It is ten past five. The children have been more or less tending to themselves for almost two hours. I provided a snack, I helped with a poop-related crisis, and I took over a harmonica by eminent domain. But, otherwise, I have left them to their own devices. The boys are using the time to wrestle, which is considerably better than the bitter fighting we saw in the early afternoon at the playground. Lilah is making it her business to pull off the shelves all the books I have managed to get unpacked.
And there are toys everywhere. The mess is far too advanced to expect them to clean it up themselves. Well, maybe not. I mean, they certainly are capable of doing it. But it requires me to supervise and nag far more than I care to do this evening.
I am writing. I am revising an essay so that these people can continue their unbroken string of rejections of my work. I am making progress as children tumble around me and black beans cook on the stove.
When I finish, I send it off to a friend for feedback. I have bought my writing time at the expense of needing to clean up once the kids are in bed. I move on to this blog post, which gets interrupted around the second paragraph when the wrestling turns vicious. Teeth marks. Then the UPS guy brings a package and I decide to enforce a little cleanup time and Lilah has yet another poopy diaper. It is 5:32 before I return to finish this up.
So, the TV is on, dinner is ¾ ready, and the toys are, let’s face it, ¼ put away. I have not written the post about the town we are now living in or Zachary’s insistence that he is the only five year old in the entire Kindergarten. I have not read to Benjamin today. Or Lilah, come to think of it. I have taken the kids to play outside, fed them, and lost my temper when they tormented each other. I have not exercised or written the post about how I am gaining weight.
But I have gotten an essay done. When you all write comments, asking me how I manage to make time to write – that’s how. Sometimes, I don’t write. And sometimes I let everything go to power through. It’s the only way that I won’t wake up, five years from now, resentful of the children who I read to every day and taught to clean up all their toys.