I actually don't really know how to start this blog post so I'm just going to dive right in and see what comes out....
Last year as the school year was coming to a close I was literally waking up every morning wishing it to be night so that the MOUNTAIN of work that needed to be accomplished would be completed. I crawled to the end of the year like a hiker climbing to the summit of Mt Everest (I know you all want to homeschool now)! I did a terrible job this summer of resting and refueling because, hell, 5 kids and that little thing of starting a business. I decided that these last few weeks leading up to the school year I would do my damnedest to intentionally rest (I laugh as I type that). I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a random novel by an author I enjoyed reading in the past. If you know me, reading is hard, not because I can't, but because it requires sitting still for long periods of time....I really should stop yelling at my kids for their inability to sit still.
Ironically this week was the slowest we've had all summer and probably the most miserable my children have been because I didn't care if they were bored or on their screens, but this compounded my mommy guilt. My kids are brats that can't play independently, whine all the time, are ungrateful and can't exist without a screen in front of them. Clearly my mothering is the result of these horrid humans I am raising. All week (as I read my mindless novel) I thought, "I really should pick up that parenting book, or search pinterest for the newest and best chore chart. Or maybe their is a new organization system I could use to simplify my life." In God's great providence I just kept reading my novel.
I won't tell you the name of the novel (unless you are dying to know, then you can just message me) just in case you happen upon it one day, I don't want to ruin it for you. As I read it, it starts as two teenage girls, one with a super hard life, and how their lifetime friendship began. The novel goes on to show how these girls stayed connected, but lead drastically different lives. One chose a life of public success and fame and the other the life of a stay at home mom (a mom is the important part of this), put her "dreams" on hold and raised her family. As I read and "watched" the years pass, the author did an extraordinary job of allowing the reader to see the quiet places every mom (I assume) goes to. That place of feeling like you work all day, like all day, and at the end you have almost nothing to show for it. The idea that you are the glue that holds everything together, but just like that elmers glue, it becomes invisible while still holding tight. The crushing guilt that you are trying to do it all, be it all and give it all, but it still isn't enough....you are still failing. You watch this mom fade into the background, forget to take care of herself, sacrifice all for her family, and yet still be wildly happy.....these are her people, this is her purpose.
So, to ruin the story, if you ever read it, she ends up getting cancer at 44....As I read each detail of how the author paints this characters last days it rocked me to the core. The irony, its a stupid novel. I was a pediatric nurse, I held mothers as their babies died, I have been to third world countries and seen how hard life can be, the problem, I can compartmentalize. The irony is, I think "who am I to complain when my life is so full and rich." The irony is, not letting myself go there, and sometimes that makes me miss it. I get lost in the to dos. I get so mad at all the messes and the little humans that make them. I harshly tell my little people to "hurry up" when they are just being sweet little, slow, carefree babies. I wish for bedtime so my house will stay picked up for more that 10 minutes. I am wishing this precious time away, and for what? One of the last paragraphs in the books is a section this character wrote in a journal to her family which says, "Here's what I want you to know. I loved my life. For so long I was waiting for it to start, waiting for more. It seemed like all I did was drive and shop and wait. But you know what? I didn't miss a thing with my family. Not a moment. I was there for all of it. That's what I'll remember." This part hit home for me (and praying to Jesus I don't die at 44). I want to sit in it. I want to feel it. I want to look back and not feel like I missed moments because I was too worried about the mess or the fact that that piece of schoolwork needed to be completed, because lord knows I'm not an "unschooler." (Guys, it's legit crazy up in my head sometimes....or all the time.)
I write this not to make you feel guilty, to be honest, I usually read these and just think, "that heifer just doesn't like to clean her house." (Again, my thought life is clearly spot on.) I am writing this to the future me, in one month, when I am completely overwhelmed with all the things. I want my future self to take a breath and breathe in this fleeting mess, because that's what it is...fleeting. This year I will do better at CHOOSING to see my people and to see the worth in what I do. I will relax my shoulders and snuggle my babies. This season is so so so short. DO NOT let this pinterest perfect world let you forget that.....nobody likes those perfect bitches anyway.