Here I stand, wobbily at best, in this season of motherhood on the verge of stepping onto the slippery slope of an almost welcomed deranged psychosis. As appealing as it is, I'm trying desperately to maintain my grasp on sanity. I remain, however, frozen at this fork in the road one foot firmly planted on the side of calm, serene, normalness and one foot sinking uncontrollably on the path leading down a labyrinth filled with hectic busyness, uncertainties and overwhelming mania. I'm quite literally on the very edge looking over a chasm of the deep dark abyss of chaos, schedules, To-Do's, expectations, letting go's, and obligations. It's been a long 3 and half months of being the one and only functioning adult managing this less-than-tiny dynasty of boys. And slowly but surely the weight of all of it has gotten heavier and heavier and exhaustion has become my new normal. There is a foggy haze that has enveloped me, and I am desperately trying to decipher the dim lights of the EXIT sign.
Don't get me wrong; I am not crying out for help. Honestly, I don't even know how to do that even if it was necessary. What I am doing is screaming as loudly as I can muster a need for a reprieve, a break, a moment to exhale. Six kids brings with it six times everything and even though I do the lion's share of "kid duty" when Captain Hubby is in the same country, I at least have a battle buddy that's willing to get down and dirty in the trenches with me and take on every battle that parenthood throws our way. It's a sense of not being alone in the day to day process that we call life. As much as I am an introvert, I am drowning in this sea of lonliness.
Honestly, I need a hug. A long, strong hug from stronger-than-mine arms; arms that can carry the weight that I'm struggling to hold up; arms that bring with them ears to hear without judgement all that has my mind spinning and twisting and tying into knots; arms that bring soothing words of God- breathed scripture void of suggestion, opinion or observation. I'm quite aware of all I'm doing wrong. No need for it to be highlighted. I just need...need to not be the only one in this village that's raising these young men; need to not hear "just ask for help" because I don't know how or even what to ask help with; need to have the bravery to lighten my load without letting the devil heap mom-guilt onto my plate; need to figure out how on earth a mother let's her child leave the nest without holding on for dear life; need strong steady arms that squeeze tight, tight enough that the tears I never let see the light of day feel safe enough to escape and release their burden on my soul. Because my soul is tired...so tired.
Be that as it may, there's no time to pout and count my "whoa is me's" because I'm a mom. And being a mama means doing your absolute best to meet the needs of your children. This is not just shelter, food, water and clean clothes. It so much more than that. And its becoming quite apparent that solo parenting isn't God's design because my children's needs are not being met. One sweet little boy cries daily. There simply isn't enough of me to go around, physically, mentally, or emotionally, and he desperately needs his daddy. I have another trying-to-be-a-man boy that has found himself lost- surprisingly lost without the constant, daily tough love followed with jokes-only-dad-can-make presence of his Father. And for whatever reason, I wasn't prepared for my kiddos to struggle during this experience. Sometimes I forget that they are just little people in this big old world and have far less life experience and defense mechanisms to help them through. For me to focus completely on those 2 kiddos has left the other 4 lost in the middle of existing and being forgotten. Nothing about this is fair...or easy...or going quickly...or "been there done that". No amount of deployments or TDY's makes a family experts in the area. Each age, each child and each situation is different every single time. That realization alone is enough to drop me to my knees, but when I add the actual reality of having to manage and deal with all the children, ages and circumstances I've realized how inadequately equipped I am to be Momming alone.
So day by day and sometimes hour by hour is how I'm existing. I'd love to think that it'll get easier once we get through this valley, but I know all too well that life never slows down. We DO have six kids, afterall. And short of pulling them out of all extra-curricular activities- which just so happens to be my one and only viable option, one I'm actually considering, I can't see a moment of refuge in our future. So my daily routine has seemed to suffice in soothing my nerves and anxiety, however simplistic that sounds. But more and more I've discovered that there's less and less time in the day for all the things that need my attention. There's less and less time with my oldest son before he leaves for college. There's less and less time to help my boys grow up and grow tougher while dad is gone. There's less and less time for me to remember to set the example and teach the lessons that need to be learned. And such is life...that's how it goes...and by what we overcome and conquer during hard times is what we will hopefully be able to pass along to the children desperately clinging to us during our shared storm.
And that's life. It is what it is. We all do our best with what we have. But sometimes hugs should be given without request and without worry. Because sometimes a strong and heart-felt hug just might save a mama from stepping over the edge.