There are many things about me which I don't believe my kids justly appreciate, but the most under-appreciated aspect of them all (as I see it) is their free access to daily, personalized comedy.
And part of it has to do with what I like to call "Mom Tactics." Mom Tactics are strategies that you invent (and constantly fine tune - like a guitar string) to psychologically manipulate each child. Now, before you call the government, I am very open and obvious about my manipulations. For example, when Eden (Matt Jr, female edition...ie, sweet and sensitive) tells me she will NOT take Jesse with her, I simply say in an overly loud and empathetic voice, "Awwwww...poor Jesse. It's not that she doesn't like you. She just doesn't want to take you with her."
And, naturally, she turns, laughing; because, yeah...we both saw what I just did there. It was equally obvious AND hilarious.
Of course, if it were Xander, it would take a more intense tone. No light-heartedness for my mini-me. Light-hearted is immediately received as less than an emergency, which requires ignoring. Xander gets a more angry-dramatic text like, "This dog is slowly killing all my joy. I feel eternally stuck. If I don't get a Jesse break soon..." (Fyi...fill in the blanks are always worse for the intense kids, because their imaginations go a lot deeper than yours.)
Listen...being a mom is NOT easy, and I am just trying to help you out. I have, honestly, been feeling a little stagnant lately. I do not know how bosses and CEO's do it, because I'm just looking at my own personal life and thinking, How the what did I get put in charge of all of this?!!
Sheesh. I want to go back to that miserable time in my life where I was responsible for absolutely NOTHING but myself. No, I don't. We ALL know I don't want to go back there. But I do have my fleeting imaginations...before I realize...there never was a "better." It's always kind of stunk. Even if it was, like REALLY super easy, my dramatic mind made it feel so much worse. I think I'm starting to understand the source of the deficit.
And the deficit is in....you. (Ha! Just kidding. I just can't say it "out loud.")
I had one good day this week. (And one half good day. We learn to appreciate the halves around here, as well!)
I'll admit I am constantly talking to myself in my head, and I find that my inner dialect reflects the current book I'm reading. Right now, it is The Grapes of Wrath. I can assure you, previous to this book, I have never in my life been so "tar'd out." I tell you, "she's just tar'd out." That is EXACTLY what I am, John. Even throughout my "vacation" I've just been "tar'd out."
But there was this one day, where I finally got to fill the joy cup a bit. I planned an adventure for me and Matt and the boys. We visited an old stomping ground of mine. I pulled out my inner Grandma Carlene (and my GOD, I miss her!! It was so much better when she was in charge!). We took a picnic up to Siloam Mountain, and it was so much more than I remembered. (Except for the T-Shirt someone had stuffed in the Johnny...and I remembered, for the moment, exactly where I was in the now.)
And as I (rather excitedly) prepared for the trip, I told my eldest, "I feel like a 'good Mom' again."
And she laughed and said, "What? You were always a good mom. You didn't just stop being a good mom."
And I said, "Yeah...but I'm finally getting to be the "me" Mom I know, and man that feels good!"
And we had our adventure: picnic, playground, nature trails, creeks...getting lost and impending rain, and just as we'd lost all hope, Matt leads us right back to where we started.
And that's the "me Mom" I always want to remember. Not the overly-stressed, exhausted, hide-in-my-room Mom that I have slowly become.
I am just so DRAINED of energy. There is too much want and too little me, and...how did this all become MY responsibility?!! Seriously...where did all the adults go, and what the heck has happened to ME?
Ah well...I leave you with my trauma for the week. (Believe me, there's plenty vicarious trauma I can not share.) My dad called me on Thursday night. The beautiful, giant maple tree in front of our first home had split in half and apparently blocked a busy street. The city had to come and break it up and they bulldozed it onto their yard.
I didn't really understand the magnitude of the mess, when I loaded up my hand-saw and clippers. I mean, maybe...I could have spent all day and then some on the mess. But as I looked up at the large, 20ft limb hanging precariously from the tree (and I remember my little second grade friend's tragic end), I knew if it didn't kill me trying, Matt would have killed me FOR trying. So, I called out the big guns, and they took care of my first magnificent tree, as I traveled back and forth between houses to do laundry and dishes. And the whole time, Jack Johnson whispered in my ear, "I remember watching that old tree burn down. I took a picture that I don't like to look at." And I just can't.
But...before we get to feeling too sorry for your's truly...let's remember a few of those grand moments from the week. Like:
Memorial Weekend may have been broken up with a ghastly work schedule, but we did find time to get in some swimming fun. Matt crushed the rock wall at the pool. (He's still got it!). I don't think any of us are surprised I did NOT. Rock climbing may not be my sport...but I DID do some killer diving off the diving board, if you ask me. And I taught my son how to touch the bottom of the deep end and have a proper pool tea party. And even though my eldest had a terrible experience there, later...I wrote an email. And I think we all know they'd better listen and respond...cause ain't nothing scarier than a mama and threatened bear cub. Nothing.
And also...I keep meeting new friends and happily reuniting with old ones at the dog park. I spent a rain storm hovered under the awning with some of my favorite dogs...including Loki...and Lika...because this pup and I became FAST friends. (I think a lot of the dogs can sense that I am a mama!) And while it just happened to be the same day the tree collapsed - and I had driven past the house just an hour before - I didn't KNOW until much later, so the memory of my happy time with my friends remains untainted.
Like this peony...
In the past, this peony has flourished, but I think it was affected by the late freeze this year. And as I look at it, I see so much a resemblance to me. Kicked down, broken, beaten, all circumstances coming against...and yet, we strive.
It may not all be glamour and glory. Mind you, if it is, it is undoubtedly FAKE. I will NEVER settle for fake. I will face life as it is until glory takes me home, and for the present, glory seems to be delayed. So I will fight like a peony and continue to wait and pray for that day, when striving ceases and ALL fears are stilled.
In Christ alone. Can I get an AMEN?!