It is 10 pm.  I am tired.  My husband is already asleep and I just got my kids in their rooms, quiet.  Whether or not they will stay there is doubtful.  But a mother can pray.

Our plan was to get the kids to bed at 7:30 pm, go out on our property this evening, start a little fire, and spend some quality time relaxing and having  a few drinks on this mild Texas evening.  We wanted to listen to crickets fight for airspace with the frogs; the dogs in the neighborhood bark goodnight to each other, and the leaves rustle in the gentle night breeze.

We wanted to talk, laugh, tell old stories, catch up with new ones and relish in what we have created.  We wanted to discuss whether the children would go to the daycare at the new Church we are attending tomorrow, or would we want them with us…  safely nestled in our arms.  Possibly interrupting the entire service.

We wanted time together.

But our children, true to form, had other plans.

At first it was ok that we failed to get them down at 7:15.  We got drawn into a movie on TV and the three of them played in each other’s rooms…  laughter drifting out to greet us occasionally.  Every so often we would look at each other and smile a little.  A sign between us to say “we did good”.  That all was well, and everyone was happy and content.  A family occupying the same space in which to relax and play and just be.

And then, at one point, I looked at my husband.  He had mentioned several times during the day that he was not feeling all that great.  It was starting to show.  And with his being under the weather comes a shorter fuse, less patience, and a need to have quiet.

Right about the time the kids were starting to get tired,  that playing with their sisters rooms had become boring, and the acting out for attention began.  Not at all a good combination.

So I started the very overdue routine of getting them all to bed.  The protests were loud, often, and frankly, annoying.  I sensed that the entire day was about to blow up in my face and when Katie threw a book at my head in utter despair and frustration, my hunch was confirmed.

Sure enough, by the time I got them all to their rooms – my husband included, begrudgingly admitting to myself that yet another night to reconnect was ruined – I was exhausted, frustrated, and near tears.

It does not help that during this post, Katie and Sarah have come out 6 times between the two of them…  making me even less thrilled with them.  Each time they come out, I turn more and more into that mean Mommy that I always promised – before kids – I would never be.

If I had only known then what I know now.

As it quiets around here and the dark night settles in around me, I know that this is not the way I planned this evening.  It is not the outcome of a happier ending.

It is reality.

Children dictate our plans…  despite husbands that need attention…  and Mommies who need time to talk.

But it is far and few anymore the times that it actually happens.

I suppose I’ll open a beer, assess the damage to my house today, take a deep breath, and tackle the dishes.  The laundry needs folding as well, and the living and play areas need tidying.  My floors have not been mopped in a few days, and I really should scrub the toilets…  especially the kids.

So instead of sitting out, under the stars that we used to wish upon, and relishing in the amazing talents of God, I’ll clean the house while they sleep.

And maybe even write a late night post.