I am exhausted.
We spent the weekend in South Bend, Indiana, cheering for our beloved Notre Dame. Hotels are no fun with kids, so we rented a house with our best friends Laura and Dan (who have three kids the same ages as Evie, Mack and Vivian). The house was awesome, but none of the kids slept well that first night, so we’ve all been playing catch up on sleep ever since.
We spent Saturday tailgating before the game. We found a great spot and set up for what promised to be a hot but totally fun day. Apparently, Mack had a different idea. His behavior is entirely dependent upon three things: 1) sleep, 2) sugar consumption, and 3) he needs to have a feeling of “control”. If any of the above are outside his limit of tolerance, he turns into a different kid. He had no sleep the night before, tailgate food is processed garbage and he had to “go with the flow”. Hurricane Mack blew down, and I had to hold on for dear life! All I wanted to do was run away to a day spa. After plenty of stares from others, an hour, and a time out in the car seat, he felt better. I was emotionally spent, but we managed to enjoy the rest of the day.
Saturday night, with Chris passed out in Mack’s bed and Laura out with her family, Dan and I talked about how different a game weekend is now that there are six kids along for the ride. No more late night bar hopping and sleeping in until 10. We were now so tired. And, we didn’t get a good chance to talk with the friends we traveled to see. We didn’t drink as many beers, didn’t eat as many brats, or cheer as loud with every touch down.
But, then it dawned on me. Exhausting weekends like this are what help build a family. Mack was beyond tired and had eaten too many processed foods and had absolutely no control over the direction of the day, and he lashed out. He needed me to counterbalance all those other things that weren’t going in his favor. He needed to know I was there, even if he pushed me to the edge of tears. In that moment our family grew a little tighter. I’m glad we took the kids to Notre Dame. I’m glad we introduced them to the traditions we love so much. Even if it was more work than we’d like to remember.
Years from now, when we think back to our annual trips to Notre Dame with the kids, I know we will only remember the good times. Mack climbing trees with other little boys his age:
Evie and her BFF sharing secrets and pretending to be real cheerleaders:
Vivian being adorably chased for a hug by the other little 18 month old at the tailgate:
Sometimes I ask my mom how she made it through the long, hard, exhausting days, and she always tells me she just doesn’t remember those times. When she thinks back to our childhoods, she remembers the cute questions and lazy snuggles and extra hugs. Something tells me that’s what I’ll remember, too.
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