This past weekend I spent with my girlfriend Beth in Alexandria, Virginia. Her and her 4 children, husband (who is actually like one of the kids), and in utero fetus.
I love Beth. She is one of my dearest friends. We have known each other since Medical School Days in Charleston, SC. She was in the M.D. track and I was in the Pharm.D. track. We were introduced by a mutual friend and have been BFFs ever since. I truly love her like a sister. I remember back when we were both just starting out in our careers. We were going to conquer the world “Dynasty-style“, Alexis Colby Carrington was our role model, and we would have 1 baby each (just for the experience). Now, she’s working on her 5th baby and she’s on the “God’s Will” birth control method. Things have really changed.
When I go to Beth’s, I know it is going to be crazy, unscheduled and non-stop. Last year, just 1 day involved taking all 5 kids (Pearl, Faith, Jesse, Enoch, Chase) to Mt. Vernon to visit the home of George Washington. After we came home, the older kids played games while the younger ones napped. We fed the kids dinner, and I’m thinking “This was a really nice day”. Then, Daddy came home and in the middle of the dinner, he starts saying we need to have a “blow out” because Chase and Kathryn are leaving tomorrow. So before I can blink, everyone is loading back into the van chanting “Chuckie Cheese! Chuckie Cheese!” Chase had actually never been to Chuckie Cheese before, but it was on his bucket list, so he was thrilled. At 7pm on a weeknight, I found myself at Chuckie Cheese along with several Hispanic families and single dads. This place is like a dirtier version of Vegas for kids. By the time tickets were traded in and we were ready to go, it’s like 9pm and I thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but then Daddy yells, “Kids! The Krispy Kreme HOT light is on!!!!” So of course we detour into the parking lot for a dozen glazed doughnuts to match the expression on mommy’s faces.
This past weekend’s trip pales in comparison.
Chase and I have invented a new expression, “Party till our eyes bleed!” That’s how much fun it is at Beth’s. In the short time frame of 48 hours we managed :
- Six Flags
- Swim twice
- Visited Candi’s Candies
- Went to George Bush’s Favorite Chinese Restaurant for Peking duck
- Attended 2 hour church service
- Self Serve Yogurt cafe
- Toured Old Towne Alexandria
- Played uncountable number of Parcheesi & Dicecapades Games along with Super Spy
We could have done a lot more but then the bleeding from our eyes prohibited our viewing pleasure. By the time Chase and I returned to Mary’s, I was a complete wreck. I know this sounds like some dumb scientific study finding, but: Having 5 children is significantly more stressful than having 1.
It has literally taken me 2 days to get over my 2 days at Beth’s house. I don’t know how she does it. Even though her husband makes a very good living, she refuses to hire help with the children. She does everything. The first day back, I actually cried in the shower for my poor lost friend. I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for feeling badly for her like this, but I never saw the look of terror leave her eyes. I love her children, but when you have that many, there is NO DOWNTIME. Someone is always being hit, hitting someone, crying, running, choking, needing all the time. You are completely out-numbered. I like to think if I had that many kids, they would all know their whistle call and be promptly dressed and ready for dinner at 6pm every night. In reality, I would definitely be much worse off than Beth and carry one of those suicide capsules in my bra at all times.
Before I left, I said, “Girl, you know I love your kids. And I know you love your kids. But I can’t help feeling like I need to kidnap you out of this situation and de-program you.” I also told her, that I would always remember her as that carefree girl in graduate school who used to dance on bar counters with me. With that, I got a smile.
Until next time…
PS: Beth and Nigel always come up with some really unique baby names. There is a strong possibility Number 5 may be named Moses.