I guess I’ll keep ’em.

Know what one of my very favorite feelings is? That moment when the birthday sleepover is over and I know I have an entire year before I have to face that particular madness again. MAN, that was crazy, you guys! Nine girls (only one no-show), mostly tweens, all of whom were loud and excited and very, very shrieky. It gave me an all new appreciation for…well, just about everything in my life. Not the least of which was blessed, blessed quiet.

It made me appreciate just how well-behaved my children really are. Compared to one off-the-hook girl at the party, my girlies are quiet as church mice!
It made me appreciate how fortunate my kids are and how much stuff they have – since most of it was all over the floor by the time everyone left.
It made me appreciate how much more mature Gracie has become – she cleaned the entire mess without complaining or whining. What eight nine-year-old does that?
It made me appreciate that we can have things like Nerf blasters and I don’t have to tell my kids not to shoot at peoples eyes or heads or breakable items on the walls or any of the other things I heard myself saying Friday night. Or not to use the slingshot to shoot things at people because it hurts.
It made me realize that my children are older, so much older than they were even last year: not one meltdown on Saturday after not much sleeping.
It made me smile when the new girl in the group announced to everyone, “The two things you need to know about me are that I like to know everyone and I like to have fun.”
It made me appreciate that my girls know who to be friends with.
It made me appreciate that Corrie and John and I are way better parents than we give ourselves credit for.
It made me appreciate how sweet N. is – several times she would run in to the room, give me a big hug, and say, “I LOVE YOU, Miss Katie!”
It made me appreciate how  quiet my own children are in the morning – even if it never seems like they are at the time. Two children whispering is a lot quieter than nine girls laughing and getting their own breakfasts.
It made me appreciate that all of the girls are older and able to get said breakfasts on their own, and that they (mostly) clean up their own messes.
It made me appreciate that at the same time, older means old enough to pull pranks, like put soap on someone’s toothbrush and put toothpaste all over the new girl after she falls asleep. I had to remember that I did all that when I was younger, and I didn’t turn out to be a rotten, mean girl. It’s just a rite of passage.
It made me appreciate the grace my daughter is learning when she acted as if every present she opened was the bestest, and thanked every parent when they showed up to take her friends home.
(It made me thankful, too, that my daughter can interpret each of my different patented mama-stares, eyebrow-raise optional.)
It made me appreciate how many good friends I have, when one of them volunteers to bring my girls home from a birthday party so I can have a few quiet hours to recover.
It made me appreciate the difference between having a fun, albeit rambunctious, sleepover, and being stuck inside a city terrorized in a lock-down.
It made me appreciate that being loud and out-of-control is light-years away from the grief four families in Boston are going through.
It made me appreciate that everything, everything is far too precious and way too fleeting.

How can you not be infinitely thankful for all of that? I joke around, yes, but this year it was a little more than that. It’s so much more than merely surviving, to emerge with an appreciation as full as all that. In a land of crazy, I take my moments of grace when I can!

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One Response to “I guess I’ll keep ’em.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    The party sounds like it was a ton of fun. Yes, you, Corie and John are wondeful parents and you should give yourselves more credit. (I think we all fall into the not-enough-credit category). And, yes, there is so much to be thankful for – loud, squealing girls and all.

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