It usually starts around 6:48 when the first kid wanders into our room, eyes groggy, pulling themselves up onto our bed and pulling a pillow up under their head, and scooting their little body as close to me as humanly possible. Followed within moments by another set of feet padding across the hardwoods into our room, and then another. Until we're five in the bed with quiet giggles and "do you want to know my dream?" and "what time did you go to bed last night, mom?"
If I get up particularly early, I might try to sneak myself onto the couch with high aspirations of my kids playing quietly nearby and letting my body naturally come to grips with being awake. But inevitably one or two kids pile on top of me and "just want to snuggle".
The day goes on with sticky fingers pulling at me to get my attention, two year old arms pushing me in stern protest against whatever suggestion I've made, requests to sit on my lap during a meal, hair brushing, bottom wiping, book reading, clothes changing, play wrestling, injury kissing and bandaid application, face pinching (thank you one year old curiosity), raspberry blowing on my cheek, lots of kisses, requests to be held at inopportune times (usually while preparing a meal), TV watching snuggle sessions and inevitably some middle of the night comforting.
My day is inundated with touch. Until the last moments of wakefulness with requests for back scratching and writing letters on their backs and sitting by their beds until they doze off. When the sun starts to set and five little people are quietly snoozing on their pillows, I am ready to shut the door and soak in the solitude and sorry, husband, I'll talk to you in an hour or two.
The other day I sat down on my cozy couch for a minute, watching my kids play legos and read books and dance around the living room all at once, and within 15 seconds one little body saw the opportunity and launched himself onto the couch, right on top of me. Not near me or at the other end of the couch, but making sure his entire body was somehow connected to my body and I silently groaned on the inside, thinking, PLEASE JUST GIVE ME ONE MINUTE. I'm RIGHT here, watching you, talking to you, do we have to be touching? And in that moment, I looked into his little eyes and another thought occurred to me. This is almost over. Before I even know what is happening they will all be grown up, they won't want to snuggle or blow raspberries or sit next to me on the couch. No one will be crawling into my bed in the morning and telling me what they dreamt about. They won't need back scratches before they fall asleep. I will long for their hugs and someone needing me during dinner prep. It will all be so quiet.
I know this seems a long way off, but I am also quickly learning that time is so fleeting. These days go so quickly, and I want to store up as many of these moments in my heart as I can before they're gone. Taking it for granted is inevitable, but I pray that the little glimpses of what's to come and go will keep me grounded in remembering to fill up their little tanks while they still want me to. The days are long but the years are short. So while I'll continue to look forward to my quiet time at the end of a long day, I'll also keep a grateful heart for all the love they are so willing to pour out on me in the meantime. I really couldn't be luckier with this house so filled with so many little people who have so much to give.