Wednesdays are kind of crazy in our house: first J, our 2.5 year old, has a parent and tot swimming lesson at 9:30am at the local Y. Although the lesson is only a half-hour, I can NEVER get him out of the pool when it’s done, and we’re always at least an hour in the pool, plus time to get dressed again, pick up our 5 year old from his activities (he goes to Senior Kindergarten on opposite days, so he’s home on Wednesdays), and drive home, often having to stop at the grocery store for some reason, and quite possibly not getting home until lunchtime.
I make lunches, I do dishes, I possibly eat something myself. I have a bit of time on the computer, during naptime, and then the girls are home from school, and before I know it we’re getting ready to go back to the Y for swimming lessons for the other 3 kids, which go until 5:30. It’s usually 5:45 before we get out of there. Since it costs a fortune for 6 people to have a fast food meal, when we get home I have to put a quick dinner together (unless I was smart/industrious enough to make something ahead of time to reheat). Then it’s dinner, bath, bedtime. If I’m in the midst of a show, I often have rehearsals on Wednesday nights, too, making it even more chaotic.
So, when I looked around at the disaster I call my living room this morning, I seriously considered skipping the toddler’s swim lesson. He loves them, but he is still at the age where he doesn’t get the concept of dates and times, so if we go, he’s happy. If we don’t go, he doesn’t know the difference. I could get away with not going, get my living room cleaned up, the dishes done (our dishwasher died recently – RIP – and my life has become about washing dishes), and maybe even put away some of the mountain of clean laundry that’s currently residing at the end of my bed. I have a friend stopping by this morning, and I hate the idea of her seeing the way that we live (not that she doesn’t already know, I’m sure, but I’d like to think she doesn’t).
We’re going to swimming lessons, though. I’ll get back here as soon as I can wrestle the water baby out of the pool, and try to tidy up, but we’re going. I thought about it, and then I had another thought: he won’t be this small for much longer. In another 5 months, he’ll be moving into “big kid” swimming lessons like his brother and sisters. He won’t want to stand on the side of the pool and jump into my arms. He won’t cling to me when the water gets too deep. He won’t want me there beside him. He’ll want to do it all by himself.
I know that’s what we should be striving for as parents. We want our kids to develop that independence. But it’s also bittersweet, especially when it’s your last baby. Every milestone is met with joy, but also the realization that it’s the last time that it will happen.
So today, my house is going to stay messy. The dishes will get done, eventually, the living room will stay chaotic, and Mount Laundry will just have to wait. I’m going swimming.