For three weekends this spring, Big Girl (who thinks she’s outgrown this moniker but now that she’s 5′ 6″ it’s even more apt) has been away. Once at a USY regional convention, and the past two weekends in a row at Shabbatons for school. Last weekend, the all-high-school Shabbaton, and this weekend a day school choir competition (the competition was last night and she texted, “it went well.”). And Mother’s Day weekend, Bulldog went with my mom to Maryland to see my sister and finally get to be the biggest cousin in the room. He loved it, and they loved it.
So it’s been an interesting preview into having one in college. You know all that hype a few weeks ago about how three kids affords you the highest stress level? My initial reaction was that it is bunk, your stress level is whatever it is, and, as Bill Cosby said, “I have five kids because I didn’t want six.”
I have friends with five kids (they went for the fourth and got twins). She works. He works — a lot. She parents. He parents. He volunteers. She volunteers — a lot. And they’re pretty darn cheery. I met them when they had two kids, and now with five I haven’t noticed a discernible change in their stress level. Okay, since the youngests have been toilet trained they may stand straighter (from lack of carrying a heavy diaper bag). And I have friends with two kids and they’re always stressed. But they’ve always been stressed.
The last two paragraphs being said, I will tell you that these weekends, with a third fewer children to schedule, transport, worry about and worry each other, have been GREAT. Quieter. With interesting conversations and less “he’s looking at me” and “make her stop it.”
I went spring shopping alone with each of the older kids. We went out to breakfast with just Bulldog one morning. Mother’s Day evening the teens and the adults, not having to choose a PG family movie, watched Dazed and Confused. I highly recommend waiting until the youngest in the room is 13 to see this movie, but I highly recommend this movie!
And I highly recommend, and am grateful for, this opportunity for some unforced, everyday togetherness. This morning Skater and I went out for an early breakfast alone. Big Girl comes back today at noon. Bulldog and DB are at a cub scout all-day outdoor thang (I wish them luck, as the weather is wet today). While waiting for our food, I asked Skater what he liked about himself. I don’t think his answers would have been as candid with five at the table. I can’t share them all, but I liked when he said “My freckles,” because I feel genetically responsible for them. My favorite, of course, was “Being Jewish. Being Jewish is fun.”