Let’s be blunt: life sometimes gets too “full” for us to feel blessed. Recently, while making mash potatoes at midnight (more on that later), I reflected on life. Two kids—one public school teenager, one homeschooled third grader—plus an overworked husband, a live-in mother-in-law, two rabbits, and an online teaching gig: life happens abundantly in our home.
Some methods of coping with life’s abundance will never land you on a cable television show demonstrating how to make pies from scratch while simultaneously addressing birthday cards three months early. I’ve learned to pretend that our kitchen is at the beach—those little crunchy things beneath my feet are sand, not a reminder I have to sweep.
Alas, some things can’t be imagined away; they must be dealt with immediately. Sometimes they are alarming: a child’s coughing jag in the middle of the night that turns out to be asthma. Alarm can sometimes morph into amusement: a trip to the doctor’s office to have a Lego© piece extracted from a child’s nose (Yes, been there, done that. Second only to the foreign coin of unknown metal that was swallowed, resulting in a trip for an ultrasound).
Unplanned events can be exasperating. Consider this recent late-night exchange:
Mom: “What do you MEAN you promised to bring mash potatoes to your lunch at school Friday?”
Kid: “But Mom, my girlfriends and I ALWAYS bring a shared meal for (insert favorite holiday here). I promised to bring the mashed potatoes.”
Mom: “ I don’t have time to run to the store tomorrow. I have an all-day commitment tomorrow helping with the school play. I’m still getting over this virus. I haven’t done laundry in two weeks and have to grade college papers tomorrow night.”
Kid: “It’s all arranged, sorry.”
Mom: (sighing with resignation) “Okay.”
Kid: “They have to be vegan.”
Hence, making mash potatoes at midnight. Hold the butter and milk for her vegan friend.
Often, the “abundance” in our lives is permanent. My son is the poster child for ADHD—heavy on the H. While I’m groping for my morning caffeine, he launches out of bed as if propelled by rocket fuel. Every emotion is to the “nth” degree; when he’s grumpy or angry, everyone within a mile will know. The upside: he’s contagious when happy and excited, and that’s often. It’s the bonus. Like the gravy on mash potatoes.
I can’t imagine life without the rich abundance that is my children—although perhaps I could imagine one day without them. Maybe two.