Some days I feel like I'm being pulled in many different directions. It's almost like people have a grip on all of my limbs and are pulling, pulling, pulling... Either that, or I feel like my mind is made of a mountain of different coloured pebbles and all day long I am forced to search for specific stones. The green stone! The red one! I am scratching and heaving through a storm of tiny details, getting sidetracked on one search by the urgency of another.
I may be a little tired right now.
But the beautiful thing that supersedes the mountain of pebbles is that, maybe for the first time in our marriage, I feel that Chinua truly appreciates me. Not that I haven't felt appreciated before, but that now he really knows. He knows. Because I went away for three and a half days and he tried it. He said, "I don't know how you do it. How do you keep the cabin clean, and wash the dishes, and give the kids baths?" Then he said, (this is after I had been back for a while) "Look at this place! You do it so well. You are really, really good at this."
Can you believe it? I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. And I was also thinking, "YES!" Because, to put it plainly, I've wondered if my beautiful husband understands how much work it is to do all this. We've shared a lot of our parenting responsibilities, and I know I'm very blessed to have him so available, being the best dad I could imagine. But let's just say that when Chinua's watching the kids, he's watching the kids. He's playing with them, taking pictures of them (which is why I can put so many great pics of them on this blog) but not doing the hundred things I would be doing if I was watching them (with the eyes on the back of my head).
So, I got home to a minor laundry emergency (underscored by the fact that we are still line-drying), a pile of unwashed dishes (which is like returning a video un-rewound, and almost as bad as returning a kid with a load in his diaper) and a beautiful loving family who were missing me like crazy because, to them, there's no one like me. That's what a family seems to be; a team of your biggest fans who are also more work than you could ever imagine. (And sometimes they're not your biggest fans. Sometimes your 3-year-old is acting like a sulky 15-year-old who might die if you force him to kiss you or hang out with you. And then sometimes he reverts back to your baby boy and stares at you as if he's in love with you while he strokes your face and says, "I just wanna talk to you, Mama.")
So anyways, back to how I do what I do and why I feel pulled apart. I basically do everything at top speed, as well as with the knowledge that at any moment I might be forced to suddenly switch gears. From say, disciplining my kids, to talking to the insurance company on the phone. Or from kissing my husband to mentioning, "I don't think the goat cheese is working out for the kids, they both seem to have pretty bad diarrhea." (Our kids have allergic reactions to a whole lot of foods, which has turned me into a chronic poop-peeker. I have to peek in the toilet after Kid A poops, to see what the consistency of his poop is, i.e. Did the goat cheese work for Kid A's system? In this case, it pretty obviously did not.) Or, and this may be the hardest transition of all, moving from the constant surveillance necessary with small kids to talking or sharing with adults. I'm already enough of an introvert as it is, but the mental hurdles that I seem to have to overcome in order to converse with other grownups make it almost impossible. (which is why it's a good thing that with God, all things are possible)
So, I'm sure that many moms identify with this, but the line that runs through my head is something like this: wake up, breakfast, kettle on, oatmeal, cuddle kids, aaaaahhhhhh tea, laundry!, wash dishes, break up fight, wash face-nope break up fight, oh yeah-make bed, clothes on "where are the clothes? And then it's time for me to go work in the office amidst thousands of questions from people needing things.
The surprising thing lately is; I actually love it. I really do. It's challenging enough to really engage me, it all keeps me moving through my day with purpose, and it's humbling enough that I'm always calling out for help from God. And I love it that Chinua is blessed by our home when it's nice and inviting. I wouldn't want his job for anything. It's cool, the roles that we have. God knows what He is doing, although sometimes it takes some refining to get us to see that. I love to work hard, though, and I've never done anything harder than this. It's wonderful.
And, I just moved out of a house that had about twenty people living in it, and the kitchen sink seemed like it was always full of dishes, so when I'm doing the dishes now the line that is going through my head is "I'm so glad I'm only doing dishes for four people, I'm so glad I'm only doing dishes for four people..."