Ever weary of being an adult?

I was not really quite awake yet last Wednesday when a text beeped in on my phone. A dear friend wanted to let me know that apparently my email had been hacked and while I was asleep, all my contacts were being spammed.  Sigh. The week had already been a busy one and I was heading in to work to coordinate a “poverty simulation” and knew I wouldn’t be at a computer for hours.

I got out of bed to try to send a few emails out before others were tricked too and remember moving as if through mud and thinking to myself, “I am just so tired of all of this.” Weary. Worn out.   It’s different from exhaustion.  I get “exhausted” frequently enough (and experienced that nightly these past few nights while delighting my boys with fun and joy at Disney at the expense of aching feet, mental energy, and my pocketbook!). Exhaustion I know how to handle – as long as I don’t get into my second wind, I do great at catch-up sleep. Usually I can kick exhaustion by morning.

It’s the “weariness” that can be a problem. Last week, I was weary of being an adult. Weary of always being in the driver’s seat and never the passenger’s. Weary from the weight of finances preying upon me (med school loans, car payment to be able to accommodate three boys, day care, private school…..and on and on). Weary from changes at work and the need for new employment. Weary from “bumps” in the opening of a new non-profit that I am co-founding. Weary from the worries of parenting – am I doing it right? Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over? What’s going to happen to these dear ones?

My friend concluded his multiple texts that morning with “Let us not grow weary in doing good….” (Galations 6:9). I needed that. I needed the reminder that it is okay to feel the weary every once in a while, but I cannot stay there. I must not let myself grow weary – for there really is much good to do. And my boys can survive an exhausted mother. We can all press on until that magic hour upon which they fall asleep and I start to rejuvenate. We can make it through exhaustion.

But they cannot survive a weary parent whose soul is attacked. They need me to get back up again. To let the worries shift to the back and let joy shine through. They need me to model peace and joy and teach them how to find it for themselves. This is a high calling – an exhausting one, but a very important one to be sure.

And the combination of weariness, days of exhaustion, and a quick trip to Disney (and a temporarily malfunctioning WordPress site) led to me not posting last week. So I have had a burst of energy tonight after packing up and decided to get two posts up!

Unpacking I love you

In the middle of the field, I stopped a running Micah, knelt down in front of him and tucked in his football shirt before replacing the flag belt around his waist. In that split second of not even thinking about it, I said “I love you.”

Sometimes I wonder if the boys know how much is packed into those 3 little words.

If they know that the “I” is me, a woman who has given up so much of what I used to know and do in order to become someone so completely new and different that sometimes I don’t even recognize myself. Do they know that responding to the word “Mommy” is second nature now, but at one point I actually struggled with having a new name….and a new identity. That I could tell them everything they ate today and the last time they brushed their teeth, but wouldn’t be able to answer many questions about myself.

Do they know that the “love” is so complete and so total – that when I say “forever, for always and no matter what” every night as I tuck them in bed…. that I actually mean that? And it doesn’t mean that I’m happy all the time or that I am at all pleased with them in those moments when they pee on the floor because they don’t want to clean up the toys….and yet I still love them. Sometimes Noah knows it – for when I was “displeased” with his behaviors at bedtime tonight and kept a frown on, he finally asked “are you ready to smile yet?” He knows the love is there….right there.

Can they understand that the “you” refers to the entire beautiful, delightful, energetic and winsome little boy that they are? That they are each unique and fantastic. That it is not based on anything except the fact that they are my Micah, Noah and Seth and that I love them.

motherhood

From Huffington Post

So when I look into Micah’s eyes and whisper “I love you,” I hold within me so much — he can’t even imagine the depth of the phrase. He doesn’t know that in the same moment, my brain is also saying “wow – this is hard.” That I’m wondering whether I’m doing the right thing.  Even in the small things – do I have him in the right sports at this time? Is he getting out of it what he needs to? How can I get him to stop fiddling with the mouth piece the entire time he’s on the field and maybe look up for a minute and see if he should be catching a ball.

And in the big things when I worry about what school they will go to? When I wonder if I’m balancing work and mothering at the right level? When I silently thank God that my children are so healthy as I walk through the hospital hallway ?

Yesterday was the party for Micah’s 7th birthday. A friend who has four boys all around the same age and I sat on the side of the sandbox and talked for a bit in between dodging flying scoops of sand and settling property-rights disputes. She said “sometimes I wonder if I had to do it all over again, would I?” I know those words and those thoughts. I know that mothering is my greatest challenge.  I know the struggle of trying to do what’s right for the boys and yet not knowing really what that is. I know the weariness.  I have also started to remind myself – shortly around the time that I’m reminding myself to be jello – that it should get better in another couple years – once they can all use words instead of intonation to get their points across, are able to handle personal hygiene without my assistance physically or in repetitive verbal prompts, and when 5 minutes of quiet within the house does not herald a serious sense of foreboding and impending doom.

Yes, I know the weariness.

Sometimes in my work in setting up a crisis nursery as a break for stressed families, I use an analogy that I recently heard – families in stressful situations are trying to get a sip of water out of a gushing fire hydrant. They want a simple drink, but life is coming at them so fast and so hard that there’s no chance of stabilizing, making a good decision, or reflecting on how to make the right changes and do the right thing.

Then I look up and see the fire hydrant right in front of me.