I’m on the second-to-last day of a Mommy-Daughter Disney World trip with my youngest, a 14-year-old feisty baby-of-the family. Sneaking off with any one of my six kids is not unusual. I started doing Mommy-Son and Mommy-Daughter sneak offs with them back when they started school. Sneaking off with all of my kids–now that is something I haven’t gotten to do for a long, long time.
Ours is a blended family–his, mine, and ours. SInce we’ve gotten past the awkward, not-so-great dealing with the exes part of blending a family, I kind of have forgotten which is which. Strike that. That’s a total, self-preservation lie: they’re all mine. Even the two I didn’t give birth to. Even the two or three or six who are probably mad at me right at this moment for something relatively minor. I’m that mom: The one who responded “Which half is your sister–her bottom half or her torso up?” when my then 5-year-old son came home from his dad’s spouting “Well, my half-sister…” at the dinner table. That ended the conversation There are no halves of anything in our house.
And yet, for a long while, there have been no wholes in our house either. No dinners with the whole family. No whole mess of figuring out who was riding in which car since we downsized to a 5-seater. I just may be the only one who remembers that we used to rent an 8-seater for family vacations and used two cars to go to church or to the movies when we were a newer family of eight.
Our separations aren’t the result of a feud or loss. No runaways or “I hate you’s.” Just the crazy, hectic of the daily lives of six really smart kids growing into six accomplished, (almost) grown-ups.
There’s the art teacher. And the soon-to-be certified welder. The college kid. Oops, almost forgot the college grad who just got a promotion. And the two teens still at home, busy with activities that keep us from visiting their siblings most weekends and all weekdays.
Most days I pride myself on being that mom of six, the one who won’t cry one…single…empty…nest…tear. Not tonight. Tonight, on this quiet vacation with the youngest of six…Maybe it’s the influence of the Mouse, but tonight I have some wishes. Six to be exact.
1. I wish I could cram you all in that old Toyota station wagon we used to own and drive through for chicken (not burgers–too many special orders) on the way to summer camp just one more time.
2. I wish 5 of you would stop complaining about 1 of you. I have noticed it’s usually the one you think might be my favorite at any given point. I. Do. Not. Have. Favorites.
3. I wish I could figure out how two of the girls (and their sleepover buddy) broke a new couch when the three of them soaking wet did not weigh 90 pounds.
4. I wish I could eavesdrop on your daily conversations and text messages with each other–most of the time. (I am so grateful that I can say “daily” about this.)
5. I wish I hadn’t been in such a hurry for you all to grow up all those years ago.
6. I wish I could kiss each one of your foreheads and breathe in the essence of each of you before heading off to bed tonight.