Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas "Party" with Karen

Owen, Karen, and Kyle this morning before daycare

We (but especially I) often hear from people "I don't know how you do it!" or get asked by people "How do you do it?!" They're referring to the whole 2-career-working-family-with-young-kids-somehow-managing-to-hold-it-all-together-thing. Even other working mothers sometimes say it to me when they learn I have *TWINS* or when they realize how *ACTIVE* Kyle and Owen are. People seem to want some profound explanation from me and I often feel like I'm disappointing them when I reveal that I haven't come up with one yet. So far, I just kind of laugh and shrug and say, "I don't know how we're doing it either!!!!" or "We're just doing it -- and it is sooooooooooooo hard!!!" But the truth is, there are at least two keys to the whole-ball-of-wax that we're very aware of here at the Johnson-McCormick homestead: 1) superb help, and 2) relinquishing all control. The 'relinquishing all control' part was really tough for me at first... but I've become an *EXPERT* at it!!! People have a hard time understanding, for example, how it is that I can let our babysitter Alex go off and running to who-knows-where with my two toddlers in her car every Wednesday afternoon and have no idea where they are. I can see how that's perplexing to a lot of parents. But our life as we know it (including all the really rich and amazing experiences and relationships that Kyle and Owen have) literally would not be possible if I was hung up on the details and in control of it all. This is why #1 ('superb help') is so critical. Superb help requires a lot of research and work and time to find. But once we've got it -- we're set. We have an exceptionally superb daycare, an exceptionally superb babysitter, an exceptionally superb lawn/garden/outdoorsy guy, and an exceptionally superb housecleaner/housekeeper/indoorsy gal. Our housekeeper (we call her that because we believe 100% that she literally KEEPS our house operating!) is Karen. Karen's been taking care of Braydon and I since before we adopted Kyle and Owen... and now she's taking care of all four of us. She comes one morning a week. In the first six months home from Haiti Karen saw the boys more than anyone did other than Braydon and I. She has a special bond with our boys. They adore her. I know people say this a lot, but in this case it is really true: Karen is like part of our family. (I could go on and on about her but I've gotta pack for our trip to New Hampshire for Christmas so I've got to keep this brief -- I'll put it this way: Karen and Braydon and I have had a LOT of really deep conversations together about how absolutely critical her work is to our work and how absolutely critical her life is to our life, and about how the working class are the foundational centerpiece to middle class "achievement," and about how housecleaners and childcare workers are the exploited pillar of upper-class "success" in every arena of life including work family, etc., etc., etc. Like I said, I could go on and on and on...) Anyway, this morning when Karen arrived for her regular Tuesday-morning-visit-with-the-boys-before-cleaning/work/daycare, we had a little Christmas "Party" and exchanged gifts. So, at 8:00 this morning, here was the scene: First Kyle and Owen opened their gifts from Karen...

...Then Kyle and Owen opened Karen's gifts from us (?!!!!!!!!!!!?!!!!):
Then we were all off and running! Thank you Karen for all that you do!!!

1 comment:

Connie said...

Heather, I am always awe-struck by your and Braydon's thoughtful posts. I just wanted to say hi, and wish you and the family a fabulous holiday and safe trip. I will be looking forward to seeing the pics of your 2 cutie pies.
Love from New Jersey,