I went out to lunch today with my dear friend. It's not the first time I've gone to lunch this summer while you've been stuck at home watching television for 10 hours in a row, but it was maybe my second. You gave me this look like, "what?" and I saw in your eyes that you wondered why on earth I thought it was a good idea to do something without you or not for you.
I'm sure that over the last several weeks you have wondered why I keep pestering you to pick up your stuff off the floor in the playroom, or return your dirty dishes to the kitchen (when they aren't supposed to be out of the kitchen in the first place), or get your chores done for the day.
I know for a fact that it has bugged you when I asked you to do something that wasn't "your job." I do appreciate you feeding lunch to your siblings or even making an easy dinner when I wasn't around. I don't think I've asked that much more of you than you are normally accustomed to.
I'll admit that I had a little guilt today while I indulged in myself for 46 minutes of uninterrupted "me" time with my friend while we discussed the joys of raising our children, messy houses and piles of laundry. The entire time I had a little guilt because I knew you were wondering why the heck I was going out to lunch with a friend while you were left at home.
Let me explain a little bit to you why I so selfishly allowed some time for myself today and why I refuse to feel guilty any longer.
I set my alarm today for 5:45 so I could wake one of you up for cheer practice. I worried that I wouldn't hear my alarm so at 3:20 I wasn't sleeping so I went out to the television room to watch an episode of The Waltons. I found someone asleep on the chair and put that child back to bed after changing their wet sheets and underwear. I feel asleep on my second episode around 5am. I awoke at 5:30 to find my cheerleader child watching t.v. on my computer downstairs while eating breakfast.
I closed my eyes for 40 more minutes before going to make sure that the next kid was awake so I could take both of you to football/cheer practice. Before we left, I took the cover off the bean bag so I could throw it in the wash. I got another load out of the dryer and set aside to fold later.
I got home and took a shower after moving more laundry that did not belong to me. Then I went to a meeting for my job at church. On my way home, I conducted business on my phone for booster club.
When I finally got home, I moved more laundry then took it upstairs to sort and fold to be distributed back to bedrooms. On my way downstairs, I asked you to do your chores and you whined and complained at me even though I knew full well that you had been watching television all morning. I continued to my desk where I started cleaning up all the dirty dishes and soda cups (none of which were mine) so I could sit down and type up the notes from my meeting earlier that morning. I admit that I did blog for an hour and checked my Facebook.
Yesterday I took four of you to the Dr. for well visits/physicals so you could play sports next school year. That took two hours to get you cleared and all your shots. It was super fun for me reminding you to keep your voices down and stop dropping toys on the loud wooden floor. When the lady whipped her head around and gave me a dirty look, I just smiled. I held you while you cried before the nurse ever poked you with that needle.
On the days you actually got your chores "done" like clearing and wiping all the counters/tables, I cleaned out the gunk in the silverware drawer and wipe down the insides of the fridge. I washed fingerprints off the appliances and cupboards. I vacuumed rugs that didn't get shook when you swept and mopped the floor.
The day you brought your laundry down, I move loads of laundry for you. I put it in a pile in the dining room because it wasn't your assigned day and I didn't have time to sort through it all and put it back in your room like I would have if you had brought it down on your assigned day. I asked you to take care of it and you ignored my request for a few days.
Last month I drove you to football, basketball, cheer, softball and whatever else you needed a ride to. Several weekends, I sat on the hard bleachers for hours because I was the only ride available to you and your teammates to get to the tournament. I paid for gas, I bought drinks for your friends and I tried to make sure you knew I was glad to be there even though there was so much I needed to be doing at home.
I dragged you to do some service for a friend coming home from the hospital and you were so unhappy at me. I tried to ignore it and remind myself that you will be grateful for the opportunity to serve someday.
I forced you to go swimming with your younger cousins when I knew what you really wanted to do was sit in front of the television. They loved that you played with them and had fun even though we didn't stay long. They will always think of you as their cooler older cousins who spent time with them.
I have sometimes cleaned up after you and mostly ignored a messy house most days because of you. You have been well fed even if you had to make it yourself. I haven't had many opportunities to watch television on the big screen because I don't have time to just sit and relax, I have to sort/fold laundry while I watch my shows on the little television in my room while you are watching your shows on the big tv in the family room.
I have taken you to see movies I didn't want to watch, went swimming with you at Sunsplash when I'd rather stay home. I followed you around the library helping find the books YOU wanted when I just wanted to sit and read what I wanted. Don't even get me started on how many times I've dropped what I wanted to do and bought you a Polar Pop from Circle K nor the amount of money I have spent there.
Let's not forget that I have had to go to work in the blazing sun for those free Sunsplash passes,I buy you soda and popcorn every week at the movies and I had to use some of my extra money in the budget to buy a library card at the neighboring county just so I could go to a closer library to ensure we went more often.
My desk is a disaster because you are always sitting at it watching Netflix, I have had to go on "mini" dates with your dad just to find the time to get some one on one time with him, and I am sick of the clutter, un-organization and lack of scheduling that comes with summer time.
But I love you more than all that so I'm happy to take care of you and sometimes your friends. In fact, there isn't anything I'd rather be doing than spending time with you. In fact, after writing all this down, I have even less guilt than I did before so I think I will plan a river trip again with my friends...as soon as I make dinner, supervise the clean up and get everyone off to their activities tonight.