Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Teeter Totter-A Repost

I wrote this over a year ago but after the weekend I just had with not only my husband gone for the weekend but my older 3 as well, I felt that maybe someone else might need to hear it again.  This is for all those mothers of just young children, embracing the vocation of raising a large brood but wondering if it ever gets any easier.  If you will ever get a chance to get out of the house alone ever again. Just remember that when all your children are under 8 or 9, you are truly in the trenches. In the hardest part of motherhood. It can and will get easier as the children get older. I promise.

We have a rather nice teeter totter in our backyard.  It was given to us by friends who found it in their yard when they bought a house.  Having only a baby at the time, they had no use for this large wooden teeter totter.  It appears to be homemade and it's obvious someone put a  lot of thought into its construction.  It is big enough for several children, the pivot point in the middle is adjustable so that different sized kids can play together.  In short, I am very glad Alan tossed it in the back of the van and brought it home.
Every time I see a group of kids playing on the teeter totter, I am reminded of a picture often used to describe the job of parenting a large family: that teeter totter.  You see, when you have a house chock full of young children, you are on the heavy end of the teeter totter.  You are the only one available to pull those kids up.  The only one around to buckle car seats, zip coats, hold hands in parking lots, change a diaper, make lunch, kiss a scraped knee, comfort a scared toddler, rock the sick baby to sleep.  But as your kids grow, the teeter totter starts to change.  Suddenly you have help.  You look around you and realize you have children sitting next to you on that other end of the teeter totter.  You have a wonderful group of older siblings who naturally reach down for that hand in the parking lot, a favored buddy that the crying toddler naturally runs to when he bumps his head, someone else available to make lunch, a willing volunteer to sit and rock that sick baby.  And slowly you find that the burdens of raising a large group of children are being lifted off your shoulders.  You are now starting to spend more time on the light end of the teeter totter.

Today I was able to go out with just my littlest one to pick up a birthday present for our soon-to-be three-year-old.  Even though my oldest child is still in bed recovering from whatever sickness struck our house this weekend, I was able to leave the other children in the hands of the second oldest.  Yes, it is likely that all the kids did while I was gone was sit in front of the tv and zone out.  But I didn't have to wait for Dad to get home from work to go birthday shopping.  When I came home, the preschoolers were napping, the lunch dishes were in the sink, the kitchen table had been cleared.  No, things were not perfect but the house had not fallen in on itself either.  I walked in (after twisting my ankle checking the mail) and was able to ask the children to help get the baby out of the van, get the box out of the back and help put the new toy together.  And then I was able to sit back and watch the pure excitement on the faces of the older children as they watched the younger ones enjoy the toy they had built for them.  Yes, I am on the other end of that teeter totter now.  And yes, I feel incredibly blessed.


Dirtdartwife said...

I *love* watching how the younger ones reach for their older siblings. Oh the joy, the love, the trust! Even though the little ones know "OK, mama is right there... but here's sissy!!!" They just seem to TRUST. And it's so beautiful to watch!

Makes my heart sing. Kind of bittersweet though because I know it won't be long before I watch my older children being reached for by their own children.

We are so blessed.

Anne said...

This is so beautiful! Still in the trenches over here, but you just gave me a glimpse of what life will eventually become...
Thank you for the ray of hope!