Mornings around here start out with a nearly peculiar amount of peace and quiet. Around 5am inside our mountain home near the Crest of the Blue Ridge little stirs in the wee hours. That is except my wife Pam who by my wake-up has been rolling for an hour or more. Her fleeting fingers in a whirl across her computer firing data via satellite to several servers that know no rest. The servers are located in Pam and her partner Melissa’s secret downtown headquarters. It is there that the combined efforts of several dozen employees situated in five states and the District of Columbia converge at a silent, shaded city locale. All these coordinated from somewhere way up in the hills where the air is sweeter and life just a wee bit neater.
Rolling down the long stairs, having hazily greeted my already busy spouse, my way is straight to the fresh coffee that is waiting. Ground with care some hours before, the black and silver high tech brewer having been programmed with precision to jump start my day to the appropriate R.P.M.’s needed for an at home dad of seven with a set of Quadruplets in the middle.
This early, easy time is set aside for pronderance, prayer, caffeine and a quick check of current events. A sweet morning respite set in the calm of a large, warm and temporarily silent family room. All to allow for my much recommended emotional, psychical, spiritual and intellectual refocusing that is so needed after one of our “average” days and before the next.
You see, 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, several showers, a slew of tooth brushing, the removal of 20 pounds of “jammies”, donning of 40 pounds of clean “school clothes” one quarter mile trip to the bus stop and a quick jaunt to pre-school will all occur in the 90 minutes following. Of course there are always multiple questions, several side tracks and special instructions particular to that day’s special activities. Not to mention a few chores, at least one false start and some adjustment or the other for weather conditions. Usually meaning either, “Yes, I said you need a jacket!”, “No, it’s raining, no flip-flops!” or the classic “Those are your brothers shorts, that is why they are so tight and you need long pant!”
Once this bit of introductory goings-on are settled it is time for a deep breath. It never fails around then that the growing green beauty that rolls into blue hued peaks just past the little church and country store across the pond and pasture always steals my attention for a quick moment. After this it is time to deal with the upkeep of 8 horses, eight dogs, Lord knows how many spayed and neutered cats; I am guessing around 8, a smattering of cattle and all the other things that need attention on a 40 acre mountain farm.
Now do not get me wrong. On most mornings Pam and I are able go about several pleasant mutual activities and responsibilities. Sadly many of these have been compressed between doctors, therapy and occasional medical procedures for the last several months. All of which the result of someone running a most conspicuous country stop sign and our unexpected deceleration from 40 M.P.H. to 0 M.P.H. in about .8 seconds. Yea, this slows you down for some time to come but it has not stopped us or our mini-mega-family of nine. It has just added a bit more unwelcomed challenge.
You see the moral of this story is that life is a challenge. Raising higher order multiples, running a mid-sized small business, at home daddying, overcoming a bit of pain, bush-hogging the back twenty all might seem a bit daunting and it is. You have to take those moments, deep breaths and sweet respites. In them the blessings given and beauty surrounding awaits to be appreciated. Chock full of healthy perspectives and a selfless sense of purpose that comes from being thankful. I know Pam and I are one lucky couple here at the Crest of the Blue Ridge. Even if our days are way full, our strides temporarily a bit slower and most of them still up hills and down.
Taking this quick peek at our world, whether you see the challenges, the blessings or both understand that we are all pretty much the same. Just in a different place, with a different scene outside our windows. So, take a bit of hybrid-hillbilly advice and take your own moment to breath it all in. City, country or suburb surroundings make little difference. What you do on behalf of that next group of at home dads, moms, parents, entrepreneurs and busy adults of the future is your chance to bless back in the face of all your blessings. If you will stop and look just past challenges you will see them right there. Asking those questions, putting on the wrong pants and wearing their flip-flops out into the rain.
MikeP (The Quadfather)