Tonight I was especially thinking of all you mommies who have "a few" children. What is a few to some may be many to another. One, two, or three little ones...maybe four or five. As I was sitting in a pile of mega blocks, Lincoln logs, railroad tracks, staples, and spit up, I was remembering and thinking of you.
And while I have 8 chicken leg/thighs in one crock pot and a kilo of cooked pinto beans in the other all waiting to be assembled into a meal, I thought I'd first sit here for a few minutes to tell you what I remembered.
The past couple of days, I've had a couple of hours of having only a few children at home. Daniel's had to run some long errands in preparation for our Christmas service this Sunday and since we are officially on our "Christmas break", several of the children have gone along for the ride.
Daniel asked me to do a couple of things for him while he was gone and then suggested I take some time to catch up on emails or whatever else I needed to get done.
Tonight, I have 3 children here with me. How quiet the house seems! Although, 9 years ago, 3 little children running around didn't seem quiet to me :). Samuel is 9 months old now and last week got his very first tooth! And by his runny nose and fussiness the past few days, I think another one is working it's way through. He's here with me sitting on my lap right now as I type. Twenty month old Eliseo is going through Josiah's pencil cup and 6 year old Josiah is up working on something at his desk.
While I sat down with to work on emails this afternoon with thoughts of how quiet it was and thinking of how much I could accommplish knowing it would be 3 hours or so before Daniel came home, I soon realized something. Or I should say remembered something...I remembered those days when I only had a "few" little ones and it would be close to the time Daniel would be coming home from work and I would think, "He's going to think I didn't do anything all day!" Between feeding babies, cleaning toys and other messes, holding, playing, washing, chasing etc..., I would be so tired and seemed like I couldn't do much of anything for more than a few minutes without someone needing me. Now I have wonderful memories of those days and wouldn't trade them for anything...I was truly tired but truly very happy!! But I LOVED nap time when I felt like I could actually finish one task completely at one time :)
So with Samuel fussing all afternoon/evening, Eliseo filled with his bountiful energy exploring, squealing, and playing, and Josiah who only stayed home because he was a bit under the weather so needing/wanting extra time/hugs/water/toast/head rubs/back rubs/blankets etc... I soon found that not much on my "to do list" was getting done. In fact, it seemed I get more done on a "normal" afternoon.
With twelve children, there are many hands to help. Girls and boys both who love to hold Samuel or play with him when he's fussy and mommy needs to start supper; many eyes to help keep an eye on Eliseo or announce if he's about to go fishing in the potty or dump out something he shouldn't; always someone around who will help with the little things that really add up over a day...make a bottle, bring a diaper, tie a shoe, peel a potato, pick up some toys, etc...
Samuel finally settled down and I set Eliseo in the play room with a couple boxes of toys so I could get to the things Daniel wanted me to accomplish. Eliseo was very content to play and while he got into a couple extra boxes of toys and managed to sneak the stapler off my desk right under my nose, I was able to do a couple of things.
Knowing that Daniel will be home soon, I went to clean up the play room so I could then finish dinner. I sat down on the floor and made a game of sorting the toys into the boxes with Eliseo (of course, to him I think the game was one of "slam dunk" and it was never in the right box!). :) It was then I thought how long it has been since I have sat down like this to sort/clean toys. There is always a older brother or sister sitting along side the littler ones playing too and they clean up afterwards.
I thought of how often I have heard mommies say, "Oh, I only have 2 (or 3 or 4) little ones and I am so tired and haven't had a hot meal in 2 years. How do you manage with 12?"
And then I thought, "Yes, they do get older and and the days, while equally full and busy, do get easier in some ways." What good helpers you will soon have! I was also reminded of how often us mommies with many children get cut "a bit more slack" sometimes. So I just want to encourage you who have a few young ones right now. I remember very well :)
I was reminded to enjoy each season of life the Lord gives. I would type more, but there's a pile of 3x5 cards being carried around the house right now and still some chicken and beans to prepare. :)