My niece is a photographer, and prefers to take pictures in this time, an hour-ish before sunset, when the light is just right. In medicine, for traumatic injuries, treatment in the golden hour, within an hour of the injury, determines the best outcome.
And for me, the golden hour is in the morning, after the high school girls hustle and bustle out the door with their coffee and backpacks and lunches. The dogs go out and in a few times, get some water, kitties get fed, floors get swept, counters wiped down, dishes done, maybe a load of laundry put in...and then, if the other five kids are still sleeping, starts my golden hour.
Right now the clock is ticking, and the birds are singing, and not much else.
I love it.
I know I should go out and take my walk. I should work out. I should drag out the sewing machine and start the deck chair covers. I really should. But after so many years of so much busyness, I just enjoy the silence. I don't get much of it in the evenings, my kids can out-stay-up me.
And besides, I am going to re-start my walks and my exercise program tomorrow.
Spring WILL come, and I am excited to deck-orate the deck, ha. It needs to be washed and sealed, so that will be fun. Then I am thinking to put some shelves up with the old deck lumber, with Adrian's help. ha, I will help him, that is. Then the four chairs I got from the thrift store last year are getting a make-over. They are dusty rose/pink seats, with cream/off white metal bases. They were only five or six dollars each, and 3 are very structurally sound, one is a bit lopsided. But I am thinking spray paint...and I have outdoor fabric, if I can make some covers...and new throw pillows...doesn't it sound fun? (and I vow to take before and after pics, so stay tuned!)
Solar lights and little potted plants and the little outdoor rug...I cannot wait.
But anyway, for years, a little quiet time was what I craved, and never got. Except for when I got up during the night with babies, and I did enjoy that. If I could perhaps do the whole thing over again, I would enjoy it more, knowing as I do how fast it blurs by. Other moms tried to tell me, but oh no, it would go on forever....there's a line from a Dr. Seuss book I used to quote,
"Could this go on all day and night?
It could, you know, and it just might."
There were babies who wouldn't sleep unless they were in my arms, and there were fever nights with sick babies, me wondering if and when they "needed to be seen". There were teething nights and throw-up nights, and bad dream nights when older kids would wake me up just for confirmation that no, they couldn't sleep with me, and yes, everything is fine and God is watching over you. A good night's sleep would simply never be mine, and being tired all day was a fact of life. The older kids would roll their eyes in the morning and say, "Mom's gonna tell us how tired she is..."
And life didn't stop just because mom was tired. There were still doctor's appointments and grocery shopping to do, and the laundry mountain in the laundry room doorway to climb over on the way in there to wash more important laundry. Ha, I had a washing machine that was finicky, too, for years. The agitator wouldn't agitate, to be technical. I would put a load in, then go in an hour later, and the washer hadn't spun it out, so I would have to give it a nice spin manually, while holding down a certain button, and voila, it would work. Sometimes it stopped again, and I would have to go in and do it again, and there were times when it took all day to get a load done, then Paul would "fix" it.
My days consisted of continuously assessing the situation, and deciding what was the most urgent thing to do, with things like washing the windows and cleaning out the van never even making the invisible list, until the day they not only made the list, but actually got done, and WOW! I accomplished something! Look at that van, hon, I would say. It's so clean! So what if I did it with the four year old pushing the baby in circles in the stroller while the two year old helped.
Anyway. Life was certainly busy. I could have had a cleaner house, but I admit this: I went on adventures. The beach, the mall, my mother's house, let's go! I tried to get basic stuff done before we went out the door, and I made sure the kids were dressed neat and clean, but please, don't visit unannounced and look under any beds. And when I could have gotten windows washed or closets organized, I chose to bake cookies, or decorate an elaborate birthday cake, or make new jumpers for some little girls.
I still read books, somehow, eking into what little sleep I was already getting.
This is why now, I am still reeling from how crazy life was, and still enjoying any quiet moments I can get, yet...somehow, I still manage to be busy sometimes. Anne comes over three days a week, and I have had to re-learn the art of having eyes in the back of my head, and what it feels like to step on Cheerios. And the grand kids visit, and sometimes my sister's grand kids visit too. Having little ones in the house make the house feel alive again, and I have never minded the toys in the living room.
My job description these days is vague. I am a stay-at-home mom, and sometimes I feel like I should be more than that, like I really should have gone to college and should be earning some money now. I feel like I am just in between gigs. But then there are the homeschooled kids, happy and well-adjusted, and it's SO worth being here for them...and in my opinion, being here when those three high school girls get off the bus is important too. Being a parent is more than changing diapers and making food. And also being able to be here to make this house a home: I am thankful for that. Have you ever seen the sign, the little wall plaque, that reads, "It's Love That Makes A House A Home"? Well, what love makes a house a home? Isn't it sacrifice? Giving your time to clean it up, to make it nice? Isn't it being hospitable when maybe all you want is a nap? Maybe making a big meal when you would have been happy with some pepperoni and an apple?
Anyway...some days I do go on and on.