Matt was working late again tonight. After dinner, when the house was put back in order, Toby asked a question about a nuclear bomb so we had to watch a quick YouTube video to learn about those. Then we had to finish the last half of "Annie", which we had started the night before. After we all wiped our happy tears at the end, I shooed the kids up the stairs and into their beds.
This is not as easy as it might seem because some nights it seems a lot less like herding cattle and a little more like herding cockroaches. They keep scattering to every corner of the house. I find myself saying things like, "Lay down! Now stay there this time!" But there's always someone who forgot to brush their teeth, and someone who forgot to fill their water bottle, and someone who needs to go potty, and someone who has to sing 8 verses of a song she just made up to her pet gerbil in order to properly tell the gerbil good-night.
So after a few rounds of plunking chubby kiddos into beds and a few rounds of, "You! You! and You! What does lay down mean to you? Lay down! And stay there!" we finally came to a really beautiful part of our day. Three glowing stuffed animals projected star patterns on a dark ceiling while a noise machine softly whispered with ocean waves. Everyone sighed and snuggled in and listened quietly while Hannah prayed. We remembered what we were thankful for and we remembered the people in our lives who especially needed God's help. Tonight it was Naomi's turn to pick a song for me to sing. She picked "Be Thou My Vision," which I hadn't sung in awhile, and which seemed infused with more meaning tonight.
After one more kiss and hug for each kiddo, just as I was on the verge of freedom from children, Naomi asked, "Can you come snuggle with me?" And while the practical side of me really just wanted to run for the hills, the sentimental side gave in. Why not?
I climbed into Naomi's bottom bunk with her. It was a tight squeeze for me and my big girl, but it got tighter very quickly. Hannah jumped down from the top bunk, giggling, and squeezed in on top of me. Toby was suddenly worming his way in between me and the wall, Elijah was on top of him, and Emma cuddled up by my feet. "Now you're buried under kids!" Toby yelled.
We lay there as one big giggling mess for a few minutes, shaking the bed, which probably wanted to collapse under the weight, when Hannah said, "Tell us a story about when I was a baby." After a few chubby-Hannah stories, Emma wanted some baby-Emma stories, and Naomi wanted to hear some stories about my life growing up. Just the time I thought I would collapse under the weight of kids, something soft brushed my feet. The cat had snuck up the stairs and joined us too!
When the kids realized that Liana was in bed with us they all burst out laughing so hard that the cat shot out of the room and down the stairs! Just as the giggles were dying down from that Elijah announced, "Mommy, I'm poopy." I groaned, and told the kids that the party was over.
"Party pooper," Naomi giggled. And the laughter broke out again.
That's how Matt found us when he came home from work at 10:00pm: one stinky room full of giggling kids. I told him it was a long story. It's also one I want to remember.