I’ll Be Free In Eighteen Years

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“Hey! All of us girls are getting together this weekend. You should come!” — an all too familiar phrase I hear from my friends. 

I give a half-smile, nod and agree, but we all know I won’t make it. 

Our family is on a strict schedule, because that’s the only way to do it with two sets of twins. We abide by nap time like a preacher abides by Sunday’s sermon. Breakfast, lunch and dinner go on the table, at the same time, like clockwork. And our family’s lights out policy doesn’t budge. 

This is what works for us. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that some days we don’t say, “Ah, screw a nap,” because we do. And there are other days when we have cereal at 8 p.m. — our supposed-to-be bedtime. 

But when we swerve off the path of our daily routine, we almost always pay for it. You know how it goes. The whining, the screaming, the defiance, the crying. Shall I carry on?

And when I’m gone, that throws off everyone’s day. 

My fiancé is more than capable of caring for our little ones by himself, but they still want my kisses, book-reads, high fives, and mediocre cooking, to get them through their day. 

And, let’s be honest, I want to give it to them. 

I don’t want to miss out on a second. Even in the mundane moments, I try my best to soak it all in. 

It’s true, a part of me misses the days when I could tag along for a girl’s night out, and there was no planning necessary to make it happen. But that was a different time in my life. That time was here, and now it is gone. 

Now my life has new days — family days. 

These days are filled with maple-syrup kisses, dirty toes, diaper changes, middle-of-the-night wake up calls, sibling rivalry and a lot of tea parties. 

Life is completely different than it used to be. I’m no longer the carefree and spontaneous woman I once was, but I’m more than okay with that. 

My kids have a schedule that I bow my own life before. And I’m happy to trade friend time for family time, because these moments with my little’s are just that, moments. And once this time has passed, I can’t get it back. 

I want all of the first’s, all of the last’s and all of the in-betweens, so it may be awhile before my friends get me to themselves again. 

But I hope they never stop inviting me, because they are never placed on the back burner in my heart. 

Maybe, someday, by the grace of God, one of my kids won’t be sick, my sitter will pull through and my house won’t be a catastrophic mess. 

I promise, our time will come to be carefree again. 

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