Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 6, 2011 ~ Day 239
Missing That Spark

Our babysitter is back - the REAL babysitter. The 20 year old local college student that my children adore.

Adore - as in, my six year old son has a massive crush on her to the point where the decibel level of his volume increases 20-fold when she walks into a room.

"SONYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!* EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he will scream, and then run around in circles like a puppy trying to chase his own tail. He crashes wildly into furniture. He makes unintelligible noises that resemble barking seals and squeaking dolphins.

My husband had to go out of town for work this weekend and I knew that by Saturday afternoon I would be needing a break, so I organized a small window of time where Sonya could come to take care of my kids while I ran errands and took a breather.

Thank goodness I'd asked for her help - there were a lot of kid complaints and bad dreams last night; the kids and I ended up with about five hours of sleep all strung together.

What relief I felt this afternoon when our doorbell rang at last!

Sonya amazes me - she exudes nonstop energy. She is so smart and capable, but also really athletic and enthusiastic. (I'm getting a sense of what my son's "type" may turn out to be someday.)

This girl puts me and my 35 year old 'low-adrenal Mom energy' to shame.

It's a little discouraging, actually, because yesterday my son confided in me that he misses his Dad *all* of the time, not just when he is out of town.

"I like you too, Mom," he assured me in a consoling kind of voice, "You're nice… but Dad helps me to get my energy out - and I need that so I won't hit my brother all the time."

* * * * * * *

The thing is, my son is right. We are lucky to have three small, vibrant children who DO need a constant outlet - and I don't really provide that for my kids. I'm not that energetic. They DO need a high spirited cheerleader… I just don't typically have that kind of electricity to spare.

I'm not sure if I ever was THAT zesty - but definitely after experiencing the past several years of health stuff, I've been proud of myself for managing to get up at 6:30 every morning with a positive attitude and a spring in my step. It takes a lot of perseverance to live as normally as I can, especially when 'living normally' actually means taking care of three little livewires who are all juiced up and ready to explode several times a day.

Not that I'm lounging around sleeping all of the time, far from it. We're all GO-GO-GO for 18 hour stretches with very few breaks. But when it comes to that extra little boost… playing soccer in the park, playing tag, running in circles, all of the fun stuff - I just don't have it in me right now...

...not if I need to come back into the house twenty minutes later to make cook dinner, clean a kitchen, give a bath, read bedtime stories, put three children to bed and still do content writing for hours.

* * * * * * *

Does this sound defensive? I'm pretty sure it does. Oh dear...

I sound like I'm trying to justify why I'm not as spunky and fast as our fantastic babysitter.

The truth is, I just feel a little old when I see her playing so happily with my kids, chasing them around the back yard while I smile from the window.

She is 20. I am almost 36. It shows.

(I would like to know how I got to be nearly 36. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was 17 years old and going off to college? How is it possible that nearly two decades could have passed since then?!!)

Life races by so much faster than you expect it to when you're a teenager. It amazes me that I am now 'middle aged', even though I don't have a problem with that. I love being alive, every single day. I look forward to being a happy old lady with silvery hair and lots of grandchildren. (Not too soon though, guys. I can be a grandmother in 25 years or so, okay?)

I was a late bloomer though and sometimes I wonder why it took me so long to find the right partner with whom to start this beautiful family life.

(At least we got here! Better late than never.)

I have this uncomfortable suspicion though, that the bloom has faded from my rose. Grocery clerks call me "Ma'am" a lot these days. Nobody cards me when I buy my husband beer or wine. White strands are weaving their way subtly into my hair, and my breasts seem to have disappeared on a journey from whence my gynecologist compassionately informed me they will never return.

"It just happens sometimes, after women have multiple children," she said. "Some women get much bustier. For others, they just go away."

If I'd have known they were going for good, I might have thrown them a party to say goodbye.

My husband, bless his dear heart, pretends not to notice the many changes time and illness have wrought in me. "You make me look like I've robbed the cradle," he smiles - even though he is less than 16 months my senior. In truth, I believe that he looks even better and younger now than he did six years ago when we started having children… I'm a mighty lucky girl.

He also has that rare gift of vibrant energy at the age of 36, the kind which my son loves and responds to so well. He plays hide-and-seek and tag with our kids like he's just one of the gang. It's adorable.

In return, I've bred him a team of future cyclists, swimmers, hikers and campers - everything he could ever wish for in life partners. I've promised to drive the slag wagon for their big family bike trips.

My heart is in the right place. Even though I can't keep up with their pace, I've encouraged him to take them into the mountains or on the bike trails anytime ~ while I hit the mountain retreat spa!

* * * * * * *

I wonder if I will ever get back there - back to the kind of bounce and sparkle that surely I once had. I actually *did* these things before living through three pregnancies:

I played sports, bicycled, worked out, hiked, ran. I lifted weights. I was extremely busy and in great shape.

Will I ever get there again? Will I transcend the spinal injuries and bacteria and autoimmune exhaustion and get back to having the zest of a teen?

I still harbor hope that someday I'll be the mother of their earnest, energetic dreams!

Until then, thank heaven for the babysitter.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the party in question

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