Awwww, the sweet sounds of fall in our house: the constant hum of the humidifier, the muffled sounds of a child speaking through a nebulizer mask, the symphony of coughing from a variety of children, usually peaking around 3 am. Fall is upon us, and as the leaves drop, so does my health savings account.
Actually, I love this time of year. You can still be in shorts and flip flops, but the second the sun goes down, it's yoga pants and fluffy hoodies. You can still go on a hike in the warm mountain to see the pretty colors of Fall, and instead of coming home and collapsing from dehydration and heat stroke, you might have enough energy to make s'mores in the fire pit.
I always laugh when people ask us, "Are you getting into a groove now that the kids have been in school for over a month?" I know we aren't alone when I explain what our daily schedule looks like. It's less of being in a groove, and more about mindful endurance.
Here's a normal weekday in the Repenning household:
Billy wakes up at 4:30. I wake up after him…and not nearly as perky. The kids wake up. Billy makes them lunch. I take care of Little Sass. (This can go a number of ways, depending on her Sass-o-meter. The amount of coffee I drink is also determined by her Sass-o-meter. ) Jack showers. Faith does her hair. Will feeds the pets. Faith re-does her hair. Will does parkour moves all over the basement. Jack eats a yogurt while telling Billy all about his favorite video game. I do Little Sass's hair. We meet up to have our family time. We leave for school/work/daycare. On the way to our various places, I call or text Billy to remind him of his post-work schedule. Rarely do we forget a child or leave them unattended for very long.
I am so grateful I don't work 5 days a week. At one of my jobs (yes, I have 2) my co-workers like to ask me what I did on my "day off". I always tell them "I sat by the pool drinking mimosas". But what I really mean is I did 3 loads of really smelly laundry, cut the dogs hair (even by his butt), went to Costco, went to Sprouts, cleaned my bathroom, and dyed my roots. All this with a 3 year old running around me at lightening speed, talking a mile a minute about everything and nothing, and me trying to engage with her while accomplishing all my tasks. Right about the time I catch up on all I needed to do for the day, it's bedtime and I work the next day, so it all builds up again for my next day off. I swear, I'm not complaining. I love my life. I just don't always do it very well.
The season of crazy. Our kids are involved in sports to some degree, but for the most part, we are only busy because there's so many of them, and we are working parents who desire to be very present in their lives. There is no easy way to balance this, and there are many nights I go to bed feeling like I am letting someone down. I didn't get to a volleyball game. I didn't help Will find a book to read for "Star Student". I didn't help Jack study for a test. And Little Sass went to bed without a Bible story and cuddle time because I got home after she went to bed. This season is hard, fast, and leaves me exhausted.
But this season is sweet, tender, and fills me with joy too. When someone tells me that it flies by and to make the most of it, I know what they mean as I look at my oldest son, and remember his tiny newborn face. So I hold my three year old a little tighter as we snuggle knowing it too, is passing by at lightning speed right before my aging eyes.
All the while my children are teaching me life's sweetest and hardest lessons. When I am truly honest with myself and am listening to God, I see so many more places where the fences need mending. I am constantly given the opportunity to learn how to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I am learning that saying sorry to my children goes farther than a harsh lesson. We are learning as a family that sometimes you have to just let time heal hurts rather than forcing a spoken word. In our home we are learning Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you". Even on the mornings when the Sass is high and the coffee is cold. God's goodness never fails me. And even in this crazy busy season of my life, His mercy is new every morning. Even on Monday.