When I tell people I have 3 boys, no girls, their eyes widen a little and then I hear the inevitable "Wow, you have your hands full!". That is a Truth. Not a Mom's wisdom truth like "if you touch Dad's tools, you'll be grounded" or "if you keep eating your Halloween candy, it'll make you sick". No a Truth with a capital T....the earth is round, if you wash your car it will rain, boys will make "shooters" out of any materials even if they have never seen a gun in real life or on tv. Written in stone Truths. If you have more than one son, you have your hands full. Period. End of discussion. I understand how it must look when we are at Walmart and they are bored and I have run out of my "keep them busy in public" ideas. I have been the exploding Mom, the ignoring the behavior Mom, and the "One more time" Mom (if I have to tell you one more time to stop crawling under the clothes racks!). To my DEEPEST shame I have also been the bribery Mom (if you just stand still and not touch anything while I check out, I will buy you ANY candy you want!). I remember an instance of sitting at Chick Fil A with my friend who has 3 boys the exact same age as my own. We noticed a mom with 2 girls sitting near us. We couldn't stop staring. The girls sat there eating and talking to each other. You might read this and think "Big deal, so what?" But my boys have NEVER sat there and ate the meal while talking to each other. First of all, they are shouting over each other trying to be heard because boys don't seem to have a volume control. Then the shouting turns into demonstrating what they are talking about. Now that leads to at least one drink getting spilled and NOT by that drink's owner so the shouting now becomes angry (not excited) and accusatory. This mom was able to have a phone conversation while her girls sat there, ate and talked quietly. A phone conversation!!! My friend and I can barely hold a conversation with each other face to face over the ruckus at our table. Once we locked the children in the play area (just kidding....maybe) and could finally talk, all we could talk about was how the mom could have a phone conversation in her children's presence.
When someone refers to my hands being full, my responses tend to differ with how my mood and the children's behavior varied that day. Sometimes it is the bone weary "Yes I do have my hands full (excuse me while I collapse from exhaustion now)." Other times it's the hair sticking out, crazed eyes "Yes I do have my hands full but they are free to a good home, if you like! Okay, I'll pay you to take them.....Pleeeeeeeeze!" But the best days are the humorous days where I reply "Yes I do have my hands full" while in my mind I am thinking that I can't wait for Daddy to get home so I can tell him about the hysterically funny thing they did/said that day.
That is what this weekend brings to mind. Being a master tech mechanic's wife has it's ups and downs. I am overly aware of abnormal smells and sounds coming from my van's engine. I know some people who, barring regular oil changes, never go the the mechanic and their car runs fine for years. We as a mechanic's family don't have that kind of luck. The good thing is it gets fixed at the house and saves us a ton of money. BUT have you ever heard the saying "The cobblers children have no shoes" or something similar? Well it is categorically true for mechanics as well. Our cars are always in need of something fixed but if it can wait, it WILL wait. For those of you starting to get confused about Z's job, he was a mechanic until he decided to go full-time Army Reserves Captain. So he is a Captain in the Army Reserves, but when this tour is up, he could go back to being a master tech mechanic if he so chooses. So back to my story. I pull up to my MOPS meeting parking lot and smell a SUPER strong coolant smell. I text the hubby and he says as long as it's not overheating, he'll look at it at home. So I get it safely home (oh darn, couldn't go to the torture chamber...uh I mean the gym. What a shame!) and he says no problem, I've got all Saturday to work on it. So we spend all day Saturday as a family outside, Z working on the van and me trying to keep the kids away from his tools and machines. Finally this morning when our youngest almost causes the jack to drop the van down on Z's legs, I lose it. I tell Zack "Stay away from the van and away from Daddy's stuff!" He says, "But I'm helping!" Then a moment of inspiration from God happens. We are talking ray of sunshine shining down on me, angels singing, the works. I tell Zacky to "go get your own tools and work on your tool bench!" This tool bench was a yard sale find about 6 years ago. I have been thinking about getting rid of it, but every time I do, Zack seems to know and spends the next 2 days playing with it. So he ran over to the tool bench and starts getting out his tools. Next thing I know, he and his brothers are "fixing" his tricycle. Then Zacky starts working on "his car" which is a big red plastic wagon. I had to redirect them from the van a couple of times, but it was a lot easier than it had been before. My husband likes to tell me about the stuff he's repairing, so I try to not to be obvious about my eyes glazing over. He started explaining to me about the coolant leak and distributor cap and other car stuff. I nodded and said "yeah?" with enough lilt in my voice that he was completely fooled into thinking that I will retain this precious mechanical wisdom. When he went back under the van, I sighed with relief, did a head count of the kids to see where the boys were and went back to my book. All of a sudden Zacky came up to me and started narrating to me that his "stributor" cap was bad so he fixed it and "his" car had a leak and he fixed that too. "Oh and look at my blue wrench Momma, it's as big as Daddy's wrench over there." He then went back to his oh-so-important repairs and I sat back in my chair thinking. I may not have the cute clothes and cute tea parties, but I have cute car fixing and "come look at this weird bug!" and cute mini-manly moments.
I tried 3 times for that ever-elusive girl. Okay, try is too directed of a word. Baby number 1 was a surprise blessing that once the test came back positive, we just prayed and prayed for a girl. Nope, we saw what the nurse referred to as "turtle sign" on the sonogram. We were planning on trying for baby number 2 (the girl) about six months from the conversation because I was going to lose weight first. Bwaaahahahahahahahahaha! Okay now pick yourself off the floor and stop laughing so you can finish reading this. Turns out at the time of the conversation, baby number 2 was already a bun in the oven. Prayer for a girl was rampant in the family, but once again we were thwarted by that "turtle sign" sonogram. I think God just laughed at us. We weren't even sure we were going to try again for another baby and BAM!!! Baby number 3 pops up on the radar. Or sonogram....whatever. So trying for a girl isn't the correct term for us. Praying fervently that there was a girl growing inside of my gigantoid belly is more of a correct description of our mental state.
I get my estrogen fix in other ways. I hold my MOPS friends' babies. I coo and cuddle and giggle over the little ballerina socks and pink blankies. I go to girlfriends nights out. I bug my sister and sister-in-law to have girls. Oh and I am getting a puppy. A FEMALE puppy. I am doing a presidential veto on this one. No more males entering this house except on a day pass if I can help it.
So yes, I do have my hands full but as long as I can doggy-paddle my way through this testosterone soup that is my life, I think it'll be okay. Hands full? Yup! Heart full? Absolutely!