Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Making Time to “Make Some Time”

"Soup" is good for the soul.
Since collecting seven kids, I’ve learned that there just isn’t time for all the things we parents learn to expect and appreciate in our Before Children (B.C.) days. Twenty minutes alone in the shower, for example. If I have time to wash, rinse, and repeat, I know I’m either dreaming, or the kids are scheming to set fire to the house.

Nothing, perhaps, is so missed as the B.C. convenience of having Grown-Up Time at any time of the day, in any room of the house. We have so many little ears around, we don’t even call it Grown-Up Time anymore—we use code, and call it “making soup.”

B.C., steamy soup was abundant, but these days, it seems the soup kitchen’s experiencing budget cutbacks, with the all-important asset of time excruciatingly difficult to come by—especially since all the kids are too old to take naps, now.

Speaking of naps, I fall for it every time... Mr. Wright says, “Hey, the kids are watching a movie downstairs. Wanna take a ‘nap’ with me?” A nap? In the middle of the day? You can bet your bumpus I get excited about the idea of having a little siesta. The problem is, I always assume Mr. Wright is actually hinting at sleep—a breakdown in interpretation which always causes disappointment. For him, I mean. I’m usually sleeping and unavailable for disappointment.

If he really wanted to be clear, he’d say, “Do we have time to whip up a batch of soup?”

Gone are the crock pot days of slowly simmering batches of soup. Now, it’s microwaved, or everyone goes hungry—if we even stay awake long enough to push “start.” At bedtime, there’s always a kid who has to have just one more story read to her, and another who has to have one more drink of water. There’s always one more back that needs scratching or a kid who needs a parent to cuddle—just in case the closet monster decides to make an appearance.

Mr. Wright offers to do the bedtime routine, because (and I won’t lie, it’s true) I’m too much of a pushover, and I play into the kids’ hands for hours on end, reading The Little Fish That Got Away seventeen times. “Start without me!” he calls down the hall, determined to efficiently and quickly cut through the preliminaries of the nighttime games.

Soup really is best when made for two, and even enjoying an appetizer alone is, well, lonely. So I wait for my super souper to join me as the sounds of “one more story” drift down the hallway for thirty-some minutes, and then... Silence. Success! Any minute, now...

Seriously, any minute... What’s taking so long?

I tiptoe down the hall to the girls’ bedroom, quietly push the door open, and peer in. Curlytop and Snugglebug are wide awake. “Shhhhh,” they whisper. “You’ll wake up Daddy.” Sure enough, Mr. Wright is fast asleep at the foot of the bed.

“Oh, well,” I sigh. “Maybe we’ll be able to reheat some leftovers tomorrow night.”

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