Sunday, March 5, 2017

Just Me And The Lorax

I think I was born in the wrong time period. Quite honestly, I've felt that way for as long as I can remember. My soul, my very most inner being longs for a much simpler time. A time of more community, sock hops, malt shops, and drive inn movies. A time when small communities were the thing- alive and thriving! Ma and Pop shops were on every corner and people actually got together in person for that thing called "socializing". Less schedules and more picnics on a blanket in the park. Less social media and more meeting for coffee and donuts. More lemonade stands without worry about safety of the kiddos running it.

Call me an old soul, traditional, or crazy. Whichever. It doesn't change the fact that my soul yearns for porch swings and acres for my boys-in-the-hood to roam, build, destroy and grow. I want a quiet country road that sings of birds, dust and wild flowers. I want kids on bikes, pick up games of flag football and fresh cookies in my oven. Falling asleep under a big oak tree while reading a good book and the sun warms my skin sounds like the best afternoon.

That's what my childhood was filled with. Laughter, hay bales and bike rides- riding so fast and so hard we thought our legs would fall off. No worries about juggling our sports' schedules and practice times. We swam at the local pool daily; all our friends meeting up at the corner, dropping our bikes and rushing in with towels over our shoulders. Never concerned about what would come later. Ahhh. It calls to me.

Maybe it's because life as an adult isn't nearly as ideological as we make it out to be as teens; or maybe it's because all the weight of parenting is on me right now in this season; or maybe I truly have an old, old soul. I'm not sure what it is that pulls my heart. Overwhelming feelings, schedules and emotions probably brings out the desire for simple in all of us. But for me, it almost pushes me over the edge. I don't like to be so busy that we can't fit in a family meal around the table. I don't enjoy rushing to event after event. I don't enjoy not sitting and reading stories with my children. I thrive in long, lazy days in the warmth of summer. I love spending those days with my kiddos, eating popsicles quicker than they can melt and deciding if we are going to go to the pool or run through the sprinkler. It truly is what I enjoy. I have no desire to run any kind of rat race, punch anyone else's clock or miss out on any moment- no matter how small- that pops up in my boys' lives. I'm selfish like that I guess. I want all their moments; every single one. I don't want to miss out on any. And lately, the running around, jostling people from one practice to another, filling my calendar up with everyone's schedules and the sort just doesn't seem to offer the same appeal as it has in years past.

Give me a swing under my tree and the sweet sounds of laughter of my kids and I've found my happiest of dwelling places. I would have enjoyed being a parent in another generation because I have no desire to serve anyone outside my home. I want to cook and sew and bake desserts and make my home a peaceful retreat for all seven of the boys I've been blessed with in my life. Give me a 100 year old farm house with some acreage and oak trees and you may never ever see me again. It is where my old soul wants to be for eternity.

Just me, my boys and some trees.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hug it Out

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.

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.