The kids and I have this joke that when I am too lazy to get my camera and not near my phone that we should take "mental pictures" of things. We hold up our hands like we are holding a camera and we make a fun click noise with our tongue. I learned it from The Office. I started it so I could be like Jim and Pam. But lately I have been doing it as a way to create a memory bank in my head of things I don't want to forget.
I am currently reading a book, a novel, about a family in London who is "in transition". The last of their adult children has moved out, the husband wants his wife back to himself, the wife is struggling with not having anyone to take care of, and the children don't want to admit that they need help. It was a 25 cent book that I bought from the Library thinking that it would be a good "bathtub read". And it is, but it totally has me thinking about things I am not ready to think about, namely: my kids growing up and leaving home. I don't want to go there.
It makes me almost cry to think about it. Yesterday my visiting teachers were here and were talking about how they hate that they don't trust anyone to watch their kids because they are dying to get out and have some time away, and I couldn't help but think to myself, "I don't really want to go out that often..." Because I feel like there will be plenty of time for that soon enough. Now don't get me wrong: I would love it if Kendrick and I could jet off to Mexico for our 10 year Anniversary or even just spend a night or two in Park City over Valentine's Day. Heck, sometimes eating our Chinese food AT the restaurant sounds like a dream. But I know our time for that will come. Right now we are busy taking care of kids and entertaining kids, and keeping kids from getting sick and disciplining kids and hoping our kids learn the value of learning so they can be better off than we are. We are trying to be spiritual examples to our kids and are praying for them and being exasperated by them and laughing with them. All the things I feel like we SHOULD be doing right now in this phase of parenthood. And one day it will end. Sure, we will always worry about them and will forever pray for them. But at some point they will not rely on us for EVERYTHING (I hope...) and I have a feeling that there will be a small void in my life when that finally happens. A void that is now filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deciding whether or not to sign them up for soccer or baseball, learning how to style an 8 year old's hair or shopping around for the best place to find bulk, quality underwear.
So when that void finally gets here, to get me through it, I have these mental pictures stored away...
Myles' chapstick, spare change and random action figures constantly spilling out of his jean's pockets when I sort the clothes.
Taylor's bobby pins and elastics all over the house
Legos stuffed under my pillow at night
Drawings taped up on the laundry room door
A whole page on my iphone dedicated to kid friendly games
Library books about animals constantly filling up our living room book baskets
Video games piled up next to the TV on a daily basis no matter how often I try to keep them put away
Sparkly Lip Smackers stuffed under couch cushions, in my purse, in the pencil drawer and stuffed in shoes.
Barbie jeans mixed in with the human jeans I have to fold.
Empty containers of Super Hero bubble bath used as bath "fart makers"
Multi colored water bottles lining the fridge door (so that we don't go through a thousand and one cups a day)
Alphabet magnets scattered throughout the house
Dead sticks used as Harry Potter wands kept with all the other toys
Hand drawn interpretations of Darth Vader mixed in with bills and magazines and other important papers
A pile of my "missing" scarfs at the bottom of Tay's closet
Granola Bar crumbs on Easton's pillow at night
And here is one image I don't want to remember because it drives me CrAzY: