Madness. It happens every year.
The week before Todd leaves for deer hunting is always filled with errands and cooking and baking and laundry and preparations. This year it was also filled with parent/teacher conferences, hosting boy scout meetings, swim classes, choir practices, and three sick kids.
Then, of course, there is the madness that happens after Todd leaves. The sullen boys who wanted to go hunting too, the nonstop action of single parenting, the schedules, the inevitable sick children. Same thing every year.
But this year was a little different. I don't know if I am finally getting better at it, or if I have learned to accept the madness, but this year it wasn't as bad as past years. Remember this? That didn't happen.
This year, as every year, when Todd left I tried to do as much as I could to keep the kids occupied and happy. New pajamas were purchased for all. Big blanket nests were made. Many fires in the fireplace were enjoyed. We played outside. We played inside. We rented movies we hadn't yet seen. We even went to the movie theater to see Happy Feet 2. All four of my kiddos lined up in a row, munching popcorn, entranced by the fuzzy little penguins. It was actually fun. And surreal. Four littles ones. All mine.
Yes, there were temper tantrums this week, theirs and mine, but far fewer than in past years. There were difficult schedules to keep but we managed to get it all done. We were even able to continue our tradition and volunteered to deliver Thanksgiving food boxes to families in need. And of course there were sleepless nights with nonstop coughing from my poor little sickies. But, in the end, this week has gone smoothly. For the first time I have come to the end of this deer hunting week with a big sense of accomplishment. We all made it through and looking back we had a good week.
Tonight is our last night without Todd. I know we are all anxious to have him back. Our family just isn't complete without him. But I am grateful for the week that we've had.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some blanket nests to make.