Having a lot of kids is really cool. It's fun, it's interesting, it's loud. There's always something going on, always someone with a drama, always a concert to attend, a feeling to console, a new pair of shoes to buy. It's holding someone's hand, drying tears, braiding hair and racing cars on wall mounted race tracks. It's discussing the heavy, the light, the in between and the all around.
Everyone told me that they'd grow up, but it's kind of hard to imagine that.
It feels like I've been stuck in the same years for, well, years. Get one kid through elementary school and there's another behind him - and a few more behind her. I've been involved in elementary school for, oh, let's say 15 years now. I've become, shall we say, a bit complacent. We've got the same third grade teacher for the fourth time - and I LOVE her, don't get me wrong, she's awesome and so exactly what my kiddo needs - but after a few years, it almost seems as if time isn't passing. The same fourth grade project with the same costume that her siblings wore, doing the same dance that all of the others did - and it's awesome to remember that MY kid was the one who flat out refused to dance with the partner and ended up being sent to the principal's office after smarting off to the teacher.
There's a lot to be said for stability, and a lot to be said for creating a solid foundation for my kids, living in the same house in the same neighborhood with the same school mates and the same families. But many of the families that we were friends with in the beginning have moved out of the elementary stage and are solidly into college - some of them are empty nesters, and I'm still focusing on teaching times tables and how to use the metric system.
Which, BY THE WAY, I'm totally crying foul on. When *I* was in grammar school, my teachers told me that when I was a grown up, it'd alllll be metric, learn it nowwwww, they said, you'll be ahead of the game. And I'm still driving in miles and measuring in cups and pints and creating a gallon man and marking off inches, so I feel like I was lied to.
The older kids are getting older, but it's kind of slipped my mind until this weekend.
My son has a serious girlfriend, and she was over. (I really like her, btw, AND she reads here - so hi!) My two oldest girls had not quite boyfriends over, who were maybe, possibly, auditioning for the role, sort of, kind of, Oh My GOD MOM, do we have to discuss this NOW, this is so embarrassing, let's order some pizza and talk about anything else but this.
It was really kind of nice - the girls interrogated each other's boys, the boys did their best to hang in there, the little people ran around like demons, the house was a different kind of loud and it was
foreign to me.
I had nine people in the house, and six of them were couples - and it hit me - this is the future. One day it will be me inviting my kids to bring their kids over for dinner, planning the holidays around other sets of in laws and other responsibilities that are no longer mine.
I remember standing in the kitchen, washing dishes, (oh, hello, tried and often) and realizing this feeling of difference. A feeling of moving on, no longer stuck in the same spot, but realizing that time is marching on without my knowledge, consent or permission. And it sounds really, weird, but I'd not realized until this moment that
I won't be stuck forever in I can't tie my shoes, Where is my teddy bear? and I spilled my milk. I mean, of course I knew it - but I didn't know it, if that makes any sense. I've been so bogged down in the right now of this very second that I had no concept of the future. Which is really super weird to me, as a person who tries, desperately, to cherish the moment and live in each and every one of them.
Sometime, frighteningly close in the future, there will be me and my husband and six grown up people. People who will be adults and will live in other places, probably with other people, and have other lives that I won't be a part of, and although it might make me sad in the future
for right now, it's really eye opening.