It’s 6:30 in the morning. The sun just started brightening my room. I can hear the kids rustling around the living room, attempting to be quiet.
I hear my 7 year old loud whisper to my 5 year old, “Be quiet! You’re gonna wake them up! They said we could only wake them up if someone was on fire!”
Let me put this in perspective. First, we are on vacation at the beach. Second, I just want to sleep in until 7. And yes, I may have used the, “You can only wake us up if someone is on fire,” line.
The two of them continue to loud whisper until they are joined by their sisters, Loud, Louder and Loudest.
With a sigh, I elbow by husband and mumble, “They’re up.”
“Yeah, I was trying to ignore them,” he says with a pillow over his head.
We spend the next 5 minutes bantering over who gets up, and who gets to sleep 10 more minutes. I win this morning.
Later, as I drag my half-dead self to the kitchen in search of the coffee pot, I’m greeted by my extremely chipper children. One of them wants to know when we can go to the beach.
This scene has been repeated every day on our vacation. As I stand at the counter and sip caffeinated sanity, I steel myself for the next child who asks the same questions, just in a different way.
Since there are five of them, I am asked this question in a continuous loop. Instead of doing what I’d like to do, which is bang my head on the counter, I turn my back to the kids, sigh and look towards heaven.
I mumble to myself, “Lord, Jesus give me strength.”
This line is my daily mantra, often said in an exasperated tone. I’m fairly sure God understands. Or has a laugh or two at my expense.
After a whirlwind breakfast, we then start our morning game of, “Can everyone find their clothes?” Sometimes, all five kids manage to get dressed in appropriate clothing, complete with socks and shoes.
Alas, this is not to be the morning. Just a few minutes in, one kid is yelling that he can’t find any pants, and one is crying because their tennis shoes “feel weird” on their feet.
My husband and I go from child to child acting like parental firefighters, seeking to douse the situation with love, understanding, and a healthy bit of sarcasm. It’s the only way we survive, people!
Once everyone is clothed and shoes no longer “feel weird,” we clamor out the door and down to the beach. Each child is prepared with buckets and shovels.
We hit the sand in a sort of blitz attack. Hermit crab and sandpipers scurry for their lives as our small army of children scream and run in all directions.
The hubs and I find a nice piece of driftwood to park ourselves on. We feel victorious just getting everyone to the beach with clothes on!
For almost three hours, the kids entertain themselves by building sandcastles, hunting for shells, or locating stranded jellyfish on the beach. Really, I’m not making up the jellyfish thing.
They are blissfully happy. No one is crying. Laughter is plentiful. Some of my kids, who have never had a vacation, much less seen the ocean, are just in awe to be out here. Life is so very good.
As I stare at the ocean waves, I think, “Yep, this chaos is worth it.”
I settle back in to enjoy a few more minutes of bliss.
That is, until the hubs nudges me back to reality with, “Hey Babe. It’s almost lunchtime.”
Lord Jesus give me strength.