This Moment

As a single mom of five kids with a variety of needs, most of my time is spent putting out fires so I can get things done. Those monotonous things like laundry, dishes, school lunches, and what not. Seems like someone always needs something which makes accomplishing anything almost impossible.

Last night was no exception. I bought a ton of plants for the garden I’m attempting. It looked like rain, so I really wanted to get them planted.

Solving the problem of what to do with the attention seeking 11yr old, I left her inside to do dishes and sweep the floor.

On the deck, the 9mth old baby was put in her new Jolly Jumper. 9yr old Athena was skipping on the driveway. With pencil and paper, 5yr old Adley pretended to write notes about his observations of the garage. 4yr old Branch rode his tricycle.

Knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone needed something, I frantically began planting.

It started to mist slightly. Branch needed his raincoat. Adley suddenly realized he needed a coat as well. Baby was fussing since no one was within arm’s reach. She hates to be alone. Branch was worried she’d get wet under the canopy. He worried he’d get wet. A lengthy conversation ensued that we’ve had countless times.

“The water won’t hurt you.”

“It does hurt!!!!”

11yr old Raine stepped out to ask if she in fact had to wash all the supper dishes or if some were exempt. I kept on planting – not with the leisure or enjoyment I’ve known in other phases of my life. I kept on because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Suddenly the mist turned into a torrential downpour. I prepare to abandon my task. Thunder and lighting silence all the children. Raine, having completed her chores joins the baby on the deck.

The eco friendly pots my herbs are in begin disintegrating in the deluge. Still, I resign myself to the fact that we must go in. If Branch couldn’t cope with a sprinkle, I suspect it won’t be long before he’s hysterical over this.

Only he isn’t. “The water doesn’t hurt me!!” he realizes, tossing off this raincoat and running down the driveway with Athena. She’s laughing. He joins in. Adley and Raine come trailing after them. The baby, dry under the canopy, lets out a squeal of delight. The lightning flashes. The thunder rolls. The rain pours down. I plant the herbs. The baby jumps. Together the children run and laugh. It’s a perfectly unexpected moment of collective joy.

There aren’t many of these. I breath it in. For an unprecedented 10mins, no one needs me. My imagination takes flight, thinking of what this work in progress will become – my garden, my family.

When I’ve done all I must, we head inside.

The rain stops. A rainbow graces the bright blue sky. It was a beautiful, picture perfect moment in a life that isn’t always so.

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Athena Turns 9

Today Athena turned 9.

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Every birthday reminds me of the first one I spent with her. Three months after she came to me, Athena turned 2. She was tiny and timid. All the balloons and streamers at that first celebration made her smile and laugh.

I had no idea I’d be with her in years to come. At that point, each day contained a measure of uncertainty. Neither of us knew what the future held. I did all I could to make that one day memorable.

Since then, birthdays have become more subdued. Now that I know she’s here forever, there isn’t the same urgency.

This year, away from the bakeries and friends we relied on for spectacular cakes, I did my best to deliver. Thankfully, Athena was sufficiently impressed.

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While being 8, Athena has blossomed in confidence. She loves writing stories about the animals encountered on the island. She loves to dance and do flips on the monkey bars. She loves to help out around the house – making school lunches with me each night.

She’s kind and considerate. Athena loves to make us laugh. She’s intelligent and creative. She’s absolutely amazing.

In every way, Athena continues to grow in grace and stature. So excited to see what’s in store for my girl this year!