........be very, very quiet. And definitely don't call. Undisturbed stillness, quiet and the telephone are the quintessential kid magnets. Nothing beckons kids faster into a space than silence and a freshly vacuumed floor. Nothing assures children to arrive at your side faster than picking up the telephone.
It's not that I don't like my children, mind you. I really, really do. We mostly have a great time together. We're loud and messy and laugh a lot and fight with passion. We listen to lots of music and dance and create lots and lots of stuff. We all are pretty up front with what we want, and pretty vocal about when our needs aren't being met. They're awesome people who I like being around. But it's loud and messy and obnoxious and emotional. And there are just.so.many. of them.
So in the late afternoon when there are girls at gym practice, and the baby is sleeping, and the other two are playing together or watching a movie--this is my time. It's the pause, the inhale before the craziness of pick up times all conveniently one hour apart (just enough time to come home, take my coat off, and go out again), of dinner time (I swear to you if there was just one food that they all liked I think I would serve it every day), and of bedtime (which, being a slacker is no big deal to me--but my husband insists that our children actually go to sleep. Tyrant!).
I used to feel so selfish taking these moments. I used to be unable to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a few pages of a book. I used to be unable to just be still- body, mind and soul when I knew there were chores undone, and laundry to be folded, and dinner to be started, and, and, and... But not any more. Those things will always be there for me to do. Taking these few minutes to only do what I want to do, to practice and submerge myself in awareness and the present and mindfulness is one of the greatest tools I have to take these things with me into the evenings to cultivate joy and rumpus.
So don't let them hear you come in....the kettle is on, there's some cheese and crackers on the table. Sit down. Breathe. Be. And then get ready for all hell to break loose in about 10 minutes.
And yes that is still my Christmas tree up which will be up for a couple more weeks, and we won't discuss what's on the floor around the corner.