The month of May is always a hectic one at my house. I live a very unexciting life as a general rule, but May sends my sense of security and my calm life flying out the window with my sanity. I can only imagine with May will be like when all three of my kids are in high school. Actually, I'd rather not imagine. Let's let it be a surprise.
In times like these past few weeks I tend to perform the most classic of cartoon reactions to cataclysmic events and extraordinary circumstances – I start waving my hands in the air, running around in circles and screaming at the top of my lungs. Okay, not really, but I might as well be doing just that - and in my mind I really am. I like order. I like routine. I like things to be simple and normal and … predictable.
I was the kid who never truly “played” with her Barbies; I spent an inordinate amount of time, however, dressing them, combing their hair and then standing them on stands where I could admire the fact they were perfectly neat and orderly. When I was done playing I put them back in their original clothes and put them up in my obsessively organized cases. My little sister had naked Barbies with chopped hair, magic marker tattoos and roughly 4,267 shoes and not one matched another and at the end of the day they all got stuffed in shoe boxes, ziploc bags and shoved in the bottom of the closet. Based on the comparison of our Barbies alone you can probably tell that Sis has always been a little more adept at rolling with life's little speed bumps than I have ever been.
Motherhood, however, has made me a tad more flexible and for this I am truly thankful. It has been my children who have forced me to hold it together and sometimes enjoy the chaos of life. My oldest likes order as much as I do, but sitting with her and coloring for hours – sometimes outside the lines, but most of the time inside - or rocking her and singing silly songs that made no sense (even though in my head they really needed to rhyme) was the beginning of my realization that order wasn't all it was cracked up to be. That boy of mine only furthered this realization. He has a sense of curiosity about everything he encounters. Taking a walk with him was never about taking an actual walk. Walks with him were about squatting down to inspect an ant trail or kicking a rock or seeing how close we could get to a squirrel before it would run away. He liked to scream and make noise and his energy and love of chaos keeps me breathless. My youngest is a drama queen who can never ever be figured out. She is happy one minute, crying her heart out the next. She is the epitome of chaos, but in a totally good way.
I wouldn't want Stepford children who have perpetually clean rooms....wait, I reserve the right to take that one back at any point. I love the absolute upside-down feeling I sometimes get when I have a house full of kids, only three of which I gave birth to. It's noisy and messy and the sheer mess they make is a part of my life I wouldn't give up for all the neatly labeled containers in the world. If it weren't for these kids and their friends and their crazy little lives I'd be even less capable of dealing with life's little unexpected turns of events.
Awhile back my mom and I were in my pantry looking for something. I was taking a moment to gripe while standing in my horribly clutter-filled utility room. I was exasperated. She said I needed more room in my pantry. I said I just needed a bigger house. She chuckled and said, “Well, maybe just a little more organization.” I sighed, put my hands on my hips and retorted, “Well, if we would just cancel our trip to Disney World this winter then we could started building on to the house!”
And because she is the wisest person I know, she patted my shoulder and softly said, “But your kids will only be this little once. And really, Disney World is much more important than a bigger pantry and another bathroom.” Then she went back to the other room and left me to stop doing my virtual cartoon freakout in my head as I stared at my pantry that had bags of potato chips spilling out onto the shelf below, a box of Goldfish crackers that hadn't gotten quite closed the last time someone had a snack, a package of Oreos my oldest had claimed with a Sharpie marker warning exclaiming they were “POISON!” and “TOXIC!” and “MINE!” and I resisted the urge to immediately straighten things up. I decided at that moment I would rather tolerate this one area of disorganization in order to see my youngest enjoy the magic of Tinker Bell flying out of the castle, my son “training” as a Jedi and my oldest screaming, “THIS IS AWESOME!” as we ride the Tower of Terror for the sixth time in one day.
Were it not for those three little chaotic miracles of mine I would have orderly cabinets brimming with maybe some sensible oatmeal packets, fiber bars and not one single packet of Kool-aid. There would be no fight over the last Oreo because apparently the younger ones don't believe for a second when Abby says they're poisoned. The initials KDH wouldn't be written in the dust on every surface in my living room courtesy of one Tinker Bell-loving eight-year-old. I wouldn't know the joy of picking up a trail of dirty socks, winding up the cord on the flat iron for the three-millionth time or trying to figure out how to get Silly Putty out of a comforter. I wouldn't be as knowledgeable as I am about wookiees and dragons and flying pixies. I wouldn't know the craziness that is dance team try-outs or the absolute joy of burping contests. Okay, no, I take that back - my husband and I would still have the burping contests regardless of parental status. I'm pretty sure of that.
But were it not for those three kids life would be very organized, very serene...
And very, very boring.