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Know Your Limits

Having 4 kids in 5 years basically sets you up for one of two things: how to be an out of the box thinker. Or Just. Surrender. Now.

Throw in a “surprise” fifth kid, five years later because you thought it would be fun to try the Natural Family Planning Method, and you’ve just catapulted the thing that used to be your life, into an entirely different reality than rational thinking folks.

Normal people have two kids because they have two arms. Normal people have two kids because four people fit in a car. Normal people fully understand that kids are super duper expensive.

I guess we missed the memo.

I heard someone say once, “Having twins is baptism by fire.” I concur.

I vividly remember my first trip to the dentist with all five offspring wondering, “How will we make it safely from the car into the dental office?”

How will I expedite this mission with a gaggle of moving targets across the parking lot, like a real life game of Frogger?

One toddler perched on my hip, while twin preschoolers clung to my rear jean pockets and held the hand of little sister. Meanwhile, “surprise baby in car seat”, was being violently whipped around in my free hand, from my unbalanced weight.

All in the name of cleaner teeth.

So here is what I’ve learned, although I am no professional, as clearly is indicated above:

It’s okay if you pick up your kid from preschool, only to realize as you buckle her into her car seat, she is not wearing panties. (Note: that one moment in time, will make you question her each time she exits her bedroom twirling in a skirt or dress, which then leads you into an interrogation process that may or may not sound like, “Show me the panties.”

Target becomes an entirely new shopping experience during potty training when, just as you're placing your items on the conveyor belt to check out, your child spreads her legs, arms out like she might take flight, and then lets it go on the shiny linoleum floor. You almost made it out. Maybe next time.

It’s okay if your kid eats mainly beige colored foods for a season. Or five years. Mac and cheese, cereal, milk, yogurt, cheese, quesadillas, chicken nuggets, french fries. I’m here to tell you, your child will grow up big and strong. He or she may not poop regularly, but it will all work out in the wash.

It’s okay to let the children marinate in their own smell for a few days. Standards and values of cleanliness are totally overrated. There is only really one firm deal breaker: beach day...then it’s a must to get the sand out of all the places.

There is no such thing as a Best Parenting Award. But if it was up to me, there would be an awards ceremony where all parents would receive a trophy that would be 10 feet tall, the gold plate at the bottom inscribed with these words: YOU SURVIVED. YOU ARE AMAZING.

Will our kids end up in therapy? YES! That means we did our job thoroughly.

Will we question every single decision we

make, wondering if we are doing it right? YES!

But I’m quite sure of this one thing: we are doing the best we can with the skills we have right this very minute. Parenting is not for wimps or the faint of heart.

And as they each exit the nest with the skills, values, and faith that we have helped instill into their beautiful and beating hearts, I have a vision of parents everywhere, standing shoulder to shoulder on a green and mossy mountainside. Picture Mel Gibson in Braveheart, before he went crazy.

As we stand tall in solidarity, knowing that these little beings were entrusted to us, we yell out together, “I did my best and that is enough.”

That is our battle cry.

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