I’ve always loved getting in the car with my husband and just wandering around for a little while. Sometimes it turns into a big adventure, other times we just grab a coffee or make a quick trip to the grocery store while taking our time to get there. It’s sort of a way to unwind, connect in conversation, and take in scenery other than the interior walls of our house. Our kids enjoy these rides as much as we do, especially when we let them select their own favorite music for everyone to listen to while we’re driving. Fortunately, we’ve done well as parents and taught them the value of good music and most of the time they make choices we’re more than happy to oblige. We have many theme songs for our family. My older daughter seems to really love the classic 80’s rock song “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake. Did you know that the version you probably are hearing in your head right now after reading that song title isn’t the original? The song was first written with the phrase: “Like a hobo I was born to walk alone.” Really? Hobo? As in a homeless person aimlessly wandering about? I prefer taking the time to navigate to the remastered version when we listen. A drifter walking alone paints a better picture, at least in my mind.
I sort of feel sometimes like I’m the remastered version of myself. I’ve happily rewritten my lyrics a few times. And I’m heading toward a new version of me again. I’ve been in this place before. I’m tired a lot. I have a hard time sleeping. My appetite comes and goes. Yep, I’m pregnant. With the anticipation of adding our fourth child growing everyday, I feel like I’m about to make a transformation of sorts; one in which I make adjustments to accommodate the responsibility for another human being. It’s funny, after almost a decade of this parenting thing I can hardly remember what everyday life was like before having kids. With the birth of each child life has adapted, adding slight changes and the necessary revisions to conform to our larger existence. I don’t feel like I have a big family, but sometimes going places with three kids results in stares or comments like: “Are they all yours?” and “Wow, you really have your hands full!” I’m aware that when we reach the point of totaling six we officially will no longer be able to travel as a family in a sedan, getting a table at a restaurant could mean a longer wait, and some hotels will require our family to occupy two rooms instead of just one. It seems like the ordinary world around us isn’t necessarily designed to accomodate families larger than four people. But I’m okay with that because I’m not necessarily designed to fit into the ordinary world around me. As much as my life with tiny humans might parallel that of others and we can relate to each other on some fundamental level of parenting craziness (sibling fights, hearing “Mommmmaaa” thirty thousand times before 10am, spills, more spills, and even more spills, watching your child turn into a humpback whale showing off in the bathtub, and a multiplying mountain of laundry even though you folded and put away clothes twenty minutes ago), I know that I live my life dancing to my own tune. I choose to have an uncommon existence, and as a family we’re working toward even more changes that will set us apart from our peers (yes, we’re dreaming of having a greenhouse attached to our home where we can pick fresh tomatoes all year long and prepare them in our industrial inspired kitchen). My next transformation won’t be just in response to new circumstances having a newborn in the house again, I’m anticipating the new me and I’m thinking ahead about what I want life to look like with four children. I have a vision of a simpler existence, choosing to participate only in activities that enrich our lives, helping our children pursue their ambitions, and getting over my own separation anxiety to find a babysitter for date nights so my husband and I can enjoy some quiet time together as adults who really like each other.
The remastered me is constantly looking for improvements, though sometimes even when I find something that I know I should change it’s still really hard to implement. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be parent to these amazing people, each one having caused me to become an upgraded and better me. I can certainly think of song titles that could be the theme for my current season in life, a few examples would be: “Under Pressure”, “Welcome to the Jungle”, and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. But my own unique tune exactly describes my life and defines who I am within this little family I’ve created. It’s the only song I’ll ever need to be truly satisfied.