There were a lot of song titles/words that could have been used for this blog. “Where do you go to, my lovely? When you’re alone in your bed. Tell me the thoughts that surround you, I want to look inside your head…” Oh, foolish, song-writing man. You NEVER want to look inside a woman’s head when she’s overwhelmed.
I supposed that’s what I’ve been recently. Overwhelmed. There’s a lot that’s hard right now, and yet I know that people out there are also finding their stuff hard. So cue, “Yoooou are not alone…”
Inside my head is like underneath my fridge. I saw it briefly the other day when bending down low to pick something up, and saw one of those tiny speckled pink easter eggs in the too-small-to-vacuum space between wall and fridge, now caught in the build up of fluff, hair, food, dust and disgustingness. That’s my mind. Full of worries, anxiety, things-to-do, worst-case-scenarios; wanting to restore status-quo but feeling trapped like a pink speckled egg.
And we’ve had so much on our plates. Joshua crashed his (our) car, a VW Polo, which insurance wrote off. Penalties were high due to his being under 25 and having a license for less than 2 years, which meant we could afford him to buy a motorised bicycle, with helmet. And possibly a raincoat. Good second-hand cars are so expensive, and we spent about 6 weeks looking, with Joshua getting lifts to work and gym, and on the weekends, we would make the Great Trek to fetch him on Fridays from Fish Hoek and back again on Mondays. Sharing cars is stressful, and it took all the strength I could muster to not rattle off the highway code as he went out the garage in my car. “Don’t forget to check your blind spots, don’t go too fast, watch out for the speed cameras, don’t have your music too loud…” (okay, some of those are not in the highway code.) We aren’t in Kansas Harare anymore, Toto, which means that Heath couldn’t phone his 328 car contacts on his phone to get the word out. Through the church, we eventually found some very helpful people that were instrumental in helping us find a little Opel Corsa (for the price of the bike) which is older and smaller than what we’d hoped, but it meant we could still put food on the table, so WIN!
We also discovered that with each child that exists in a family, a separate psychology degree is required. It doesn’t get easier with each child, it gets more confusing. It’s like one of those puzzles on an adventure escape game (to which I am currently completely addicted, covered by the excuse that I’m exercising my brain) where you have to allocate certain things to certain people. Here’s an example:
“No food must go to waste.
Murphy wants more items than Miki.
He won’t eat anything green.
Miki wants more potato than Murphy.
Linda wants exactly 3 different items, and no meat.
Frank only eats items containing meat.
Kate wants exactly 2 different items, and no broccoli.
Rohan doesn’t want cheese on his plate, or on any plates next to him.”
Firstly, Murphy and Frank need some basic nutrition education, but in my house, this whole lot would be kicked out anyway. But that’s what it’s like parenting. Kids are different, and we’re not allowed to kill ‘em, we’re supposed to figure ‘em out. It’s no mean feat, people. Grounding is exhausting, because then they’re in the house with you 24/7. And weaning them back onto a banned cellphone is more emotionally draining than those toddler all-night illness things where you thought you were gonna die from worry and sleeplessness. We went the Proverbs 11:14 “multitude of counsel” route because in that there’s safety. I emailed two heroes of mine, fellow bloggers and fellow I-sometimes-feel-insane mothers of older kids. The responses were more than helpful, they were life-saving and consoling and comforting, and practical. It’s a lot for a mother’s heart to process, you know. The overwhelming joy at a child who unexpectedly grows up in front of your eyes, and holds their own in conversations, and displays a wit and humour and insight that leaves you wondering where they got that from. And then you weep for two weeks over the hurt and heartache and angst that is caused by the same child, somehow. Heavy, burdened, worried. Jubilant, successful, awed. Poor heart. We’re working everything through. I have wished on many a day to be either in Heaven, or-slightly less dramatic- 6 months in the future, out of all the mess. But 6 months’ time will have its own mess, and I may not have learned what I need to have learned by then.
Another thing that happened is I changed my schedule. I used to do a bit of weight training (I’ll delay those batwings for as long as I can) first thing in the morning, before we started school, but I found I was still asleep. So I decided to go for a quick walk up some hills in the morning instead, and do weight training in the afternoon, because then I can shower quickly, get cosy and warm and just relax after dinner. Pros: A bit of extra cardio on the hills is a bonus, and I can just tumble into bed at night without the whole late night makeup removal, contact lens routine. Cons: Heath last saw me at 6:00 am in pj’s, glasses and bedhair. So 6:00 pm pj’s, glasses and bedhair makes him wonder if anything actually happens in-between. And also upon trial of this new routine, I ended up not showering for 3 days, because I was definitely going to do it tomorrow. Since then, I’ve had this terrible bout of heaviness and melancholy, followed by a lousy head-cold, so batwings and muffin top it is until I figure it out again.
During all this, I stopped writing because I lost one whole 3000+ word draft when I took my computer for repair (I forgot it was on THAT laptop), and that takes a very long time to get over, as it takes time to beat yourself up over how the heck you forgot about backups/clouds/USB’s, you dimwit. Additionally, it’s very hard to bare your soul consistently and get no response, but I suppose that clarifies why I should really be writing. And lastly, I wanted to become famous overnight and make millions, and it wasn’t happening. Not realistic at all, but every blogger knows they have a secret fantasy about that one blog post going viral and being read by the HuffPost and resulting in a multi-million dollar book deal. And when your blog is not increasing in readership at all; on the contrary, it is being spammed by every Russian email address imaginable, it gets a bit discouraging. Sorry for the lack of content, firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here I am, here I am, but how do YOU do? Is your stuff hard, too? I am sorry if it is. For now, all I know is that putting one foot in front of the other each day is what will get us to tomorrow. And keeping the basics. Every day, without fail, I read my Bible. It stills the storms in me every single time. And I don’t stop believing (I’ll wait for the song to kick in, my apologies again….hold onto the feelin’) that despite all the challenges, God is good and loving. There have been days where all I have been able to say is, Why so downcast, O my soul, and why so disquieted within me? But thank God, his mercies are new every morning, and we can SPEAK to our souls, our minds, wills and emotions (heavens, all those emotions) and say, Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
So I’m back, baby. I may be unshowered, and have cried for two weeks, but I am going to live this little life the best I can, when I feel up to it. Every second Tuesday, then?
May the lessons learned in the quiet or the chaos lead you closer to Him.
Lots of love,