I have to get out of the house these days so that people can flock in to view the new "rental". It is really annoying. I pay a huge rent and I have to let people come in to see the house. It kind of makes no sense to me. Realtors and people come to the door daily without calling first. This happened today, of course. I was just finishing up school with the boys and they were having their break. The house was a mess because they were playing Lord of the Rings or something by the couch. I had hardly picked up from lunch. The door bell rings right in the middle of havoc time. I couldn't believe it. The realtor peeks her head in the door I open.
"We didn't call first," she says.

"No, you didn't," I say with a little wince on my face.

"Do you mind if we come inside and take a look?"

"No," (a child squeals), " I don't mind. Just know that there is a mess and I have kids everywhere."

"Oh, that's ok, don't worry about it. We don't mind!" she says.

Then it happened again tonight. Same thing. This time I was prepared because someone came (after they called ahead of time, thank you!) and the house was still in an ordered shape by then. I don't know if I will be able to do a whole month of this. This is already getting really old. It is a total disruption and I have PAID money to live here in peace. I already have to put the kids to bed after eight so that people can feel free to ring my doorbell and waltz right in and feel comfortable while doing it. It would be a little strange if I had them in bed already. "Oh, it's ok, she's asleep, just take a peek real quick!"

So, with all this in mind, I went to Trader Joe's again with the kids today to kill time. An employee that is there all the time looked at me in the face and shook his head. "Weren't you here yesterday?" he asks.
"Yeah, I forgot to buy something," I say to him. He shakes his head again and walks away. Usually the TJ people are really cool---I mean, I think that guy is ok, but I must have annoyed him by showing up two days in a row. I actually did not want to go to TJ's, but my youngest son wanted these cookies there and I thought that I would go and get them (he tried the demo yesterday and loved them) to kill time if I had to. Well, I had to kill time.

In the car, my little now recovering biffed-up daughter had the window rolled down. Dear Sir took the power window car, so I had the do-it-yourself-car. So, that means, when the window gets rolled down by a kid I have to beg them to roll it back up. I have no authority on that when I am driving. I often tell them when I am driving that if they do not stop screaming, kicking, touching each other and whining, etc, I will most likely crash and we will all be sorry because we will be dead. So, the little girl had the window rolled down. She was flinging her arm out, waving it around.
My oldest says, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't put your arm out like that, you might regret it."

So my daughter says, "What? I am just waving at Jesus!" She waves over and over, looking up toward the sun.

My oldest son says quite theologically, "Come on, you have to know that Jesus does not live in the sky or on the sun! We have talked about this already! We just can't see Him, okay?"

She shrugs him off and continues to wave.

We got the call again shortly after we arrived home to go kill more time. I decided that we would go to the lake down the street by the apartments and feed the ducks some old bread. The boys were very reluctant to go and my girl was totally willing since she loves to feed ducks. I dragged them out somehow. My oldest brought his huge stick to ward off the bugs (plus I sprayed his "Off!" on him too) and we were good to go. We found one duck and then went to the other side of the lake to find two more adult ducks and four baby ducklings. We feed this hissing birds by throwing the bread at them. The boys thought that they could catch fish. My oldest said that he should spear them with his stick and get this, "bring them home for sup," but I told him that it is impossible to do that. Everything was serene until we starting walking home. First, I stepped on my daughter's injured toe. While that was going on, my son saw the biggest bee of his life and screamed like a banshee. Of course that made me jump, and caused me to be very irritated and then he started crying because he was convinced that all the insects in the world were after him. He started screaming (and I mean screaming) and crying (real, wet terrified tears) and I had to somehow get him back to earth. He totally panics. He says crazy stuff like, "the bees all hate me!" and "I am never going outside again!" "this is hell to me!" " this is the worst day of my life!" It goes on and on. He goes from one extreme to the other until I can't even be mad anymore about it. It is almost pitiful.

Here is my favorite quote from him today: "I'm never going to live this through!"

When teaching my oldest his math he said to me (after studying my face), "You have wrinkles. Around your mouth. I heard that it's from laughing. You never laugh, Mom."

I find that I do hardly ever laugh around them. Boy, do I need to change.
To be honest, I have reasons why I don't laugh very much. I am afraid to. I am afraid that if I let down my guard they will not obey me. I am afraid that they will not take me seriously. I don't know why that would make any difference to them or me, but it is some inhibition I have. I think my mother was the same way. That is not a good thing. I know the solution of "just laughing" seems easy, but it is really not that easy for me. I am a very serious person usually. Introverted too. I prefer thinking over talking. I really, don't know why the heck I am writing this. I know for a fact that the times that the kids do see me carefree and laughing is when Dear Sir is home. I notice the change in myself immediately and I get so used to it that it does not even phase me anymore. It turns into life and then it turns into "that is just life." I hope to change this soon. Tomorrow. I have experienced a child that had a minimal amount of affection from a sanguine mother---when she grew up her mother tried to be different. The daughter could hardly stand it. It was different, weird, and feelings were truly mixed about the whole thing. Of course other factors are in this story, but I won't go into them. They are not wholly mine to tell. To make a long story short, the thought of affection with her mother almost made her sick. I don't want this to happen with me and my children.

I think the bottom line is that when we grow up, have children and help them grow up, we truly find how selfish we really are. We are not those innocent little creatures we always thought we were. We actually get worse and we find new ways to get worse. That little seed of sin is watered every day. Thankfully God prunes it down---leaves scars for us to remember so that maybe we will not do the same things again. I find that sometimes I am kicking and screaming while the pruning is happening. Where is the love in this? I think I need more, to be honest. And not more love for myself, but more for the crazys that live with me.

The most honest thing I heard from someone lately was something I heard from my very own daughter's lips: "I love my brothers, my mom, my dad, and of course, me!"

Fact is, I would most likely have "me" on the beginning of my list.---No joke.

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