November. How did it get to be November?
That question is what everyone is asking. I’ve gotten so used to people stating out loud wherever I go that they cannot believe how fast time is flying that my response is automatic in nature.
“Yes, it is. Crazy eh?”
Although personally I don’t think life is moving any faster than last year. Life has moved fast since I had kids. Sure there are slower periods but generally, the last nine years have sped by faster than my poor tired brain can process. I think anyone with school age children will tell you that generally September and October are a blur. Now it is November. November is the “quiet” month. Or it should be. It is the month of waiting. Waiting for winter to start. Waiting for ski season. Waiting for the beloved craziness of holiday season. However, when you have three or more kids, quiet is a term not often used at any point in the year and waiting is a word not one person in my family likes to hear.
My theory is, November is also the month to recuperate. Recuperate from Halloween and wean ourselves off unnecessary but beloved treats. Rejuvenate from late nights and trick or treating with a coffee and irish cream in hand. Rest from the onslaught of cold and flu season hoping it all passes before December. Rest. What a lovely word. One of my favourite words and a concept foreign I am not sure what it means.
Halloween was a Friday night this year. A fun night, albeit cold and a bit rainy, our costumes this year were well suited. We were the candy family. All three kids wanted to be M&Ms, two greens and a blue. But easy costumes to put overtop of layers of clothes or warm jackets meaning we didn’t have to stuff them with the huge mound of cotton batting I had desperately searched for the week before. It also meant two things for our household. The kids had school and Halloween parties, so they were exhausted. But being good sports, we had dinner (hot dogs upon request) and chocolate cupcakes and off we went. Halloween with three kids means both parents go out. All the preparations and decorating that I did were for our own amusement as we placed a candy bowl on the front steps with a note to please use the honour system and take one or two candies. We were off off quickly joined by our regular neighbourhood crew, all sporting rain jackets and umbrellas. But the kids didn’t care, running with abandon down the quiet streets, all we could hear were their voices carrying in the night air, “Trick or Treat!”
Jacob, not to be outdone this year, waddled from house to house leaving one of his friends behind so he could be with the big kids. I couldn’t blame him and stopped reminding him to wait for his friend about halfway through when my spiked coffee ran out and I realized how cold it truly was outside. An hour later, Jacob, having opted to forgo the “scary house” looked up at us with his little cheeks bitten with drops of cold rain and said, “I’m done. I’m tired. Can I go home?” Screams from his sisters resulted. “We’re not done yet!!! It’s early. It’s a Friday night!”
Mr. L and I played rock, paper, scissors and I lost. Feeling my active, phlegm-soundin cough resuming I tried my best to look pathetic and thankfully, Mr. L (who had scored a refill from a neighbour on the drink) told me to I could go home, he would take the girls further around the block. Bless him!
So, Jacob and I ran home as the raindrops grew bigger just in time to dole out candy to the onslaught of kids. He thought it was great and he tossed in handful after handful into waiting bags. Rejuvenated, he tore off his costume (showing his glow in the dark skeleton shirt) and declared he was sitting on our stairs to wait for more kids. Thank goodness. It allowed me to peel off my damp clothes and change into snug dry ones and sit, blowing into a kleenex. A half hour later, the kids stopped coming and we started to go through his candy. The little helper deserved a treat. The girls and Mr. L arrived, soaked but happy. As I made hot chocolate for everyone, the kids declared it was the best Halloween ever. Exhausted Mr. L and I high-fived each other trying to convince them that it was time for bed. I shut down the house blowing out the jack o lanterns and shutting off the lights, we showered and changed our candy children back into regular little kids and I piled the wet costumes in the mud room and closed the door. By 9:00 pm we were settled on the couch, Mr. L snoring while I tried to watch a scary movie. A Halloween tradition.
The rest of the weekend was a blur. The damp night had turned my cough into a full-blown sinus cold sapping whatever energy stores I had in reserve. I know the kids got to their activities and I started writing attempting to participate in NaNoWriMo 2014 with a fuzzy head deciding best to start and try to make sense of what I wrote later drinking a lot of coffee which did nothing to help. Exhaustion set in. That along with red wine at a family dinner Saturday night meant I was toast the rest of the weekend.
By Sunday morning, I was happy the kids had their iPads to keep them busy while I dozed on the couch trying to figure out the bare minimum to be done that day and hoping my ears would clear so I could hear. Mr. L had thankfully taken one kid to work with him. When you have three or more kids, any help in keeping one occupied makes those hours a little more manageable.
As Mr. L returned from work on Sunday afternoon, he announced he had errands to run but to be glad, because he was taking the girls. Awesome. Jacob and I dressed for the outdoors enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Thankfully, our neighbours were also out and he was happy playing with his friend while I mindlessly chit-chatted. Afterwards, we cleaned up the rest of the backyard, getting the kid’s playhouse ready for winter and putting toys back inside the house that had mysteriously made their way to our backyard. The fresh air helped clear my head, for a bit and just as we finished, I heard the girls calling from inside the house.
“Mom!! We’re home. Come inside now.”
I yelled back, “Just a minute, my arms are full of your toys.”
“No Mom! Leave it! Come now!”
Curious, I climbed down the ladder heading into our kitchen. Jacob had already plunged inside dropping his muddy boots and gear all over the kitchen floor. Then I saw it. The girls stood with wide grins holding a carrier case.
“Happy early birthday!!”
A tiny noise emanated from the cage and a pink nose peeked out. “Meow?”
Tickled pink grabbing a tissue to blow my nose hoping it will clear my head for a moment, I looked up at Mr. L (the acclaimed cat hater) who shrugged.
“You said it was too quiet here with Jake gone. She is your present from the kids. The girls picked her out.”
As I scooped out a tiny, ten week old gray and white kitten who won me over as she nuzzled into my neck I blew kisses of gratitude to my crazy family.
Then it hit me. A kitten.
Exhaustion set in.