Empty No More Week One – “They’re Moving In!”

“They’re Moving In!”

I am so tired! In one week, we’ve had patriotic homemade waffles (topped with whipped cream, blueberries and strawberries), Toy Story 4, donuts, a late (nine o’clock is now late) trip to Target for lawn toys, and a one-mile walk in the heat to play at the park.

I have watched unceasing YouTube streams of people falling down (very entertaining to a five-year-old boy) and had my personal space bubble completely eradicated.

I have changed some truly pungent dirty diapers.

My house has gone from perfectly neat to, well, less than. My daughter is not orderly by nature, but add a move, three kids, and two college science classes with paper and final exams this week into her mix, and as hard as she tries, she can’t keep it as tidy as she knows I like it. I’ve doubled my time at the kitchen sink.

It’s loud and I have no peace for reading. Right now, as I write, both T.V. and iPad are adding background noise.

I love it.

It hasn’t been easy this week to adjust, but thankfully my husband loves being in the kitchen. He headed up waffle morning while I slept in. He made the toy run and walked home from the park to get the car so that the rest of us could ride home in air conditioning.

I had gotten used to a certain level of quiet and routine in my house, which I love, but we didn’t anticipate kids and grandkids moving home when we bought it. When we found this house, none of the kids were in serious relationships, there was no reason to expect tiny sandals dropped by the door and Lightning McQueen race car tracks stranded under the immaculate yellow crushed velvet occasional chairs. In fact, we’d looked at a house in the same neighborhood; it had a playroom loft and a permanent playhouse, swing-set, and trampoline in the yard. I told the owner I loved the house, but it really needed children in it. Little did I know that within three months my youngest daughter would meet the love of her life, that he would have two children, and that their own child would be born a little more than a year later.

Most of our ancestors probably lived in multi-generational households. Child rearing was shared, as was care of the elders. Children knew their grandparents much more intimately when they witnessed them in all states of health, nursed them, and were nursed by them in turn.

Here’s what I’m learning:

I have to set boundaries. I would tend to do it all. I really would. But no one expects me to. Not my husband, not my daughter’s partner, not my grandkids, and most especially not my daughter. However, she was the baby of the family. She was the one I may have done the most for.

There is a tremendous beauty in watching her mother her kids. She is firm, but loving and has a drive to keep them healthy. Junk food is rare, and encouragement to be active is frequent. She tries to make sure they balance screen time with books and crafts. When I watch her, I hear echoes of my own time as a mother. I didn’t have much of a good mother myself, so I had to learn on the fly. I think, as I watch my daughter, that I must have done okay. That knowledge may turn out to be the best gift to come out of this week. Even better than the marker drawing and drool, is all of the infant kisses.

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