Monday, March 14, 2005

"It Could Always Be Worse"

My friend, Brandie, mentioned to me today in an instant message that I haven't written a word since Friday. Why? I offered the following reasons before the phone rang and naptime arrived and I abruptly abandoned our chat.

1) I have been too busy. My husband worked Friday night, most of Saturday and most of Sunday. (Retreat for the board of a rescue mission, funeral, meetings, church, meetings, and then another meeting.) I accepted a transcription job, so I had sixty-four pages to transcribe by this morning. The weather here was glorious, so we spent a lot of time outdoors. I took the kids twice to the school playground where the boys rode bikes, climbed the monkey bars and ran around. Babygirl pedaled her bike, too, and played on the slides. We finished each playground excursion with a McDonald's ice cream cone.

2) I am too boring. My husband worked Friday night, blah, blah, blah, blah. My big outing this week was a drive to The House I Lust After Love to take pictures of the neighborhood for my friend, MarathonMom.

3) No one reads my blog over the weekend anyway. Well, hardly anyone.

Not long ago, the boys read a story in literature called "It Could Always Be Worse." This is a tale of a Jewish man who had come to the end of his rope. He went to his rabbi for advice. He complains how bad things are: he's poor, he and his six kids and in-laws live in a one-room hut. "Believe me, " he says, "--my home is awful, and things could not possibly be worse!"

The rabbi tells the man to take his animals--his cow, goat and some chickens--into his house to live with him. Of course, things get worse, much worse. The man runs to the rabbi to complain. The rabbi tells him to take out the chickens. Soon after, the man runs to the rabbi again, complaining about the goat. The rabbi tells him to remove the goat. Then, the man runs to the rabbi crying about the cow. The rabbi tells him to take the cow out of his house.

Not a day later, the man runs to the rabbi to report, "Rabbi! You've made life sweet again for me. With all the animals out, the house is so quiet, so roomy, and so clean! What a pleasure!" (The End)

And that, my friends, is why staying home with just my four kids feels like a sort of a vacation. Today, DaycareKid didn't come (sick in the night, I guess) and CuteBaby only stayed half a day. I felt liberated. I cleaned out YoungestBoy's closet. I washed the twins' bedding and remade their beds. These chores, done during daylight on a Monday, no less, were a pleasure, because normally, I'm fully occupied by the duties of my regular life: schooling the twins during the morning, taking care of 3-month old CuteBaby, refereeing the squabbles between Babygirl and DaycareKid, answering the phone, interacting with the laundry. (Interacting! Ha!) ( realized very recently that I am a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. I even make more than minimum wage now, a whole lot more if you count my occasional transcription work.)

We left at 4:00 p.m. for the playground and stayed until 5:00 p.m. Normally, my childcare duties extend until 5:30 p.m.

Truly, the days when my twins were babies seem like a picnic compared to the juggling act I perform now. You don't realize how easy it is to parent a baby (or two), until you no longer have time to watch "The View" or "Oprah." You aren't grateful for a non-verbal infant until your house is filled with the shouts of pre-teens and toddlers. You have no idea how easy it is to clean a house when the only ones messing it up are you and your husband because your babies can't use their hands yet. You don't cherish those monontonous hours until later, when you realize your house, now full of chickens, a cow and a goat, wasn't really that bad before. Working around naptime? No big deal. Loneliness? I could cope. Boring television? Oh, if only I could actually locate the remote control and turn the television to something other than Sesame Street.

Those were the days.
These are the days.
For tomorrow, I just might be living with an aardvark. You never know.

It's all in how you look at it.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

They said, "Cheer up, things could be worse." So I cheered up, and, sure enough, things got worse.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

I read your blog on the weekends! And I can so relate to your story, my house seems so much more quiet and clean when all the neighborhood children leave it.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Threefold Cord said...

Hi! Just found your site linked on Amy's site. I'm a pastor's wife too - loved reading your thoughts. You are one great writer! Thanks for letting me read.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Cuppa said...

I read your blog on the weekends too!

Now I think I could have handled an aardvark, but don't ever let your kids bring a bunny home!!!

Our youngest daughter went away to university - yes university - and came home at Thanksgiving with a bunny!!!!! Yikes! She was lonesome, so she bought herself a bunny to keep her company in her little, tiny, small room.

Bunnies are cute, but they dig and chew and want - OUT! They also poop and pee more than any other creature I know. I thought Daughter #2 was going to die of some dread disease living in the small room with a bunny, so I begged her (fool that I am because at the time we had two cats) to let me have the bunny to take care of for her. She finally agreed and we brought Bunnykins home and set her up in Daughter#2's old room. We couldn't stand to see it in a cage all the time, so we would let it out to play in the room from time to time. The bunny proceeded to chew through furniture, cords, carpet, baseboards - anything it could get its teeth on. Sigh. Don't EVER get a bunny. Goats, aardvarks and chickens have got to be a piece of cake compared to a bunny.

Anyway, we lived through it and lived to tell the tale. We laugh about it now, but I wanted to cry and scream and stomp my feet as I was going through it let me tell you. Yes, things were so much easier when they were babies!!

On a completely different note, I must tell you that I continue to share your snowflake story with friends and it touches hearts. I gave three copies away yesterday to people who have recently had huge chunks taken out of their lives and were left bleeding in the water. Thanks again Mel for sharing all your thoughts and insights with us.

Enjoy today, aardvarks and all.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

It always helps when you put things in perspective. There is always someone worse off than you. Great post.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Brandie said...

Well, thanks for writing as promised! I felt better today when I saw a new entry! LOL!
Hopefully you aren't living with an aardvark tomorrow, but I do have a lot of Arthur books I could send you ;-)
Anyway, it could always be worse, but it could also be better. And somedays dreaming of that better will motivate us to do something great =)

12:40 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

I can always think of someone who has it worse! I don't actually want to trade situations with the moment...

8:48 AM  

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