Life has been disorganized lately, to say the least. Not that it’s usually super organized anyway, but it has been particularly amorphous this summer. Obviously, adjusting to a new baby has been a significant contributor to this, but I hate the feeling that days are passing with nothing concrete to show for them. As I think about it, though, I find that all of our time hasn’t been spent whiling the hours away.
Up until about a week and a half ago, there was baseball. Just about every weeknight that it wasn’t raining found us at a ballpark, watching either Caedmon or Nathanael play. Okay, so sometimes “watching” could only loosely describe what we were doing, since by the end, the four or five children who were being asked to just sit and pay attention to the game were pretty tired of it, and let us know as much…in ways that did not necessarily lend themselves to us following the games as closely as we may have liked. I’m sort of torn about how much to expect from them. I think learning to sit still and exercise self-control is necessary, but they are just kids and I never really know when what I’m asking of them goes beyond stretching to being exasperating. But, I think the overall experience was still fun…even if at times it was simply the being together that made it so.
The past couple Sundays, there has also been men’s softball – Tim plays, Caedmon plays with the youth, the rest of us watch. We’ve done this for the past 3(?) summers, but this year is proving a bit more challenging, with a new baby wanting to be always held, and a toddler-girl who has decided that listening and obedience are for the birds. My nerves have been pretty frayed by the time the games have been done, so we’re assessing whether an adjustment of priorities might be necessary. Missing softball would be kind of disappointing, though, so I’m hoping we can figure out a way to make it work.
There has also been gardening. This year, our gardens – much like the rest of life – have been mostly discouraging. Blankets of weeds seem to appear out of nowhere, a bunny attacked our broccoli and beet plants, which had been doing well, radishes didn’t grow, rhubarb came and went in the blink of an eye and I wasn’t able to make any use of it, my spinach bolted in, like, a week, my tulips didn’t bud, and a couple new flowering plants that I added last year didn’t regrow this year. Because of my cesarean (and a baby), my ability to do anything about any of it has been severely limited. Even now, I can only weed for short periods of time before my abdomen hurts. On the plus side, we have snap peas and lettuce and chives and strawberries, plus a couple cherry tomato plants that are huge (compared to our started-from-seed-two-weeks-ago plants) thanks to their ability to grow from seeds left in the ground over winter. And we have daisies growing in the pile of dirt that is next to our garage…though, at the moment, I don’t honestly remember where that pile of dirt came from or why it is still there…but I am happy for the flowers.
Back to the subject of strawberries, though. There have been a lot – about 14 quarts from our garden, plus the 24 quarts we got from strawberry picking, plus four quarts so far from the CSA. Most have been frozen for jam-making at a more convenient time, or to use for other things later on, but some have been eaten and they are so good. Of course, since strawberry shortcake is my hands-down absolute favorite dessert, an abundance of strawberries could never be considered too-much, and even the hours that have been spent cleaning and hulling the strawberries have been mostly spent in appreciation of such bounty.
I have also spent hours researching and pondering math and language arts curricula for next year. Not my favorite thing to do, and I’m still not decided on what we’re doing. This is just really hard for me. I try to tell myself that even if something doesn’t work out, it’s not a disaster, but I know I will feel terrible for spending money and energy on something only to have it be the wrong decision.
The past few weeks have also included me adjusting to driving our bigger vehicle. While we still had our minivan, I drove that, because I found our Ford Excursion with a 6-inch lift and massive tires a bit intimidating. Since our van sold (much to our relief, and our children’s sorrow) I don’t have a choice. There has been a learning curve, but I think my driving is mostly not-scary at this point.
We are also on the home-stretch of memorizing Ephesians 2, which we have been in the process of doing for…um…a long time. Really, I think my kids could have had it finished months ago (and I think Caedmon did), but since I have been memorizing along with them, my pregnancy and then new-baby brain has necessitated taking it much slower in our “official” memorizing time. But I think next week should wrap it up. Finally. Then the trick will be to keep it memorized.
The kids have, perhaps, been suffering a bit from lack of structure. Chores seem to take longer than they should and there are a lot more “can I?” requests throughout the day. But there have been trips to the library, helping Daddy with projects, many days with hours on end of outside play – complete with sweat-soaked baseball hats and mud-encrusted limbs, episodes of MasterChef (evidence that they are, indeed, my kids), and lots of ice cream. Starting next week, there will also be swimming lessons at 10:30 three days a week. I’m not entirely sure that I was completely sane when making that decision, as getting all six of them ready and out the door by 10am seems incredibly daunting at the moment, but hopefully it will bear fruit, and perhaps result in some (or all???) of my four oldest learning to swim. We’ll see.
I have also been trying to go for a walk most days. Up until about a week or so ago, this literally was simply around the block, since anything more still caused a fair amount of pain. I’ve managed about 1.5 miles the past few days, though, and am hoping that it won’t be too long before I can start running again. This particular aspect of post-partum life is always particularly difficult for me. Having 40 pounds to lose and not being able to do a whole lot about it is frustrating, to say the least. Not having clothes that fit (nor even being able to find any) just makes it worse. I’ve come to expect that at somewhere around 3 months post-partum, my body will decide it’s finally time for my hips to return to their normal, not-quite-so-wide state. I will at that time have a horrible backache for a week or two and feel like I can barely stand, after which all of my clothes will fit differently again, my belly will stick out even more (because it won’t be stretched so wide) and I will get to go through a whole new round of frustration. At least, that’s how it’s happened after the last 3 babies. I’m trying to brace myself.
In the meantime, I enjoy my baby girl. She likes to be held. She likes to nap for long stretches during the day, then stay up fairly late at night. She looks in your eyes and smiles for long moments. She is a gift.
And that’s life. Well, okay, not exactly. It’s snapshots of life here. Hardly the whole picture. But they are snapshots worth noting, I think.