We’ve reached the point of no return.
Our new “normal” has descended upon us and looks less like choice and more like a forced house arrest, the punishment for a crime I don’t remember committing. Don’t get me wrong, yes this can be viewed as a gift of time with our kids, a blessing of slowing down and simplifying life and a chance to enjoy more moments with our family…less rat-race and more quiet time, less To Do’s and more family games, less schedules and more time with God. But some of those things that there are now less of were, forgive me for saying, a blessing in and of themselves. School was a routine and calm and scheduled learning from qualified educators who loved my kids. And…well, we are missing that. We miss school, schedules, friends, teachers, activities. There! I said it! We are missing all of that. It was taken. And in return I wasn’t given time or rest or calm. I was given disorder, confusion, frustration, madness. Be kind to those who aren’t frolicking in the woods with their children right now. Some of us have kids who are dealing with a lot, and we probably haven’t shared that struggle with you...because well, you would probably greet my struggle with a “enjoy the blessing”, “take a deep breath”, “learn something new”.
I approached this whole “uncertain times” with excitement and positive energy if I’m being quite honest. I had all of these grand, euphoric ideas of what I would do with my kids, what we would learn together, and the many Hallmark moments we would share smiling at each other and proclaiming our love and enjoyment of each other’s company. None of that is happening. I’m overwhelmed. I. Am. Overwhelmed. I’m out of my league. I’m exhausted. I worry that MY kids will be the ones grossly behind next school year because they had a mom who couldn’t do it right, do it better, impart more knowledge and wisdom, do it happier and with more creativity. And after all that runs through my head, I’m left wondering why? Why am I struggling so much? Why can’t we figure this out? Maybe my kids aren’t actually as smart and as capable as I thought.
I push those thoughts and feelings further and further down because if I let them cripple me and I allow myself to sit in that “unknown and lost” place for too long things won’t get done. If I don’t run this show who will? Nobody has time for a Mama breakdown. So, I keep going. I keep smiling even if it doesn’t reach my soul. It’s easier to lie and express how “blessed” I am and to share a funny family debacle to make you feel like “all is ok" then it is to choose to admit the struggle. There’s always someone who wants to judge or give observation of my perception of “hard”; someone always has suggestions or advice of how I can parent and teach my kids better; there will always be someone who comments about how strong or tough I am. That’s easy to say. Easy to see, I suppose. Sometimes "tough" is a burden, however. Constantly proclaiming how "tough" someone is or how well they handle things disallows any sort of admittance of struggle, discomfort or negative emotion. And yet, I do struggle. How I struggle, indeed. To cover the uncomfortable display of "struggle", I wear the cover of "I've got this" because it's what is absolutely expected of me. But oh, the battle that wages behind closed doors can be quite difficult...even for the "tough".
Don't misconstrue my words. My kids are fine…they are safe; they run around in their underwear most days wreaking havoc on what was once a clean and organized home. It’s me. I’m the one, the one struggling the most; the one with the burden of teaching, molding, embracing, empathizing, pushing, directing, cooking, cleaning, praying. All me. And I’m sure that isn’t much unlike any other home. I’m not unique or special or “the chosen one”. There are days I want to hide, but there is no corner in which to hide that my kids cannot sniff me out- because I rarely get a shower. I wake before the sun and there is still no time for me to take care of me. Filling your cup is hard when there are holes in it. But I hold a very valuable title: MOM; I don’t take it lightly. And with that title tattooed across my chest, I rise daily with shoulders squared, jaw clenched, smile affixed, hair atop my head ready to teach, train, mold, and love my smallish clan of men.
Yesterday was hard. It was. But yesterday was just a small moment in my time with these little humans. I’m in it for the long run, after all. With forgiveness granted after hugs and a heartfelt “I’m sorry” from mom to babe, we’ve started yet another day filled with some laughter, probably tears, learning and hopefully a smile or two that resonated deeply within each child. I can’t win every day. That’s a laughable concept that I learned long ago doesn’t exist. I refuse to set that expectation for my babes. We fall. We fail. We try. We get up, wipe the blood and tears and try again.
But every now and then as Moms and sisters and friends and humans traversing this world together, it’s ok to offer hugs that hold on a little longer than normal; words that are less “you can do this”, “you’ve got this” and more “this sucks”, “I’m sorry”, “do you need to talk”. The load can be heavy at times; we truly have no idea what each person is bearing. I cry very little but yesterday I cried. I held my babe and we cried together.
And it’s ok.
I cried out to the Lord awake in bed most of the night asking for His help, His wisdom, His comfort. And today…He brought me sunshine because it soothes my soul.
Maybe my kids and I won’t emerge with A’s for effort at the end of this.
And that’s ok.
If we can walk through this with more patience for each other, a deeper walk with God, funny stories of science experiments gone wrong, brother’s reminiscing of the laughs shared at each other’s expense while dawning flashy underwear or stories of Nerf gun and airsoft gun battles in the backyard, THEN WE WIN.
Make no mistake, we lost.
We lost for sure.
But, oh think of the things we will have won.