Life Lately: It's Been Too Long!
This blog has gone by the wayside lately and I wanted to take a moment to update my faithful readers (hey grandmas!). At times I've thought of shutting it down all-together, especially when Levi protests every time I point my camera at him. I've felt like he's going to present me with a court order to stop infringing on his privacy.
I want him to know that I respect his wishes, so I've laid off the family paparazzi job lately (as much as a mom obsessed with both photography and her kids can).
If I've failed my children in some way by parading their precious faces around then I might apologize to them someday. But at this very moment Beckett is starting to cry again over who knows what. It seems like every time he sees me he falls apart. Almost like a Pavlov's Dog thing.
See mom - throw tantrum.
That little brick house demands that I hold his 30+ pounds of solid German-Schulte-Baby-Mass around while trying to parent my other three children. I'm pretty sure all of them have done something like this to me at one point or another.
Privacy Schmivacy. You better smile when I pull out the camera, kiddos.
Here are some of our recent attempts at forced smiles with both sets of grandparents.
The ones with the Schulte grandparents are from a recent visit when they swooped in and did all the heroic work that only grandparents can do, like listen to my kids tell a 20 minute story about a ball getting stuck in a tree. ReJean always provides the patience that I lost long ago and Richard diligently completes a "Daddy-do-list" that Mark hands him at the beginning of their stays. It's filled with things like "remove the rotting board from the play set" and "replace all the air filters". Our whole house gets a face lift every time he comes to town.
The pictures with Grandparents Slovick are from their last morning of service with our crew. For those that don't know, they lived with us throughout the last two winters and helped with all the things. And I mean, ALL THE THINGS. My dad did his consulting business, which he can run from anywhere, and that allowed my mom to be super grandma. Some people hear about our family with twins and say something like "Wow, you're supermom!" and every time I say, "no, I have a super grandma around."
I know I could have done it without her, but I might have run away a couple times. And we would have paid a lot of money to a psychiatrist.
In all seriousness, we have been completely spoiled for the past two years and the help is something we can never repay. I can't begin to describe how wonderful it felt to come down the stairs to a perfectly clean kitchen after putting the kids to bed. Or walking into the babies' room because they were screaming and seeing my mom settling into the rocking chair to snuggle one to sleep.
I had support in the trenches and every time the kids came at me with their weapons of mass destruction, I had superpower allies to depend on. I can't tell you how many times Mark and I have said the words "Grandma Cindy to the rescue." We even have a drawing of her as a stick figure flying around with a cape. Mark drew that.
As if her support to us wasn't demanding enough, we're about to throw her into the commanding officer role while Mark and I leave home for 9 DAYS. That's right, we're leaving our kids for nine whole days and this fact hasn't felt real until today, the day before we leave.
Six months ago Mark told me he had to go to Denmark for a work trip and he wanted to bring me along. We could stop by Iceland on the way.
Without hesitation I said yes.
Then I remembered that we have four kids five and under.
We asked around and thought about bringing them up to Minnesota to stay with family, but the logistics of that just seemed too complicated. So, not too long after we shone the Grandma Cindy light up into the night sky, she answered the call of SuperGrandma duty again. I'm happy to report that she'll have support from a few brave Minnesota family members that are flying down at different times to help, including cousins Jodi and Maddie, and my sister-in-law Mandy.
Even though I'm confidently putting my trust in them, I have to admit I'm getting anxious. This is a long time and the babies are so clingy right now. To think of their innocent faces looking around wondering where I've gone for NINE WHOLE DAYS.
The mom guilt is creeping in.
It feels kind of like the time I bungee jumped in New Zealand. I remember hearing about the opportunity and saying yes immediately (because that's what I always do at first). The person I went with was hesitant and I acted so smug, like this was just who I was, you know, the free-spirited, adventurer, laugh in the face of near death experiences kind of person, that's Mick. Riiiiiigggghhhht.
So I eventually got my friend to sign up and there we were, standing on the bridge where bungee jumping originated. We watched other young people get hooked up and take the leap. I clearly remember one guy who told us he was on a bungee jumping tour of the country. He had already been 10 times. He confidently walked up to the platform, spread his wings, and yelled out "YOUR JOB IS NOT YOUR LIFE!" Then he dove down, smiling the whole way, into the river below.
While I watched him, I wondered what his future would look like. What if you could get paid for bungee-jumping by some adventuring company? Wouldn't he want his job to be his life then?
I also admired his freedom. There was no hesitation in that jump. I started visualizing my approach. How I'd let my arms fly free and look at the amazing scenery on my quick trip down. This was going to be a moment I would tell my kids about and they would look at me in awe. "Wow, mom is so cool." Yes, I was already way past the event and imagining the coolness status that would follow.
But then it was my turn. They started hooking me up and telling me what to do. "Don't hug your arms in. Bring them down by your side or out like wings."As they talked, I looked down at the raging river beneath me. There were rocks, with teeth like sharks, and big jagged edges waiting to impale me.
"Go on the count of three. One. Two. Three."
I didn't jump.
"Ok, again, on the count of three. One. Two. Three."
I didn't jump.
"You can do this. You got this. One more time. One. Two. Three.....
I didn't jump.
"OK. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten!!!"
I pulled my arms in tight, closed my eyes, and braced myself for imminent doom. I hit the water and thought that was it, but then I bounced back. I finally opened my eyes. I made it. I was alive and the rush of adrenaline was still pulsing through my veins as they unhooked me from the life line.
Even though I did it, I walked away with mixed emotions. Sure I bungee jumped, but it didn't feel like it. It felt more like I endured something amazing without allowing myself to enjoy the moment.
I really don't want to do that with this trip. Mark and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage and we're going to be alone for NINE WHOLE DAYS. No diapers, no wiping butts, no buckling babies into car seats here and there and everywhere. We will be free to enjoy beautiful places and each other.
I'm sure I'll feel some pangs of guilt along the way. I'll miss them terribly and want to Facetime often.
But I don't want to close my eyes and pull my arms in tight for this ride. When the flight attendants call our names and count down to take off, I'm jumping.
No regrets. And you can bet I'll have some pictures to share when I'm done.
If you have my mom's number, send her some encouragement. She's definitely taking a big jump too.
Thanks mom! See you on the bounce back!