Joy Magazine

Going, Going, Going

On the move from sun up to sundown

Isn't it funny that we can be literally on the go from 7 in the morning until 7 at night and still not lose weight? We are going, going, going, still nothing. That's the story of my life.

I was thinking about this — and how crazy our lives have become — as I drove two of my children to school. Like most mothers, my day is jam-packed with school, practices, extra classes and fun activities. I have four children (five if you include my husband). We are constantly on the go and, to be honest, we wouldn't have it any other way.

My daughter is my first go-getter in the morning. I am often awakened by her standing at my side of the bed, fully dressed and asking whether I can straighten her hair.

She is 6. She informed me earlier this year that she is cool, was born cool and could I please not ruin that for her. So without hesitation, I straighten her hair. God forbid, I keep my little girl from being "un" cool. She is beautiful and not the kind of beautiful that all moms are supposed to say; she truly is beautiful. I try to let her know that as often as possible.

"I know," she says, which is followed by me telling her, "You are supposed to say 'thank you,' " swiftly followed by her saying, "Thank you, I know."

Following my daughter is my son, just recently 4. He is finally starting to break away from wanting to copy his sister — wearing high heels, wanting to paint his fingernails and wearing his big sister's clothes. My husband cringed when he did any of the above. Boy, did I hear it when I went and bought him clear nail polish. I thought it was a pretty great idea, and my son did, too. Why must we leave him out because he is a boy?

"Because he is a boy, and boys don't paint their nails," barked my husband. What do I know as a mother, really?

My son follows me everywhere, literally. Which I must admit, I love and hate equally at completely opposite times. After sissy catches her bus, he and I take our teens to school in Ashland.

The drive into Ashland is one I am not fond of; it is packed with drivers doing everything but driving. I am on a set schedule; my routine is not something to be messed with. Even though this is in my head and not a bright flashing light for all the other drivers to see, I expect them all to know this.

Have you ever seen an angry mom with a van full of kids? Most often her hair is thrown into some sort of messy bun, her hands are flailing as she gives "one last chance" for the millionth time and she can give a mean glare if you are in her way.

Our vans are usually packed, if during the weekend, definitely packed because there is always a new addition. Noises from the van can range from loud music because someone asked to turn it up, to "please roll up the window or down the window" to the all-too-familiar, "Mom, he/she is touching or looking at me." All of which get one of the following responses.

The first, my favorite, is nothing. We mothers can drown it all out — the fighting, the loud music, the crying — and still drive effectively and safely.

The second response usually starts nicely, "Susie, sweetie, please stop picking on your brother," and then as it continues, we revert to the first option only to end somewhere else — the place I affectionately like to call "mommy freak-out mode."

It starts with the usual, "Are you serious?" or "You have got to be kidding me, guys," and then it goes to the point of no return. Mom yells, the kids stop and there is silence. For FIVE glorious minutes there is peace and harmony, and then it's as if the kids have amnesia, and it starts all over again.

And it is only 8 a.m.


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