I left the living room to put folded clothes away. I could hear the laughter filling the house as I headed down the hallway. It was obvious my gremlins were running around the room like crazy people. I returned a few minutes later to find the sofa pillows on the floor. Several of Kaitlyn's toys were strewn about, as well as two of her blankets. The couch itself had even been shifted. All three gremlins sat perfectly still as if they had been that way all along. I laughed and said, "What did you guys do?" Alex looked around and said, "What? I don't see anything."
I have learned a lot since Alex was born over a decade ago. I have learned that I can spend all day doing laundry and cleaning and at the end of the day there is no evidence of it. I have learned that Goldfish, when stepped on, crumble into such a fine powder that it sinks deep into the carpet. It is nearly impossible to vacuum up every last crumb. It can be done, but not without sighs and annoyed groaning! I have learned that Legos end up all over the house and hurt when you step on them. It never fails; you WILL step on them! I have learned that when my 10-year-old is quiet it doesn't mean he feels sick or something is bothering him. It just means he's growing up, he's not as rowdy as he once was, and he just wants me to leave him alone and stop asking him questions. I've learned that children can set a new record for how quickly they can destroy a room, but when it's time to clean it up they can drag it out all day. I have learned that 3-year-old girls prefer to be in nothing but a pull-up when they're at home and really (honestly and truly) ARE just like little teenagers, except teenagers are potty trained! I have learned that siblings will fight over anything. I'm waiting for the big fight over oxygen. It has yet to happen, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Over the past decade I have learned that household chores can wait when your little girl looks at you with big blue eyes and says, "Mommy, you want to play with me?" I have learned that hearing my eldest son read to me is one of my favorite things. I have learned that 8-year-old boys really do think about things more than I ever imagined they could and might actually be more noble than most people five times their age! I have learned that time moves fast and you are forced to keep up with it! I have learned that I am raising my children in a world that is much different than the one I grew up in, yet frighteningly similar.
Every day our children wake up a day older. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again." I have learned that having a clean house is ideal, but having happy children and enjoying them while they're the youngest they'll ever be again is more important.