Today I woke up to the sound of a trumpet, a violin, a clarinet and a piano playing a version of Happy Birthday that also could have doubled as a Halloween movie theme song. It was all to celebrate my freshly-turned-five-year-old boy.
There was a from-scratch breakfast to make, presents to open, a diaper to change, a puppy to let out in to the backyard, a cat to feed. Daddy is 2000 miles away, bringing home the bacon. But even though he’s gone we still read our scriptures and say our morning prayer (offered by Dan whom I promised could say all the prayers today because it is his birthday). We have our normal scoldings (“You are not done practicing the piano yet, young lady!”) and as usual it takes us fifteen minutes to get from the door to the car since the cat always finds a way to slink into the house and someone always forgets a lunch or a coat or an instrument. Once we are in the car everyone fights like tigers about who is getting in the back seat, even though we made a van seating chart called “The Great Van of Happiness” which doesn’t seem to be working.
I take them to school, say I love yous and come home to find the dog piddled in his crate. Then I have breakfast to clean up, a shower to take (“Dan, make sure Levi doesn’t get into the knives, play with plastic bags, drink clorox, open the front door or put anything small in his mouth. I’ll be out in ten minutes”). Once I am clean I spend time with Dan, mounting his new license plate and discussing the other license plates he has on his wall. He asks me what it says on every one. When we get to the Idaho plate I tell him that it says “Famous Potatoes.” He gets a funny look on his face and starts laughing. He doesn’t stop laughing for five full minutes.
We call Grammie to thank her for the gift she sent. Dan talks her ear off telling her about every second of his day so far. Then it is time for Levi to go down. We play peek-a-boo for a minute so we can leave him happy in his bed. Then Dan goes in front of the t.v. and it is MY TIME.
I write my nanowrimo novel.
It is a ghost story.
Before I know it Levi is awake. It is time for lunch with my boys. After lunch we wrestle. Actually Levi doesn’t wrestle, he just lays on you and rolls around like a walrus. This is pretty much the best part of the day.
Then it is time to pick up the girls. I pack their piano bags (3 note books and 10 other music books) and dozen chocolate chunk bran refrigerator muffins that I baked during the wrestling match. I get to the threshold of the door and find out I need to change a diaper at the exact moment the cat slithers passed me and Dan is demanding that I bring him a snack for the road.
The dog is whining in his crate so I take him out again just before we go. Fifteen minutes later we are in the car.
I want to listen to NPR but Danny wants to listen to an extremely annoying CD of scripture songs set to rock and roll music. We listen to that because, after all, it is his birthday. Tomorrow it will be back to NPR.
We pick up the girls at two different schools. This takes an hour, so in between we make a run to the library and check out a few books. Books about cars, of course.
We pick up the girls. We ask them about their day. They munch on the muffins. Then we drop them off at piano. (The girls, not the muffins.) We go to a park and play a game called “Don’t Touch Blue” which Danny thinks it is hilarious. We make up more rules to make it even more hilarious. We leave the park smiling.
We go to the grocery store. I let Dan get a book with mazes since it is his birthday and since he is aMAZEing. By the time we are done shopping it is dark outside and Levi is crying. He is ready for bed. We pick up the girls. We come home. The dog piddled in his crate again. Boo hoo.
I make dinner. Pizza for me and Dan (a birthday promise) and mac and cheese for everyone else. No surprise there. Grandma calls. Daddy calls. Then it is homework and bed. There are arguments, as always. Naomi is mad at Dan who is mad at Sophie who is mad at the world. There are last minute stomach aches and headaches. Dan gets five extra kisses cause he’s five: one on his nose, one one his forehead two on his cheeks and one on his neck to make him laugh. Will you let me do this when you are sixteen? I ask. Yes, he says. Now it’s my turn to laugh. Syrena gets a reminder about practicing piano in the morning. Tears are wiped. More kisses given. Lights out.
Dog needs my attention. Curse you, dog. Where is your master?
Against my will I play with the dog and teach it to fetch his toy.
I tidy the house. It is my turn for Joyschool in the morning. It will be another wild day.
I write this post. As I write I can hear the baby in the room above me. He is waking up for some reason. I cross my fingers that he will go back to sleep soon, but I will probably have to go up and change his diaper and give him another bottle.
I still have to take out the dog one last time. Is that rain I hear?
This is my day. No one took a photo of me. No one patted me on the back. No one gave me an A or a medal or handshake or money. I got paid in kisses and hugs, and I got lots–and I mean LOTS–of attention. And all throughout my day I thought about how much I love doing this. I LOVE it. I love being a mom. Motherhood is so hard and it is so not glamorous, but it is the greatest job in the world.
I just wanted you to know that.