and to dust you shall return.
I love what I do.
Being able to stay home with my kids full-time was the hardest, yet most rewarding job I’ve ever had the privilege to hold. Please note the previous sentence was written in the past tense. I can’t claim Stay at Home Mother as my only title anymore. Right now, I’m now a Work at Home/Coffee Shop/Office Solo-Parenting Mother, and I’ve never been so tired as I am right now. I’m afraid of the wind. My dry bones are so tired and thin that with each breeze, I’m afraid I might disappear into the air.
My amazing husband bought me a package for a half-day at a local spa for Mothers’ Day. I’m so tired, that putting “book spa day” on my to-do list feels like another chore, another thing I need to make sure I don’t forget.
You know you’re bone-tired when going to the spa for half a day feels like homework.
Erik has been gone for the better part of four weeks and I still have two more weeks of solo-parenting to go before I move to Oregon for another summer of rafting season. In between the diaper changes, meltdowns, Pixar movies, spit-ups, blowouts, throw-ups, sheet changes, vacuuming, laundry folding, counter wiping, bill paying, dog feeding, toilet cleaning, book researching, blog writing, guest hosting, dinner cooking, kid bathing, nap-forcing, middle of the night feedings, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, weed pulling, and every now and then (on a lucky day), wine drinking, I’m trying to write a 50,000 word book on the importance of Story and how it’s the most powerful vehicle for the forward-movement of the Gospel.
I’m up early most days, around 5:00 AM. I make coffee in a stupor, splash water on my face, throw my glasses on and my hair up, and sit down at the kitchen table with my laptop to plan out chapters, sections, and paragraphs. I’m lucky if I can type words out and into the book. Scout usually rouses around 7:00 AM with Rowan following an hour later. From that point on, the laptop is shut until I can steal a few moments when the baby is napping and Rowan is playing. But in those rare moments, I’m usually so alarmed by the silence that I can’t seem to do much but sit on the couch and… well, just sit. Sometime in the afternoon, I try to work out for 40 uninterrupted minutes.
When the naps are done and dinner is gone, the kids get baths and Scout goes down. Then begins the hour-long process of water-boarding my three year old. At least, that’s what you’d think I’m doing, based on his epic screams, meltdowns and protests against being put to bed. You have not felt the desire to drink heavily until you try to put Rowan to bed when Erik is gone. It’s a real treat.
When Rowan is down for the night, usually (hopefully) around 8:30 PM, I come back downstairs to pick up the aftermath of the day. Dishes and bottles go into the dishwasher, toys are put away, furniture is put back into its rightful spot, the laundry gets folded and I usually pour myself a bowl of cereal for dinner. Once I’ve eaten, the laptop comes out, I sit down at the kitchen table again until 11:00 PM. This is when I do most of my actual book writing. I’ll be honest and tell you that the writing that happens between the hours of 9:00 and 11:00 PM is not my best because I’m just so tired.
Have I mentioned I’m tired?
You know that phrase, “it takes a village?”
I’ve got a damn good village.
I’ve got people that love my kids and come over during the day to play with Rowan and snuggle with Scout so I can escape upstairs to write, run across the street to do the grocery shopping, or anything else that’s pressing during the day. I think close to ten people have fed & put Scout down for naps, and even more have danced along to Mary Poppins with Rowan. Emily comes over and drinks coffee with me so I can have adult conversation. Abby brings dinner and holds Scout while I eat, while providing me with a dose of sanity, laughter and friendship. Karen comes over for hours and hours so I can do the Costco, Target and grocery run and even have time to write. Molly and Susanna play with Rowan so hard that he crashes on the couch mid-afternoon from sheer fun exhaustion. Deb stays after House Church to help clean up while I get Rowan ready for bed. And this is just a fraction of the love and care I’m given on a weekly basis. I have an entire village of people that love me, and even more importantly, love my kids. I simply could not survive this season without the help these people provide.
Then, I have my friends that I only talk to on Facebook, Voxer, Twitter and through phone calls or text messages. While they can’t come over and watch the kids, they care for me in the sweetest, most thoughtful ways. Sarah had a local cupcake shop deliver a dozen cupcakes straight to my door. Laura bought a cute hoodie for Scout that matches one that her daughter has. Jen bootlegged two bottles of wine into Utah from her favorite vineyard in California (which, in my opinion, qualifies her for Hero Status). Leigh sent chocolate and the new Patty Griffin CD. I’ve gotten cards, notes and even carrier pigeons from Lora Lynn, Abby and more.
This is the most exhausting and difficult season of my short life thus far. I am just barely making it through each day. My manuscript deadline of July 1st is looming ever-present over my head and the only thing I can do is put my nose to the grindstone and just keep going. I don’t have a choice. I just need to keep going. I’ll get sleep when it’s done, I’ll rest when it’s finished. That time will come, but that time is not now.
But in the midst of the work, lack of sleep and over-consumption of coffee, I know that I’ve got an army of people behind me, beside me, in front of me. They’re caring for my kids when I can’t, they’re lifting my arms in prayer when I’m just too tired, they’re bringing me food when I forget to eat.
My bones are dry and I feel like I’m starting to return to dust. But my village breathes life into me, again and again.
Even if only by the skin of my teeth, I’ll live to make it through another day.
And another day.
And another day.