This past weekend we kicked off our spring soccer and dance seasons with a tournament and dance showcase. We are about to begin a lot of outings as a whole family. While logistics often demand that we divide and conquer when kids have overlapping activities, we do try to go together to support everyone whenever possible. This means that we are interacting with people who are getting the full effect of our family of eight en masse and in all its glory. And this means comments.
Some are long-blink-worthy.
“Oh look it’s that lady with all the kids. How many is it? 5?”
Six, actually. And my name is Laura.
But for the most part it’s mostly positive conversation from curious people.
“Don’t know how you do it”. I tried-to-kind-of answer this here.
“I love seeing everyone together.” Me too.
Always a lot of “You’ve got your hands full”. I sure do! Full of…stuff that everyone makes me carry. And yes, my heart is full too.
“They are so good with each other, like their own little tribe.” Yes. Nailed it, fellow soccer mom.
This weekend I also heard “I can’t imagine what it’s like.” Actually, I think you can. My guess is that “it” is a lot like your family, except with more laundry. Let me paint you a picture, and we’ll see.
What it’s like at our house:
It looks like:
Toys on the floor and Pokemon cards and school paperwork on the kitchen counter. Piles of laundry waiting to be put away and piles of books and a pile of shoes at every entrance and a pile of kids on our bed. Smiling faces and grumpy faces. Princesses and superheros running through my kitchen. A group of them engaged in a game or just being.
It sounds like:
The washing machine running, someone practicing the violin, and children squabbling or giggling. The mumbled lyrics of a song someone is listening to through ear buds. A harmonica or someone picking out a melody on the piano or crap, they found the recorders. What’s for dinner and hurry up we’re going to be late and please put your shoes on NOW. Always someone ringing our doorbell. So. Many. Questions. I love you more. Can you hold me? Sometimes, farts.
It smells like:
Glorious coffee brewing before anyone else is up. Watermelon shampoo, sweaty athletes, whatever is cooking for dinner. Lavender essential oil, because please everyone CALM DOWN. Rosemary because someone has been playing in the bushes. Sometimes, farts again.
It tastes like:
Victory when everyone makes it to their practices on time. Defeat when I cave and let the toddler leave the house in costume. Pizza Fridays and Taco Tuesdays and the Mexican restaurant that can always fit us all in and has the staff that addresses each of our children by name. Chubby baby feet. A cold, cold, beer when the drop-off, pick-up driving for the day is done.
It feels like:
A baby snuggled on my chest or wrapped tight on my back. His sleepy breath on my neck, or his tiny hands trying to rip my hair out in chunks. One child under one arm and another child under the other and a picture book in my hands. Spontaneous hugs from the preteens and teenager who still need to come home to me to recharge. Emotional exhaustion because someone always needs something from me. My brain weighed down with the invisible burden moms carry. My patience wearing thin. My heart swelling when one child’s face lights up at the sight of another. Kisses, cuddles, and so much love love love from eight different sources shooting out in all directions to fill our home.