Today was a rough day for me. Well, let me say that yesterday was rough, and I was still feeling completely overwhelmed and exhausted today. But, the thing about having two small children is that they don’t really know or care about how you are feeling. Nothing against them, they’re cute and wonderful and all, but they’re not really gonna “go easy” on you because you’re feeling tired and depressed. The house had gotten progressively messier through this week (amazing how it really only takes a couple days of not “tending to” a house to have it completely thrashed when small children live there) and anyway, the mess was also feeling overwhelming and starting to make me depressed. The morning chatter over the baby monitor had grown into a more insistent whine and when it became a cry, I knew I’d better get myself out of bed and downstairs to greet my little morning glories. Jude in all his wonderful “two-ness” greeted me with whines and cries and Evie joined in in stereo. I just couldn’t take it any longer, and the morning had only just started. I snapped at my son and yelled at him, telling him to stop whining, Mommy couldn’t handle it.
His little eyes looked up at me from the changing table and filled with tears. I’d somehow managed to never yell at him before, and he’s a sensitive little guy, just like his daddy. I brought my face close to his, kissing him, telling him I was sorry for yelling, just really tired today. I finally got the crying to stop through the ancient art of toddler distraction… “Jude, do you want to make mommy some coffee?” And just like that, he happily finished changing into his underwear and ran out into the kitchen to make me a cup (before you get all DFACS on me, it’s a keurig coffee maker, and he’s done it a million times with me watching. He’s more cautious than even I am about hot drinks).
I finished getting Evie ready for the day, and sat on the floor with her, wondering where the heck her water spray bottle and hair clips basket had gone to. Fixing my daughter’s hair had been a small joy and distraction that I had grown to enjoy in these past few weeks. She’d gone to bed with her hair in pigtails because I’d been too tired and it was too late by the time we got home yesterday to administer a bath, and so now her head looked like she’d stuck her finger in a light socket. And I couldn’t for the life of me find her hair stuff! It may sound silly, seeing as the mess around me was getting to the point that we would soon not be able to find the floor, but this was important to me. Somehow, it felt important that Evie’s hair was “done”. It meant I was on top of things enough and my life wasn’t falling apart at the seams. Her hair was embarrassing to look at, and while some might think it was cute, these half kinked dents in her pulled out pigtails, to me it was another feeling of just one more part of my life that I just couldn’t keep together. It was just one more way that I was falling apart.
Now I know. My husband has cancer, I’m fighting to get several very large insurance issues sorted out in the precious hours provided me by babysitters and naptimes, and oh yeah, we did just move into a new house only a couple of months ago. I kind of have a good reason to have a messy house, messy children, and a pretty messy life right now. But while by no means am I a neat freak, the mess around me was much more indicative of the mess inside. I have felt so terribly isolated during so much of this. I live near many family and friends, but everyone’s lives are busy, and mine is so unpredictable, it’s been impossible to stay connected with any regularity to just about anyone. I make plans to do fun things with my children, only to have them derailed by a need to sort through medical bills. I want to take a walk with my husband and the dog to enjoy the beautiful weather, but radiation has wiped him out, and he’s suddenly feeling nauseous.
I looked around at the mess on my floors, and feeling the mess in my heart. My heart hurts. I ache. And I have a two year old who is calling my name. I called Kevin to see if he knew where Evie’s hair things were. I also asked if it was a busy day, and if he might be able to come home for a bit. He said he would if I really needed him, but I could tell in his voice that there was a lot going on that day, and I also knew pragmatically that Kevin really needed to save his days off for the next stage of the battle. I told him I wasn’t doing too well, but I’d figure out a way to push through for one more day.
That’s the thing. Some days, some hours, I feel like I’m doing pretty well. But then things swing the other way. All perfectly normal given the current circumstances, but difficult nonetheless. I wake up and feel like I would have trouble making it through the day without two very needy little ones. I wake up feeling like, if only I could have a “sick” day, I could recover a little bit, and I might be able to make it through. But mommies don’t get sick days. I wake up and know, that for today, I must push on. I force myself not to think about tomorrow, and tomorrow’s tomorrows, because, as Jesus tells us, tomorrow has enough worries for itself. I focus, pray, and put my head down, and try to make it through just one more day.
Funny how God knows, though, exactly the things you need. This morning the mess was so bad inside, that after feeding my kids leftovers from last night’s dinner, I retreated to the front porch with my littles. Oh, how I adore that front porch. My father built an amazing picnic table for us on one end, and hung a porch swing for us on the other. Throw in a few painted garage sale rockers, chain everything down (even picnic tables have been known to walk away in neighborhoods like ours), and it’s an entire other outdoor room. Even in the rain, I can sit on our covered porch and taste and see God’s creation. I can breathe in His beauty in the gentle breeze, and oddly, all three of us started to feel a little better.
Jude notices that the daffodils have finally bloomed (we got the bulbs in super late, so I think they’ll always be our late bloomers) and he decides that we need to take some pictures. I talk to him about smelling the flowers, and he immediately orders me to smell the “dils” and he will “take picture”.
From the mouths of babes, they remind us of God’s true desires for us. I breathe a little more deeply, smell that lovely little daffodil, and Jude snaps a picture. He enjoys playing with the filters in instagram and sending the picture to our friends. Oh, how fast he is growing, and how mornings like this, that start out so rotten, turn into these precious moments to hang onto.
Don’t wish this time away, Rachel! Listen to your words here. Do not. wish it. away. These moments, this season, it is important. God has a plan for every moment of our lives. Whether or not this was something He orchestrated, He is in control, and we are to trust in Him alone.
God’s blessings continued to come today in the form of an old high school friend who brought her family to visit and a meal for dinner. Jude had a blast playing with her adorable boys, and I enjoyed some adult ears for a few short hours. Also, the promise of “company” gave me enough motivation to get the living room clear enough that you could see the floor again. Well, mostly. And I even might have done a load of dishes. But the laundry, well that will have to wait for another day. God works miracles in so many ways, maybe I’ll wake up in the morning and it will all have disappeared. Treasure these moments, and be overwhelmed.