This morning I had an extra child in the house. This is nothing new. Just last week I had 17 children buzzing around here popping the buds off my peonies. And I will haul every last one of them back here until I find the culprit. (Just kidding.)
This morning, Madeleine was gone for the fifth morning in a row, and we had Sarah's friend Meg over. Meg is a middle child too; she and Sarah are kindred spirits and share their loves of reading, giggling, using my watercolor pencils, giggling some more. They stayed up way too late last night watching The Secret Garden and divvying up M&Ms by color. And we mustn't forget their most earnest endeavor to avoid the ever-annoying 4-year-old Gracie.
I had the pleasure of waking them up this morning because Meg had to be at summer school and my girls had to go to town with me.
So in these ways the morning was normal: banana nut waffles to make, horses and cats and rabbits to feed, five heads of hair to tame, garden to water, diapers to change, four sets of teeth (Laura, still no teeth!) to brush, coffeee to chug, books to find, freakouts to be had. We missed Maddy, but in sheer cacophony of tasks it was the status quo.
I hustled everyone into the Suburban with waffles in hand ("What, Meg, your family has syrup with waffles? That's nutty!") and made sure the teacher was present before leaving Meg at the school.
Halfway to town, I received a phone call from Meg's mother, a wonderful woman who is raising six amazing children. You may remember Maddy's friend Liam from his author's event. Yep, that's the family. We love them! We admire them! We want to know how the heck their mom does it! (I'm sure their dad helps, but for the purposes of this blog, I only cared about mom's input.)
So, in the interest of reporting to y'all, right after assuring my friend that her daughter was safely at school, I went ahead and asked. "Friend," said I, "How the heck do you do it?"
"It" being: six beautiful children always fully clothed and reasonably clean for country kids, remarkably well behaved, and usually prompt.
THIS IS MY POINT, in case you had given up on a point somewhere in this ramble. It's the PROMPT thing that stumps me.
I had high hopes. High-igh hopes, pie-in-the-sky-yiyi hopes. (There I go with the Broadway again.)
"Miriam," said my friend, "let me tell you."
"Yes, tell us! Me, I mean, me. Tell me." It might intimidate her to know there are at least three other people hanging on her parenting and tardiness avoidance advice.
"Miriam, let me tell you. It's a minor miracle every morning."
Oh. There's no system? No bullet point list? How can I blog a miracle, much less incorporate it into my daily life?
Now, my friend is a Catholic, so I think maybe this minor miracle is something you have to light a candle for. I'll have to ask. But I'll wait until tomorrow, and work it in all casual-like.
And along those lines, tomorrow it's really really important that I'm on time, because we are picking Madeleine up from camp! This was what she looked like on drop-off day:
I hope she doesn't look more than a week older. I have to say I'm handling this really well. Madeleine's been gone for six days and I haven't snuck out to the camp to spy on her. I did send seven letters, but that's just good parenting. Right?
It probably won't be very hard to be there early because I just can't believe I've made it this long. I must honestly like the craziness of four kids and hobby farm life, despite my incessant resulting tardiness. Don't tell anyone.