Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our 6-pack family

I took the 3 younger kids to McD's Tuesday as a treat after Ace had preschool and Julia and Lucy behaved perfectly while I got the flumist. Julia didn't even cause a scene when I accidentally bonked her with the infant seat and sent her flying into the bumper of the van, now that is a well behaved baby! So a happy meal was certainly in order. As I sat down and dove into my quarter pounder with cheese value meal, a kind older lady patted me on the shoulder and whispered "I just don't know how you do it". Do what? Consume an entire burger and large fries in under 4 bites? I'd be happy to show you! Once I swallowed half my burger and smiled back at her I realized she was gesturing at the 3 kids. I still don't know if this is a compliment, as in "Oh, your children are so mannerly and well dressed,you must be an exemplary parent" or a harsh judgement "I don't know how you get through a day without medication" but I didn't have time to ask. Ace was talking (loudly) to his new Marty the zebra toy and he kept saying Crack-a-lackin!" at the top of his lungs. Ace has some enunciation problems so even his best attempts at the word sounded vaguely obscene and I decided it was time to leave.
Before Lucy was born I wondered myself how I would do it. Were there enough hours in a day to meet the needs of four kids? Would anyone feel lost in the shuffle? Would they resent each other, or me? Sometimes I think there just aren't enough hours, and yes, some days go by and they may feel left out and they may resent the time I give to another child. I hope not, I like to think that we are doing a good job at dividing our time and making one on one time each day for everyone but I know there are days when we fail at that.
Most days I am floored by how right it feels to have four. How naturally Lucy has scoooched into our family and taken her unique place as the baby. And how natural and right it feels that Julia is the big sister, the toddler that keeps us all laughing with her unexpected silliness. And how lucky Ace is that he has 3 sisters to make sure he grows up to be a good man. And, lastly, how much Hayley enjoys being the leader to her siblings, what a sense of pride she has in being the biggest big sister. I think of the perks of having a big family, there is so much love to go around. Wherever we go, our kids will always have 3 best friends on their side to be there for them. That's "how I do it", I stand in the middle of what may look like crazy to a lot of people, and I see 4 happy kids who are surrounded by a lot of love.

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