Friday, August 12, 2016

Day Four (Finally)

This is Day Four of of the Love Your Spouse Seven-Day Challenge, assuming that we are on some unknown planet where days are as long as six or seven of our 24-hour Earth days. Seriously, have you ever known someone so completely lax about the rules of a game? (Well, except for the Chinese, whose gymnasts are NO POSSIBLE WAY 16 YEARS OLD. Ahem. Sorry.)

This photo literally fell out of an album at me a few days ago, and how could I not post it? One of the things I love most about my spouse is his total commitment to being a dad, and here is photographic proof. This would have been Mother's Day of 1992, which Boy#4 helpfully allowed me to carbon date by being three months old in it.

I love this picture. Those little hands! The cheeks! The ties! That denim dress I wore all. the. time! Husband's hair!  Four children five years old and younger.

I was reminded of those little Boys yesterday when I attended the 40th birthday party of the woman who, as a teenager, was their babysitter. Dear L. was having a hard time believing she had reached that age.

"Oh, the 40s are fabulous!" I told her. "You're starting to see your life take shape--this is what you've been waiting to happen."

And then I had to stop talking, because anything after that would just be made up.

The truth? My recollection of my 40s is sketchy at best. Those were the years when I was mostly trying to keep the kids out of the street and vaccinated, and I wasn't always successful with either of those things. Boy#3 had a reaction to the pertussis vaccine and wasn't able to get that shot until last year, at age 25. He also was the two-year-old who managed to unlock the front door while I was upstairs putting a load of laundry in the washer. He was delivered back to me, still barefoot and pajama-clad, by an extremely irate stranger. I was appropriately scarred by the experience, and could describe the scene in vivid detail even today.

In fact, the day-to-day from those years has pretty much disappeared. I remember the high spots and milestones--the first day of kindergarten for Boy#1, when I cried and the world continued to turn; Halloween costumes; sitting on the living room floor putting names on school supplies; emergency trips to the hospital for breathing treatments. I don't remember what we ate for breakfast, or anyone's favorite color, or how in the world I existed on so little sleep.

It was a constant balance between feeling inadequate and realizing that hey! I was doing it so I must be adequate!

I look at those little boys in this picture, and I look at the fine men they've grown to be, and I don't quite know how we got from that Point A to that Point B. All I know is that something visceral makes me smile when I think of that unremembered decade of my 40s.

And even while I know I couldn't do it again, I know it must have been fabulous.


  1. This is wonderful...your picture makes me smile. I struggled raising 2, you all rock raising 4. Everything you've shared about your boys on Facebook just confirms what amazing parents you all are. Thanks for sharing this today.

    1. Oh, Annie, everyone struggles, just in different ways. I take no credit at all (well, except for the vaccinations and bike helmets, which I was a stickler about). Love you!

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