Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Climbing the hill

The sledding part of sledding is always over far too quickly, and then you have the long trudge back up the hill. If you keep watching the top of the hill, it never seems to get any closer. If you keep watching the bottom of the hill, it never seems to get any farther away. If you watch your feet and get mesmerized in the present motion, in the crunch of the snow and smell of the clear air, and then--a little bit after the third time you think you simply must look up--you finally do look around, you find you've come quite a ways.

I think that is why things do seem easier, emotionally if not physically, than they did a few years ago. I've stopped counting. I have no idea how many diapers I've changed or feedings I've done or piles of dishes I've washed since the beginning of the week, or how many are left to be done. I'm learning to just wash this dish, just change this baby.

And I can look around and see things have come a long way. D1 and D2 are suddenly almost big kids, able to dress and feed themselves, run little errands, pick up all that stuff on the floor. Not every task in the house now depends on my personal labor. It's a double deposit of energy. All the thousand little things have begun to pile up into something big.

The other day I commented to DOB, "If I were God, I would have given all these little kids to someone more organized."

He replied, "If I were God, I would have made you more organized since I was going to give you all these little kids."

But perhaps instead God determined that the only way to make me more organized--or even aware of my surroundings--was to give me all these little kids. It turns out I can do a lot of things I didn't think I ever could. I can clean up while I cook. I can make sure we keep the floors picked up. I can follow the same two weeks' worth of menus to spend the minimum time on meal planning and preparation. I can sing another song and read another story instead of retreating into my own head. I can get us to church on time on Sunday morning.

I can even do all this and still enjoy life.

I don't know for how long. I have never lived at anything like this level of physical and emotional intensity for any significant length of time. I'm very tired and the babies' biological clocks seem to be carefully tuned four hours apart despite my best efforts to synchronize them.

But I give myself a personal version of Aragorn's speech before the Black Gate:
The day may come when my parenting strategy degenerates to that of the Old Woman in the Shoe, when I stuff cotton in my ear and hide all afternoon in the closet.
But it is not this day.
The day may come when I duct tape all the children to the wall, when I pack my bags and move to a remote island off the coast of Maine.
But it is not this day.
Today I will get up and smile and find that I can do what I must do, by the grace of God.


Carrie said...

=D That's a great little motivational speech.

the Joneses said...

I often think that we'd appreciate our lives much more if we could rewind and re-live what it was like a year ago. As you say, we're often surprised by how far the little ones have come without our really noticing it.

I'm not sure that DOB's remark was exactly encouraging, but it was funny.

I have to say, it was rather refreshing to see a motivational passage taken from Tolkien instead of Isaiah... :)

-- SJ

Steve said...

I was going to offer a suggestion for an island. Vinalhaven. Takes about a half-hour on a boat to reach it.

But the lobstah is fantastic!

Wendy said...

Oh! Thank you! I am going to tape that speech to my wall!

Allie said...

I've been lurking for a while now (came to you through Like Merchant Ships)... I LOVE the re-make of Tolstoy. :)

Allie - fellow grammer snob (yes, I love those posts. They never fail to make to laugh)

Allie said...

Ha! Now you can tell I didn't get much sleep last night. Tolkien, not Tolstoy. A Tolstoy quote would be something like "All happy babies are the same... but all unhappy babies are unhappy in their own way." Or something. Okay, I'll stop rambling now.

CappuccinoLife said...

Have you ever seen that "redneck playpen" picture? That's what I thought of when you mentioned duct tape and kids in the same sentence. :p

Isn't it amazing how God's seeming "illogic" turns out to be exactly what we need!