This post was written in May? or June? all photos are from May or June.
I have been swamped since... uh, May or June. Time for grace? Aahhhh. Yes, please. (thank you.)
Once upon a real time, there was an afternoon this summer where we packed up our family on a Sunday and, along with Jonah, the student who lived with us this summer, we boarded the ferry & made a trip across the water. It was a hot day. Hot & humid. We were going to see some family; it had been a long time.
I had everyone fed & dressed, I was organized, freshly showered & had freshly lost 20-25 pounds, wearing a new sweater & cutoffs that I felt so incredibly comfortable in for the first summer in a decade. I was feeling fine. As our children ran around happily, outside in the sunshine, the same beams kissing my cheeks & warming my spirit, I felt so peaceful. It was so good to be with family.
My reverie was punctuated when another mama looked me straight in the eye & asked, "are you always this relaxed?"
I nearly choked on my coffee as I stifled a laugh. Maybe it was more of a snort -- I had to glance around quickly to see if Hubs or any offspring were within earshot so they didn't have a good belly laugh at my expense. She went on.
"Like--do you ever lose it?"
I could see a feeling of guilt or shame or 'please tell me it's not just me' come across her face.
I grinned & touched her shoulder.
"What, like once in awhile? Not daily, like me?"
"Believe me," I started, "I lose it multiple times a day. Honestly."
Not even an hour later, another mama of children grown tall & already away from her looked at me with kindness & grace & said "you are so relaxed. you are such a good mom."
and in that moment, I WAS relaxed. And I could OWN that I am a good mom.
Were these two women to see me a few short hours later, these women with blessings on their lips & graceful kindness pouring from their hearts -- were they to see me with my hair all frizzled crazy & a flailing exhausted baby on my lap stuck back in a hot car with 8 of us crammed into seats as we watched the harbour disappear with distance & the setting sun -- a wailing hungry toddler in the backseat & bickering tall children, a Hubs who aches for impromptu down time closing his ears to the cacophony exploding out of our car & out of this mama's head...
I lost it.
I had to exit. NOW.
The heat. The screaming. The hunger. The weariness.
A hot mess? I was exactly that.
But only a short while earlier I was peaceful. Cool breezes flitted the soft hair on the back of my neck as I cradled my beautiful smiling baby & these lovely mamas gazed at us & praised me for the peace we exuded.
Does the "I need to get out of this screechingly hot car NOW" make me any less of a good mom than the peaceful, relaxed person I was earlier in the day?
No. It doesn't.
But the words of poison that could flow from my tired & unbridled tongue in those wailing, sweaty, fist-pounding moments? Well, those aren't fit for print.
So yes. I do lose it.
But I'm trying to lose it less frequently. And more quietly. But I fail every day.
It becomes such a habit, such a quick release like a pressure cooker when its reached its maximum temperature & I need to boil over...
I wanted to practice speaking softly when I'm overwhelmed with the screeching & the flailing & the hunger & the incessant repetitive questions & NORMALCY of marriage & raising wee ones. I think I should practice more.
They are a work in progress.
Yours are a work in progress.
And I am probably the biggest work in progress.
The stretching between the teens upon us at the top
all the way down to the wee babes on the floor makes for some thinning in spots, some worn-out areas & even some gaps where one or more of us fall through.
But all of that aside -- all of what I've just written implies that I can only draw on my own strength. That I am independent, strong, capable & powerful... until I fail & fall again -- then rise from the ashes like a phoenix with fiery wings unfurled...
...which in turn leaves very little room for the grace of God. Less room even than the space around our sweaty, weary bodies crammed full into the car.
Ah, grace. Those moments are like morning dew to the spirit, a refreshing of depleted energy, a reminder that He is with us, and encouragement that we can do this another day.
Thank God for His grace. Thank God for these sweet faces.
Be graceful with yourself, your children, your Man.
Pray for me to, too.