It’s cold outside today. Cold and rainy.
Zoe has on her blue and white striped leggings and a pony tail that won’t last long. By nap time it will be more tangles than tail and still I like it that way. I was in Dallas last week. And before that I was a bit lost even though I was at home. Lost for words and grateful to have kind friends share encouragement over here.
But also a bit lost in life and commitments and where to find enough of myself to go around.
I told a few friends that some days I feel like I’m running down the street chasing after the bus as it pulls away. And that bus is my life.
Every morning I find that Jackson has snuck into bed with me and Pete. He’s not a toddler any more. He’s not even a preschooler. Dude is seven and a half and more so now than ever before his favorite thing is to arrive cat like in the middle of the night and sinew his way under the covers between us. He knows to stick to his dad’s side of the bed. Mine will be grumpy and likely boot him back to his bunk bed if it gets woken up.
Sometimes I lie close enough to get a whiff of his morning breath on the exhale. His skin is still newborn soft, those cheeks and lashes that one day some girl will think she loves more than I do right now. Many nights, many mornings I wake up and Jackson is plastered to Peter as far away from my side as he can get.
I was glad of it.
And then, this morning, I wasn’t.
Son, I want to be your morning pretzel. To dig back into these last young years of parenting you and be the place you plaster your dreams.
I let the bus pull away. I stopped running. I quietly stopped keeping up on everyone else’s online conversations. To make room to listen to the ones happening right next to me.
You know it’s OK to be tired, right?
You know burnout is for real, yes?
But do you know what to do about it?
At first I didn’t. But then I wrote to a friend who is a counselor. And she called me. And I cried in the front seat of the minivan talking to her for the last hour the babysitter was home. Peter made time for lunch. I made time for friends in my zip code. And let go of feeling guilty about saying no.
I embraced it.
No is really a way to make room for yes.
Yes I have room to read library books to myself.
Yes I have room to get a haircut.
Yes I have room to meet up with friends for early Bible study Saturday morning at 7:30.
Yes I will go to bed early.
Yes I will ignore the toy debris and just sit there on the carpet and let my boys show me their muscles and their moves.
“Ho, every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come buy and eat.”
My mom would sing it around the house, in the car, on the way to church. I underline it in her Bible this afternoon. The red sweater I’m wearing hugs me back and this evening I think I’ll make tacos.
There is no such thing as the quick or perfect fix. But a slow accumulation of days with different choices. And then usually there’s some more laundry and time to clean the stove top. Our days likely have plenty in common. Our commitments different, but we both feel the tug of being in more than one place or world or conversation at a time.
It’s a Ramen Noodles for lunch day here. Praying you find time for lunch and other things that feed you this week too, friends.