shift work

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I was introduced to the mormon channel tonight, by my sweet sister-in-law Julianne. She told me of a couple of conversations/interviews she heard that she found truly inspirational. I was eager to get home, tuck my wee ones into bed and listen. As Julie Beck talked she related our lives to that of shift work. The simile made me smile, and I began to think about my own life. I don't mind the day shift. We wake up usually refreshed and ready for a new day. The day shift brings chores and self-care. It involves scripture study and family prayer. We fall into learning; books are opened, journal pages filled, and math puzzles solved. So many things await us; new things to learn, new adventures to have, some old ones to finish, and fresh games to play. 

Then there is the afternoon shift. This is the shift that is the very hardest for me. Everyone is learned out, worked out, tired out, and hungry. We might even be a little bit tired of each other. This is the shift that as Sister Beck puts it, "we need to be at the top of our game". Tears come more easily, feelings hurt more readily, and little ones need extra love. Dinner is also anxiously awaiting preparation. This is the shift I anxiously await the arrival of a much needed new pair of eyes, ears, and arms - Daddy! 

The evening shift follows. This is usually my favorite shift, and not just because bedtime is only around the bend (although there are days when nothing is more appealing). This is a time for bubble baths. It is my time to wash and wrap warm towels around clean heads and toes - to snuggle, to read, to kiss and hug, and to tuck away for the night. This is a time I use to bond one on one with the older children. The younger ones usually take up much of my energy during the day, simply because they demand my attention in a different way than the older ones do. But the older children and I have a special routine at night. When the smallest of the smalls are snoozing, when the house has gone to bed, when jammies are donned, I exhale and we bond in the pages of books. Each child has a novel that I read to them. We snuggle in my bed, and enter a world of fiction. This doesn't happen every night, but as often as it can. It is our time to escape into imagination.

Noelle and I are reading this book. This is our second time through - we love this book. 
It reminds me a bit of The Lord of the Rings, but girly.

 Bergen and I just finished this one. It made us both laugh out loud. 
This is a book for boys, about boys, involving pirates, murderous mermaids, and gigantic flying reptiles. 
If you have a boy, I think I can safely say they will love this book.

 And this book, which is a sweet story about a ballerina, a mouse, and a missing voice, is being enjoyed my Emma and myself. 

Not only are we shift workers, but overtime is mandatory. Vacation days are few and far between. And the pay does not come in the form of many digits. Neither is it in fame.

No, It is subtly revealed in sticky jam kisses, and spontaneous I love you's. It is in the eyes of the child who seeks your comfort when hurt or discouraged. It is in the little hand that holds yours. It is in the plea, "mommy, watch me". Our reward is in a place we cannot see. We are the president, the princess, the pop-star that first captured the hearts of our children. It is in that part of them that is just for us. The corner of their hearts that only we can fit into. That is something money could never buy and fame could not fulfill.

We are the shift workers, we are the mothers.

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