Sometimes, I watch my husband throw a dance party for the kids or play an hour of hide and seek (in a 1200 sqaure foot rambler, with very few hiding spots) and am amazed at his patience to 'play' with the kids. I get either too bored or too competitive too quickly. If a kid takes a card out of turn in candy land, I am ready to snatch it back and accuse them of cheating...that is if I haven't dozed off from sheer lack of interest in such a game. (Sidenote: I have yet to do either of these things, though I am not saying the day won't come).
Shawn has a gift of playing. He can lie on the floor for an hour, wrestling, playing "pretend naps" (oh, yes, Shawn has indeed made this a game and the kids love it...puh-lease, I can't imagine how they'd respond if I tried to pull this on them) he will turn on music for dance time and occupy them so effortlessly. I admit I am jealous.
Recently, Shawn has been working quite late...this week he has not been here before bedtime at all. Sometimes, I forget this. I forget that he has not had time with them. I forget that I have had nothing but time with them. I forget that he desperately wants to be with them, whereas, I desperately want an opportunity to pee alone.
If I step back and ask myself what would I do with my kids if I only had 0-6 hours with them during the week...I can guarentee you, the laundry would wait, the dishes would wait and the garbage could just pile up. I would be hosting a dance party. I would be hiding and seeking and i would possibly even play a game of candyland where I pay attention and don't care if someone cheats (I said possibly).
It's silly for me to even compare myself to my husband, but I have. And what I have walked away with is that I have an amazing guy who works his hiney off and when he can come home before bed, he does everything he can to invest in our kids and give them his attention. I have also realized that it is a priviledge to do the day to day, car loading and unloading, gymnastics and swim lessons, grocery shopping and dentist appointments, teeth brushing and potty tries...trying to mix some fun in between. And well...if dad gets to be the "fun" one for a few hours at night...that's okay...in fact that's great. Because, even if they were fighting and yelling and crying...I got to be with them all day. And in the moment it feels like I want to run away...but if anyone tried to tell me I couldn't be there or take that from me...I would be devestated.
Don't get me wrong...it is definitely a perspective easier kept as I type while they all sleep in their beds. Because if you caught me last night on the 4th potty try after I had put Mandy to bed...you would have seen a mom caught oscillating between the decision to start screaming in a fit of anger or curl up in a ball and start sobbing on the bathroom floor. But after the fact...lamenting that I was doing bedtime alone again, I asked myself what if someone told me I couldn't do it for a week...or more? What then?
Then I would give anything to place that kid on the potty just one more time.
Now mind you, this is not going to stop me from teaching Amanda that the potty is not in fact a bedtime avoidance option. But I am hoping it will teach me that teaching her this lesson is a priviledge and not a burden. A priviledge to be in the day to day. A priviledge I wanted...a priviledge God graciously gifted.