Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All I Need

"Strange and beautiful
are the stars tonight
that dance around your head
in your eyes I see that perfect world
I hope that doesn't sound too weird
And I want all the world to know
that your love's all I need..."
                                 --Blue Rodeo, Lost Together

I woke up with this song in my head a few days ago and decided that 'strange and beautiful' sums things up pretty well.  The strange part is pretty obvious when you look at Team Logan:  Two overweight geeky parents, three kids, two twins, one with Down Syndrome.  We shuffle through life in worn sneakers with our coffee in hand and our cargo pockets bulging with kid related junk. But, what isn't so strange is that we keep going.

NO ONE in this house is getting any sleep and not surprisingly, we're a little testy at times.  I just finished my four (two 12 hour days, two 12 hour nights) so naturally I'm tired (and a little messed up as my internal clock is still spinning).  The littlest Logans have decided that sleeping is so for, y'know, newborns, so nobody else should get any either.  We have a new mantra around here:  teeth suck.  Zoe has cut seven of the front eight, Wyatt has none (but you can see the bottom two in the gum when he smiles) and Quinn is growing in two adult teeth on the bottom.  I have to get my ass to the dentist soon before all of mine fall out or are finely ground to powder.  To say teeth are a sore subject around here is a pretty safe bet. This too shall pass.  Eventually.  It will go slowly and painfully like a kidney stone, but it will pass into memory.

I've mentioned this before, but one of the most commonly asked questions we get is "how do you guys do it?".  "How do we do what?" is usually my response, as I'm pretty literal in my sleep deprived haze and I always hope the questioner will throw me a bone and is not really expecting the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything According to Team Logan.  My hopes are usually dashed fairly quickly and I find myself grasping at whatever is at hand to give these people an answer.  The reality is this:  we don't.  We don't have, do or want for that matter, 'it all'. 

Our house, at any time, is in various stages of "mess".  Not "Hoarders with ump-teen cats" kinda mess, but a state of disarray all the same. The idea that our house will ever look show room ready again is laughable.  Our bedroom, sadly, is always the last to get picked up.  Quinn's room has been voted Least Likely to Remain Clean for More Than Thirty Seconds at a Time for two consecutive years.  I swear he sneezes and Lego, paper, crayons, markers, small plastic things and bits of ribbon manifest themselves in a whirling cyclone, careen around the room a few times and then settle in a fine layer on all surfaces.  I used to really stress out about these things.   I don't any more.  We have dump bins everywhere and have streamlined where we can.  The rest is timing.

By this, I mean I've created a nine day cleaning schedule.  The days of me cleaning all the things are over and will be for some time.  There are too many interruptions and too many daily tasks that have to get done.  Instead, I try to do ONE major job a day.  Put into that context it a) doesn't sound so bad and therefore b) stands a chance of actually getting done.  It really took some doing to get my head around it, but it can be done.  This means, once every nine days, one of the rooms in my house is clean and the rest... are probably not.  The living room where the kids play?  Swept almost every day and mopped every couple of days.  Dining room table (now moved and resurrected in the "nook")?  Also clean.  Kitchen counter over the dish washer?  Good luck with that one.  Same with the top of the fridge, the top of the cabinets, the top of dressers, whatever.  Many things get ripped out of tiny hands and quickly put up high for safety.  These things may not  make it back to where they go for a couple of cycles and hang out in mess limbo.  So be it.  I'll trade that and stepping on all the Lego in the world for being up late the night before company is to arrive, half-sobbing and scrubbing the bathroom while hating everyone that ever lived.  Accepting a certain degree of chaos and having an English garden approach to housework has done wonders for our peace of mind.

Finding time to blog is something else.  There is a major misconception that I sit down in front of the computer, a cup of tea in hand and spend a blissful hour or so, tippy tapping on the keys and producing in one fell swoop all the blather that (hopefully!) entertains you every week.  I wish it worked that way.  It doesn't.  I may get a whole sentence in before I am distracted/called away/too tired to continue.  I can't tell you how many times that I have "lost" what I am convinced is The Best Writing Ever as I did not have the chance to get it out of my head.  I used to do the majority of my writing while having one of my Medela Moments;  now that they are almost a thing of the past, I have to steal time here and there to try and get some things done.  I may be writing to a backdrop of caterwauling kids... or worse, Sean attempting to watch a Leaf game (before turning it off in disgust).

I need separation in my life too.  By this, I mean making a conscious effort to make sure "work is work and home is home" and what happens at the family reunion stays at the family reunion, etc.  You need to limit and contain the crazy.  Its not about being strong or inflexible either, as my main approach to your average crisis is to go with it, to bend like the proverbial reed.  You live longer that way.  Tight compartmentalization without leakage is the key. You can't have leakage as it quickly becomes overflow.  Once the overflow starts pouring in, like the Titanic, the water tight compartments will spill over one by one and down she goes. I used to dwell on stuff all the time, worrying about what could happen and what should happen.  That has been a gift of the last year or so;  with all that has gone on, I've learned what truly matters.  My little family.  Our health.  Our happiness.  The rest is just details.

We celebrate a lot. Life is for living, not mourning.  Some accomplishments are bigger than others, but we make sure that every one has their own time in the sun.  With three kids doing three different things, it gets a bit tricky to make sure that everyone feels just as special and just as lauded as the rest. I try to get some one on one time in every day with all the kids.  It doesn't always work out that way, but we try.  When we do make some time to do an activity or what not, we always make a big deal out of it.  We turn the mundane into an adventure, which keeps us from becoming complacent about our time or our achievements. 

Even something as simple as an hour at the park can be special.  If I remember to grab a camera on the way out the door, I can preserve the fun for later, to break out when things get a little heavy.  "In case of crisis, break glass, drink in the cute", that sort of thing.  Photography has taught me that;  focusing on what you want allows you to change your setting, your mood... your everything.  By capturing the little special moments, you can keep them as little happy thoughts and refer to them at any time.

Wyatt in the Swing Zoe on the Swings
Happiness, without any added preservatives or sugar.

Our strange and beautiful life together certainly has its moments.  Some days, you really have to search for the pretty bits.  It is a lot of work, but you will find them.  You may be completely exhausted, you may feel as if your back is breaking, but if you swish things around a bit one more time, you will find them. Suddenly, there they are, like they were all along, glinting like gold dust at the bottom of the pan.  Regardless of what our bank account says, this makes us rich; richer than we ever dreamed.

I can honestly say that right now (other than sleep of course), I have all that I need. Strangely and beautifully so.

Added to the 'Define Normal' Blog Hop! Find out more @ Just Bring the Chocolate


  1. This is absolutely lovely!

  2. You have a beautiful family! From one "special" family to another, I admire you :) And yes, I too rotate rooms, have no free space "up high", and have bins everywhere.. it keeps my sanity.. within 4 years, I went from no kids and an OCD home with white carpet - to 5 kids, 5 dogs, white'ish carpet and prozac! But I love my life :) Bless you!

    1. LOL! We just have to try and stay on top of it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Things ok? There was a saddness running through that post that I haven't seen before. You know where I am (you, know, if you need me)


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