So, my exciting news from my last post… it is not that I am pregnant as Keri commented (though it would be outright hilarious if it was – and by hilarious, I mean, bring me to tears and leave me wondering what in the world I’m going to do, hilarious – our boys more than make up for it being just the two of them*). But it is sort of adding to our family, since it will mean we will be transitioning back to a “normal” family of four with parents who are both home in the evenings (for the most part because I plan on making up for lost time with some evenings out). Simon is moving to first shift on August 4 and we could not be more thrilled! The official announcement came on Tuesday, though we have known it was coming for a short time now. When we first found out about the possibility, the news came at a time when we had absolutely no hope for a change in his schedule and I can admit now that I was completely disheartened by it all, as was Simon. I was trying to mentally prepare myself for both boys being in school this fall and Simon being gone every night – leaving the bulk of the parenting on my shoulders and Simon unhappy with his hours and not getting to see the kids as much as we all would like.
For the past 4.5 years I had said, I just hoped that Simon could move to first shift by the time Jack started school, that my working all day and taking care of the kids all evening was not going to be my ideal life – I certainly didn’t go into having kids thinking I would be a single parent (but then, not many people do). Simon will be starting the new job just a month before Jack starts kindergarten – I cannot help but see the irony in that and see God’s providence. Perhaps I should have prayed more specifically for him to move to first shift before Jack turned 3 or something – I left a lot of time in there for getting that prayer answered.
When Simon originally started at his job, the assurance was made that it would be two years at most that he would be on second shift; two years was doable… I saw the passing of each month as being 1/24th of the way to it being done. But when we passed the two-year mark with no changes and no movement… well, that was kind of a bummer. But still, it worked out that we only had to do daycare for the kids two days a week and then split the other days between the two of us. Simon got to spend way more daytime hours with the kids than the average working parent and we spent way less on childcare than the average two-parents-working-full-time family. And in the long-term, we’d get a huge discount on a stellar college education for our kids, an education that I’m beyond grateful for myself… it would be worth it, we could do this.
Back in the beginning, Jack was just turning one and Liam was three-and-a-half – that fact blows my mind. Neither one of them remembers a time when Simon was home every evening… when they had two parents together for more than vacations or weekends. I think we did the best we could with the situation but I have to imagine its going to be so much better to be together MORE. That our parenting will improve because we can divide and conquer, and back each other up rather than taking the route of least resistance and making the best of it. And with Jack starting school, this fall, I was so sad to think of how little Simon would get to see our boys in comparison to what it could be. It makes me think of all the parents out there who are away from their kids for work, missions, armed services, what have you – it’s a tough road to have to travel for whatever reason and especially when you’d rather be on another path. So above all, I am excited for what this means for our boys and for us. I’m even excited to have to cook real meals again – though I’m sure my kids are not pumped that mom will no longer be serving as a short-order cook at dinner time.
It’s going to be a transition period because you can cement a lot of habits in 4.5 years’ time. Not all habits are bad, but you get used to “your” way of doing things and adding another person to the mix makes things tricky, or at least makes you feel the rub of the rough edges. I enjoy my quiet evenings once the kids are finally in bed, I’m sure there will be a little mourning in their loss. But whatever – bring it on. We are ready to figure it out because one thing I will not complain about is getting the thing I have prayed for, that our community has prayed for, for 4.5 years.
I know it’s not going to fix everything and make life perfect because life is always messy and never perfect, no matter how it is formatted. We fool only ourselves if we think that perfection and utter happiness is achievable if only we keep persevering and make it over the next hurdle. But we can be thankful that this chapter is nearly over, while it may not end up being our hardest, I can safely say it won’t be our favorite and that we eagerly anticipate the next one to see what it brings. And we are thankful that Simon has a job that he enjoys and that helps provide for our family… it has given us more blessings than hardships, to be certain.
*Funny side story: The other day we picked George up from his grooming appointment at the vet’s office and while I was paying and making his next appointment, Jack climbed in the holding pen that is built into the counter at their office – handily there so you can confine your small dog while you are paying (though I have never seen anyone using them for this) – Liam took the opportunity to firmly latch the door, leaving Jack trapped inside. Thankfully this did not cause a fight or screaming, but instead turned into a fun game of Jack trying to get out and Liam quickly shutting him back in. I have learned it’s better to let these things happen rather than try and control them and stop them from their ill-advised activities. I paid, George was returned to us and we were on our way. On our way to the car, a woman who had been waiting to pick her golden retriever up from doggie daycare, held the door for us and then said, “I have to say, it was fascinating watching your boys. I have two daughters and they never would have crawled into the cage, mostly because it wasn’t the right color pink. Boys are just a whole different kind of thing.”
Yes, yes they are.