifts. Slade is doing his own thing somewhere in the house.

I'm just trying to say that I rested my eyes. During the middle of the day. And the house did not burn down. No kid ate a plastic Lego off the floor. Nobody ran with scissors. Not one person threw a stuffed dog in the toilet. Not a soul opened the front door and ran off. This was a glorious revelation. For THIRTEEN YEARS I HAVE NOT RESTED without the fear of all hell breaking loose inside my home from a toddler running wild. I had to have another adult in charge or I did not rest. Period. So you can understand my joy. It's the small things that mean so much. A mother was able to relax in her home. This is definitely a new season of life.

In two weeks, my sweet baby boy that showed up during the noon hour, one chilly day in January, will turn 13. I will have a teenager in my home. I cannot believe this is happening. What in the world? And let me tell you this....we are totally winging it. We have no idea how to parent. We just wake up each day and hope to make it through with everyone fed and clothed and dropped off to the appropriate school. We love them and tell them things that we hope will keep them alive and make them productive members of society, even though Kyle says that probably one out of three will be a bum and live at home. But we have hope. We just want them to be Godly, kind, honest people. We are totally winging this, though. We have no idea. But we have really good intentions. We pray a lot. Like Bon Jovi says, we are most definitely living on a prayer.

So as I sit back and look at myself entering a new stage of life, I realize that it's the little things you don't really notice, that start to vanish. This year I put away baby spoons that have been sitting in the top of the utensil tray for so long. I folded two remaining baby blankets of Gunnars and stuck them at the top of the hall closet. He doesn't use them anymore. There are just a few sippy cups left in the cabinet above the dish washer. And yesterday, a lady online was wanting to buy board books for her little one. I was shocked to realize we don't used those baby books anymore. I have no use for board books. They are just sitting on the top bookshelf, collecting dust. My babies have already mastered their colors, shapes, and animals. It's just something that has been a part of my house so long, I hardly even noticed they were there. I came across a baby bib in the drawer of pot holders that had been pushed to the back. The monogrammed burp rags are now dust rags.

You just slowly flow into the next stage, without even realizing it. You look around and traces of baby are gone from your house. You never even noticed that you stopped buying Baby Magic. The stroller is collecting dust in your garage. It just vanishes and it's sad.

Then on some snowy afternoon in December, you realize you fell asleep on accident and when you woke up, nobody had taken an entire bottle of baby powder and shook it in the living room floor. The next stage is looking pretty swell.