Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finding Joy in a New Life Rhythm

For nearly five years, my weekdays have revolved around the schedule of a growing number of little people, and I was afraid last week would find me at loose ends by myself. The fact that it didn't, well, that was something to celebrate in and of itself.

My daughter's new work schedule means that one week I keep the girls on Tuesday and Saturday, while one week the only days I don't keep them are Tuesday and Saturday. Sundays the babies' daddy is off work and they stay with him and come to church, regardless of Mom's work schedule. Since she's working nights, I actually keep them the days after she works and on their daddy's schedule because of the overlap in work hours, and that gives her time to sleep, fix them dinner and spend time with them in the afternoon.

We've survived a week of each rotation now and instead of finding myself lonesome, I found myself catching up on some projects and beginning to realize what else I needed to do during the "off" weeks to come. I went to PiYo and Zumba two nights, instead of my normal hurried one. I didn't have to be inside or quiet during afternoons for naps. Although I don't want them not coming at all, and 5 a.m. is still an ungodly hour to be up for them to come, I think we are, for the most part, all happy with the change.

The fact that last week was also spring break for local schools and finally warm weather just added to what I had to do within the time constraints of the week so that when Saturday arrived I wasn't desperate to see the girls again, but I was glad to welcome them back and had plenty of moments of random joy to reflect on.

1. E1 launching herself from her daddy's arms to me, much like a monkey jumping through the trees, when I went out to help bring them in on Saturday morning. She yelled, "Ma!" and was obviously delighted to see me, wrapping herself around me for a big hug as I carried her in. Although she's enjoying time with Mommy, I'm glad to know that she wants to be with me as well. We spent Saturday morning at the local walk for autism doing Zumba and playing in the park, so it was a good time all around.

2. Letting the hens back into the fenced in back yard. The back yard was originally fenced for the safety of my smaller dogs (from traffic and the bigger dogs in the neighborhood) but more recently had been chicken territory to the point that the largely nonexistent grass was totally gone. Our deck rebuild, which has been on hiatus since last fall, meant I could not let them out of their lot to enjoy what weeds were springing up until new fence was built, but on one of those off days, I put up a temporary fence so they can enjoy eating greens again.

3. Finding a super buy on a bigger temporary pool on a yard sale page and meeting the couple who had it for sale. This summer we'll be going from the little inflatable ring, popup pool to a 16-foot circle, four feet deep. There will be room for more than one adult and three little people, without our bumping into one another in awkward underwater moments. Of course, now I have to get a larger section of the yard level and get it up (something to celebrate later). The saltwater treatment unit and new pump I upgraded the old pool to last year will fit it, and I cannot wait to get it up, filled and warm enough for swimming.

4. Finally getting a dusk to dawn, CFL floodlight on the back porch, which I've been meaning to do (is that a strictly Southern expression?) for ages. The light means we don't have to worry about remembering to turn the porch light on if we're out late and can still see to get up the stairs and open the door. It also shines down toward the chicken coop to deter critters and will mean a small monthly savings as we'll get the power company to come take down the big pole unit next.

5. Discovering a nest of chickadees. OMG! Those are some tiny chicks! My bluebird house is mounted on the pole for the above light, and we want it removed when they take down the light. Before putting in a call to the power company, I decided to check the bluebird house, even though I had not seen any bluebirds using it. Nothing flew out when I opened the front, so I indelicately reached in and probably gave mother chickadee a heart attack. Of course, then I had to get a ladder to see how far along in the process she was and discovered a small pile of naked pinkness that looked more like big grubs than baby birds. Needless to say, that means the light won't be coming down for a few weeks, but that's OK. I've fed the chickadees all winter and it's neat to have them nesting by the driveway, even if they aren't the bug eating pair that bluebirds would be.

6. E1 off to school and her two little sisters playing with what passes for peace on Monday after the long week of no babies. When nap time rolled around, since it was a gray day, I tended dogs, then joined them in a rare treat that did not keep me up all night as I feared. Of course, I dozed about 45 minutes, not enough to put a tired Ma off her sleep routine too badly.

7. A kennel full of dogs for the last weekend of spring break! Where have they been all month? My work is either feast or famine and the weekend was feast time. Not only had I had grooming to do all week, but suddenly I had a bunch of dogs and many needed nails or baths or haircuts, so I was busy and it was good. Most of the month has been slow and it's still my income, plus it was great to see people who had stayed home all winter and visit again with those who had not.

No, the week wasn't all ups and I was only spared losing it in church by the fact that I was in the nursery Sunday. When I watched some clips from service on line last night, well, I was glad for the distraction of children instead and the privacy of a computer screen while I wept.

So what brought you joy last week? Exercise your memory and choose to live happy.

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