September 25, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel!

By: Heather
I don't know how many times we have been informed, "It all goes so fast..enjoy it".  For us, I think we receive those comments primarily as we are trying to herd our brood through some sort of retail line or simply attempting to shuffle everyone through a parking lot without any catastrophes. I am fairly sure that we attract these comments at those particular times because our eyes are darting in five directions at once, we are having three conversations, and usually carrying much more than your average luggage cart. Thus, it appears that we aren't enjoying ourselves. 

Well, often we aren't!  Don't get me wrong, it can be fun, sometimes, to all go out places.  But there are times, despite the best preparations, that Ryan and I can leave what was to be a delightful excursion wishing only for a hot tub on a quiet island. 

One such time was cherry picking.  Cherry picking sounds like fun, doesn't it?  We thought so!  Understand, we are nearly pros at the 'pick-your-own-fruit' thing, or at least we thought we were.  We pick about two hundred pounds of apples a year and often a third of that amount in plums, and sometimes some berries.  But we had never harvested cherries.  We did our research, I knew how I was going to store the fruit, had a jam recipe ready in the kitchen, etc.

Well, in case you weren't aware, cherries are A LOT smaller than apples, or even plums.  However, we never contemplated this obvious fact.  So, I happily told the farmer we would take him up on his "pick 7 pails, receive the 8th free" deal. 

I'll never forget picking for a few minutes, looking down..... looking at Ryan....and then slowly muttering about how it was going to take a lot of cherries to fill up a pail. To which Ryan raised his eyebrows and knowingly said, "um, ya, they are kind of small". 

Three and a half hours later in the hot sun, with bites all over us, Ryan and I with serious neck cramps, and juice running down 10 arms (way past the elbows) we had our 8 pails of cherries!  See, about 15 minutes into the picking M decided he was tired, needed a nap, and would not just wander around the trees as usual.  So, back to the car I trudged carrying a crying S, who was also hot and tired, to get a backpack for Ryan to put M in and a front pack to put S in on me. We had planned on just leaving her in her carrying seat while we picked the fruit- recall our miscalculation.  So, for the remaining part of the picking Ryan repeatedly reached up high for cherries with 30 pounds on his back (M is nearly 100% muscle) while I awkwardly picked and moved ladders around for the kids with S in a front pack.  What an absurd sight we all were!

Our older three were great troopers and enjoyed the day for the most part.  But you can see how sometimes us adults just might not be having a blast.  It can feel like a really long haul anticipating the days of a little more independence on the part of our children. Yesterday, though, I witnessed a beautiful beacon of hope. 

As we walked out of the grocery store yesterday with our two carts (the extra for the purpose of carrying our littlest ones) Z and I parked them near the trunk and I began placing and buckling the younger children into their appropriate car seats.   I turned around to unload the groceries and put the carts back only to see a gleaming smile on Z's face as he asked if he could take the carts back.  He had placed all of the groceries into the trunk, including the milk, very neatly.  I astoundedly said, "Wow, of course!". 

This may seem small, but it was a very happy moment to realize that at least one of them is getting old enough to not just want to help with everyday things, but able to recognize a need and take care of it!

Yeah!!! There is a light at the end of tunnel.  By the way, we have all enjoyed the jam, crisps, and syrup from our more than 100 CUPS of cherries.


Jessica-MomForHim said...

all i can say is WOW!!!!

Diana said...

I agree with Jessica, WOW!!!!!

Love the photos, and it is well written. Good job Heather! You are making good memories [with the photos they will remember it better], and it will get easier and more fun for all as they all get older.

Good going Z! All of the children have good examples of working together and helping each other.

You both are good parents and partners!