About Friends

We have been busy, and the busy isn't over just yet. I've called this the week of the babysitter.

Jake is always busy. I'm amazed he is able to accomplish so many things with so many people throughout his day. It has been this way for our entire marriage. Sometimes there haven't been enough hours in the day. One semester, while we were still in our undergrad studies, our Mondays began with him having class at 8 AM, and that day was booked solid until his last rehearsal was over at midnight. We had one car, so I would run home and eat and do homework, then come back and wait for him to be through. I was skilled at being Jake's personal driver during those years. His life now is much the same. He's teaching three classes this semester, which requires a lot of grading. He also accompanies many vocal students for their voice lessons. Many of the many students he accompanies have recitals throughout the year that he plays for, and each recital requires a dress rehearsal. All of these things must be scheduled outside of this normal workday, which is longer than the typical workday. And then there are the instrumental recitals and the extra gigs, and his church job. It builds and builds and builds, and by the time the school year is over, the few weeks break is much needed.

Having kids has made this type of schedule a bit more difficult, but because I'm able to stay home and have a wide open schedule, we're still able to maintain it. But then weeks like this happen, and I have obligations that require me to be just me, and that's when things get a little complicated. Last night, there was a special evening at church for the young women (12-18 years old) in our congregation. I arranged for a sitter, and what would normally be a 25-30 minute drive max to their house ended up being almost an hour with the crazy traffic I ran into. By the time I got to the church, I'd been in my car for almost an hour and a half.

Today, Cora had her second speech therapy appointment. My friend Jana watched Magnolia for me last week, which was great because I was able to sit in with Cora and her new speech pathologist. When I got back to pick her up, Magnolia was still sleeping, so Jana said she would just call me when she woke up (they live really close). It was so fun to go spend a little bit of alone time with Cora. That doesn't happen very often anymore. Anyway, I took Magnolia with me today, and we spent the session in the waiting  room with one another. Then we hurried back home because Cora's PT conference was this afternoon. Another friend was available to watch the girls during the conference. I was supposed to go visit a lady from church tonight, but the husband of the woman I was going with ended up having to work late. I was looking forward to the visit, but also relieved that I was able to spend the evening at home.

I spent part of my evening at home getting a babysitter for Saturday morning because I have some meetings at church. The first friend I asked (Ashleigh) was able to do it. When I mentioned that I was looking for another babysitter for tomorrow night, she said she could do that too. But it's more than that.  Rather than them being at our house until 11:30 PM and then having the girls show up at their house at 9:15 the next morning, the girls are going to have a little sleepover with Ashleigh and Andrew. This is such a huge relief.

I'm happy to be the glue that holds my family's schedule together and allows Jake the time to do all that he needs to do. I often daydream about what it would be like to live closer to family. The convenient kind of close, where they're right down the road, and you just call or show up at their house with your kids and they take them and you go do what you need to do. I'm sure that we would be able to do that with either one of our families, but that isn't our reality. This week has been atypical for us. Usually the only place I need to be at a specific time of day is in carpool for school, and that obviously requires that at least one of my children are with me (it's always both). I like how simple our normal schedule is.

When Sunday rolls around, Cora and Magnolia will have spent time with someone other than me for five days in a row. On Sundays we have choir rehearsal in the evening. There was childcare at rehearsals, but it was spotty for a few weeks, and the girls ended up going to bed at least an hour late by the time we got home and did our bedtime routine. The same darling friend who came to my rescue today has volunteered to spend any available Sunday evening watching the girls until the concert is over just before Christmas.

I am grateful for friends and how they help me by taking care of my girls. There are so many times I wish that rather than me leaving my girls with friends, I could stay and sit on my couch or theirs and just talk for hours and hours. I am growing appreciate the dynamics of friendship at various times in life. I know my friends love me not because we always get to spend lots of time with one another, but because they're helping me in times when I can't do everything on my own. They're watching my girls, and loving them, and when people care for my babies, I can't help but love them more. Grateful, grateful, truly grateful I am.

PS: Friday evening is the luxury night in all of this. Dialogues of the Carmelites is being performed at OCU, and I have been looking forward to seeing this opera since Jake told me about it. Earlier this week, I saw the director leaving the convent that is near our house, and I told Jake he had to get tickets. I'm sure it will be a thought-provoking evening.


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