The noise is sometimes unbearable. Not just the juggling of six children, their conversations and questions and requests and disputes and... The other noise. The one that never goes away and starts with, "I really should be doing..." or "After I'm done with this, what can I start next?"
Multitasking can be both a lifesaver and a route to insanity. The washer, dryer, and dishwasher running; the littles napping; the big 3 doing school or chores; folding laundry and mentally planning what to do next, or writing the shopping list or dinner that night. It's the standard of my life and it's become second nature. But where is my silence?
Yesterday, when Husband was home ill but not contagious, I went with just Thomas to pick the Big 3 up from art class. I arrived and luckily saw a familiar mom; she told my kids I was outside waiting. So there I was. Three kids safe and involved in an activity I'm not leading, two others home with their father, the youngest asleep in his car seat behind me. Instead of simply sitting still, contemplating the quiet, saying a prayer, what did I do?
I pulled out the girls' handbook and started looking over badges we could do. I could have prayed a decade (God gave us 10 fingers for a reason), I could have said something spontaneous, instead I started looking for more work to do.
It's a sickness.
Saturday, when getting Elizabeth down for her nap, I lost my temper. For some reason, yelling "Lie down!" is counterproductive when dealing with a 2-year-old. After she finally wound down, I went and got my Rosary. She was drifting off when I hugged her for a moment; she started to say she wanted to get up and I shushed her. "Mama's going to say her prayers. You go to sleep," I told her. Her eyes slid shut.
Despite my many distractions on what should be done to tidy their room, I managed all five decades. It was almost penitential which tells me more than anything it's been too long.