A few times a year my mother volunteers to watch the kids overnight. Its quite a to-do at her house. The kids get to sleep on the sofa-sleeper, eat popcorn in bed and stay up late watching movies. Then in the morning she makes them Mickey Mouse pancakes and they take a walk and get a smoothie. She brings them home around naptime and they often sleep for 2 or more hours. She really wears them out.
This is a three-fold treat for me. First of all I get a kid-free night and morning where I can sleep through the night AND sleep as late as I want in the morning. Honestly, this only happens about 3 times a year, so it is a welcome event.
Second, she brings the kids home EXHAUSTED. They have had so much fun and excitement that they take a long nap, so although technically they are in my home around noon, they sleep so long that Caskey and I can stretch our free-time into another movie or even a nap for ourselves.
But the sweetest aspect of my mother's generosity is intangible. My mother is exhausted. My mom will spend the next several days, up to a week even, talking about how worn out she is and how much work it is to parent 4 kids. She tells me stories that she thinks will astound and shock me, nope, that's just a day in the life of being a mom to 4 kids. She tells me the kids didn't go to sleep until 10 pm, but they got up at 5 am. Yup. I know. She tells me about trying to corral the children on a walk up the hill, across, the street and then trying to convince the 3 older kids to share a smoothie. uh huh, been there. Then she tells me how messy her house is and it will take her days to get things in order. Yes, mom. That's why my house looks the way it does. I have to clean while the kids are still here.
So, thanks mom for taking the kids for me. It was great sleeping in until 10:30, putting a glass of water down and not having someone else spill it or drink it. It was nice being able to shower without someone banging on the door. But the understanding of my everyday life is the best gift of all. Mom, next time I snap at you or the kids, remember those 20 hours you had with the kids. *That* is why I am a bit frazzled and why taking a long shower is so decadent.