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The Five


December 1, 2017

Brian McKenna
As you can imagine, it is not uncommon for people to see Jennifer and me, with our harem of daughters, and comment, "You're crazy; five girls?!" or "You must never get to sleep, am I right?!" or "Wait until they are: teenagers, in college, getting married, etc." The obligatory chortle ensues. Occasionally, someone will comment on how nice it must be to have a big family and ask, "What's it like?" To which I honestly reply "Pretty much insane. I can't recall the last time I got a decent night's sleep. Of course, who knows what it's going to be like when they are all in high school, college, or I'm trying to figure out how to pay for five weddings." Again, *chortle*.

In fact, I've actually started to work on the titles of my future books:
  • So, God "Blessed" You with Five Daughters - An Introduction to the Physical and Emotional Anatomy of Girls
  • You Have Five Teenage Girls in Your House, Now What? A Survival Guide
  • What to Expect When You're Not Expecting to be Able to Retire - Paying for Five Degrees and Five Weddings and
  • This is Retirement?! Helping Raise Twenty Some-Odd Grandchildren So Their Parents Can Afford to Take Them to Disney

Amazingly, this whole gig has only recently become manic, thanks in small part to Maeve's arrival, and in large part to Kieran, our two-year-old. We haven't really experienced the "terrible-twos" before, and started to think it was a myth parents propagate in an effort to excuse their miscreants who are disrupting churches, restaurants, movies, etc. Kieran's now two and a half, and we are in terrible-two hell. Folks often comment on how happy they are that we have one who's "finally giving us a run for our money." I don't share the sentiment. It was way easier when the other three had fallen in line at this point, knew the appropriate place to go potty, and could at least share my bed at night without inflicting bruising across disparate parts of my body. Kieran however, does not yet possess any of these qualities. She's constantly testing her boundaries and will opt to put herself in time-out in lieu of requisite apologies. She's recently started going #2 in the potty, but there's no guarantee it will all be in there, which leads to uncertain sniffing in various rooms and stressed conversations over whether it "smells like poop in here". And, while I've never really been bothered to have kids climb in our bed in the middle of the night, I woke up the other morning with Kieran literally climbing across my face to curl up on my back, like a cat, where she promptly fell back asleep.

Of course, Kieran does give tremendous snuggles and makes my heart smile when she says, "Love you much, Daddy". And, after eight years I've come to understand these stages come and go. Heck, I was searching for a file on my computer this morning and came across my folder of pictures Jennifer has e-mailed me from time to time to make me smile, and opened one of Nieve with her first pony tail, and it was taken in 2012! Where has the time gone?! Not only was it tough to think how quickly she's growing up, it was about an hour after she and I had an exasperating disagreement over what defines "moving quickly" en route to her violin practice before school. Looking at that picture was a reminder of not only how fleeting time is, but it made me want to give her a big hug and tell her how much I love her.

Jennifer and I are truly blessed. We have five girls so, sure, there are going to be poop accidents, carelessly spilled milk (though more than one spill at dinner does get trying, especially when it's the same kid every ding dong time), and somewhere down the road we will finally get five hours of uninterrupted sleep. And, in reality, fifteen years from now we will look back at this stretch as the "easy time". In the meantime, the most important thing we can do is try our best to keep a smile on our face and savor every moment. Both the good and the not quite as good...

Author: Brian McKenna
Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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