We are alive.  I swear we are.  Only we’ve been drowning in adjusting and bucket lists and now back to school.  All summer I drank the lie that once the big kids got back in school I’d have time to write, but there are still the smallest Smalls and now no one to else to entertain them, to answer the million queries they throw at me all day, until 3:15 when Grant’s bus pulls up and I fall on him like an addict, craving anything akin to adult conversation, while the littles continue to chirp around me like drunken Mina birds.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  We play the quiet game in the car and no one lasts past Go.  I’m serious.  They are horrible at the quiet game.  And so we go to Target nearly every day because there is so much to see and other people to answer.  Except Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings when they go to preschool.  All the first time moms are still waving and taking pictures when I throw my two into their classrooms and burn rubber out of the parking lot.  I am on the clock.  I have 140 minutes in which to remind myself that I can do this.  140 minutes in which to slow my breathing and not answer any questions.  Some days I just sit in my car and read.  Away is a beautiful place.  But so is together, which is why I’m nearly always ready to collect them again and hop back on the crazy bus, Maggie saying Mama every three seconds and Abe, with his two modes: asleep and loud.  They are my jam.
Back to school gets harder every year.  The forms!  The multiple checks written out for very small amounts, but never able to be added together in one convenient check!  Why is this?  The get to know you activities that involve brown paper bags and small object gleaned from around the house!  And, for Lulu, first grade means spending the first two weeks celebrating colors.  A different one each day.  Wear it, bring it.  By orange I’ve lost all will to live.  We.  Have.  No.  Orange.  This is not an accident.  There are certain colors I don’t buy.  Orange is one of them.  Only 4 people in the world look good in orange and none of them lives here.  And orange is closely followed by brown.  I can’t even.  Last week on green day I laid out no fewer than 7 possibilities for her show and tell.  It was a veritable buffet of green.  She wanted none of them.  Not even Peter’s green LAX athletic supporter.  And so she went to school with a soft guy who had a bit of green marker on his fur.  This is no longer my problem.
Tessa has started the recorder.  Peter has started the trumpet.  Why do they hate me?  I missed all five curriculum nights.  If you miss one, you have to miss them all or they count it against you.  The kids, they count it against you.  Besides, with five different curriculum nights and Dan gone for 4 of them I either had to ditch or hire an au pair.  It will probably be on our permanent record along with dismal attendance and Lucy’s altered Kindergarten schedule.  It’ll probably mean my kids don’t get into college, but we have attachment issues anyway, so college was always a long shot. And since college is a million years away, at least (shut up), I’m choosing not to think on it.  Especially on a day like today when the sun shone so bright and we hopped on bikes and ending up very far away and loved nearly every second of it.  And so I tucked 6 Smalls into bed tonight, sore legs and sweet smelling hair, gave them their blessings and said one of my own.  Because these days, they threaten to eat me right up, but I’ll take em because they were never promised to me.  They are all grace given by a Father who sees our needs and fills us so full we nearly pop.  A Father who bids us sit still for a sec in the midst of the madness and give thanks for these full days.  A Father who meets us on the floor on those hard days when we’ve buckled under the weight and let our ugly leak out and who lays there with us while we have a good cry and then bids us back at it, to the work we’ve been called to.  As completely mad as this season is, I find myself so thankful.  Even if it is orange day tomorrow.
This is me being real.  And hoping an orange hair bow from halloween is good enough.