It is almost 8 pm on a cold Wednesday evening in January. I am sitting in the kitchen typing on the laptop to the hum of the dryer in the basement tumbling a load of white dish towels that I bleached clean this afternoon. Please know that when your mother was 33 years old, in the year 2018 , she tried really hard to jump on the essential oil/El natural band wagon and rid her house of all the chemicals, but at the end of the day, nothing seemed clean unless she was dying of bleach fumes.
There is also the buzzing of the small black space heater sitting in the kitchen fireplace and the fake red flames make me dream about the day we can restore all the old things. There are five pair of snow boots sitting in front of the little humble heater, close enough to dry the insides, far enough away to be safe. You all spent the afternoon sled riding and mostly trying to intentionally reach the creek water; your gloves are always a soaking wet mess as you walk back to the house wearing them like badges of honor after a bloody battle.
Yesterday your Dad took a vacation day from work. We decided to look at our budget and plan some goals for the upcoming year. While he was home, he snapped this picture that I posted on Instagram with the caption:
“If I had given over to fear so many years ago, Mike would have taken this photo today and only two kids would be on this couch” #havefaith
My only fear when it comes to having had all of you kids, is the fear of regretting NOT having you kids. In the end, I’ll take the hardness of life with lots of people in one house over the unsettling feeling of waking up one day and wondering what if. Time is a nonrefundable gift and when it comes to life planning, I’d rather leave the big decisions up to Him.
I was telling your Dad that lately, I have these moments of gut wrenching clarity, the realization of the swiftness of time. Moments where I look at one of you and my breath is almost taken away. The other day as I was zipping up your pink puffy snow suit, Emmy Jo,I was looking at your chubby cheeks just thinking how I cannot possibly fathom a life without you in it. The fifth child, the fourth girl, JOY personified. And what a rare and special gift you are, and the fact that you are standing in the mudroom swallowed up by a pinky puffy snow suit is nothing short of a miracle.
My heart is in my throat.
And just last week as you were bringing me the mail, Augustine, and you handed it to me I was sucker punched in the gut just thinking how I could not remember the last time I gave you a bath. Was it in our house in the suburbs? Was it winter? Did I wrap you up in a big bath towel and kiss your cheeks? How old were you? Why didn’t I write this down somewhere?
My heart is in my throat.
This weekend your Dad gave you all rides up the snowy field that has become the world’s most epic sled riding hill, and you were all screaming to the puppy “come on Ash!” and our German Shepherd pup raced up the hill behind you all as snow was falling down and wind was whipping like razor blades and nobody cared at all because there was just too much happiness. As your Dad drove you up to the tippy top, I stood there watching and I would have relived every hard moment of my life one thousand times over just to be standing at the bottom of our field of our very old farmhouse in the country. Your dad driving, you kids in the back, the puppy running behind, the baby napping in her warm and cozy crib. My whole world.
My heart is in my throat.
Today I made oatmeal for breakfast in a big pot on the stove top like I always do, and I threw the leftovers into muffins. I took the slightly bruised apples and chopped them up into little pieces and put them in the batter too.
For dinner I took the leftover chicken from the roast chicken dinner two days ago, and I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup and pulled out some homemade Italian bread.
You all declared this the best dinner ever.
You asked me to write down the recipe for the most delicious apple oatmeal cinnamon muffins you ever ate so that I could make them again for you sometime soon. One day you’ll read this blog post, maybe when you are 33, and you’ll realize that your mother was just trying to stretch the dollars every way she knew how. And that those really delicious apple muffins were just leftovers from breakfast and that really good soup was just leftovers from Mondays night dinner. But when you all declared it the best dinner ever…
My heart was in my throat.
Today we did our math, our phonics and reading, grammar and writing. Today, you complained a little bit about writing (Augustine) but I didn’t give you too much of a hard time because the sledding hill was calling your name. It was the day we finished the second to last chapter of Swallows and Amazons, while the little girls played with their Calico critters at the school table. It was the chapter about the storm, and everyone kept asking me to keep reading.
Today was an ordinary day, just like yesterday, tomorrow, and the day after that and I’m not sure what I did to deserve it.
Heart in my throat,
songs of the day:
“to build a home” The Cinematic Orchestra and “keep me in your heart” The Wailin’ Jennys