Monday, October 11, 2010

Nine Minutes

Another rough day. It seems like I've had quite a few lately. Days when I'm constantly running and yet never accomplishing anything. Days when my children seem especially needy. Days when the reality of certain circumstances in life is all too vivid and painful. Days when all I really want to do is close the curtains, lock the door and sob--without interruption--for as long as needed.

Since my sister-in-law's passing (see former blog post), I've experienced quite a few days like this. It's not that I don't feel peace about it, and it's not that I haven't accepted the fact that she's gone. I guess it's just that I miss her so much, and the pain of it all just blindsides me constantly. Life is good. It's really, really good, and I have so much to be grateful for. But there is still heartache and pain, and somewhere inside of me, I am deeply mourning. And so, if I have any quiet, still moments at all, I find myself in tears--tears of sorrow, tears of gratitude, tears of a thousand different emotions all at once.

Such has been today. A hectic morning, running a little behind schedule, exhausted. Wanting and hoping to be the woman I need to be, all the while trying to hold it together when I know at a moment's notice I may break into uncontrollable sobs.

My five-year-old throws her usual tantrum about having to ride the bus to school. She's begging me to give her a ride instead. I'm holding her hand, walking her to the bus stop, thinking I have allowed her enough time to get over this whole bus problem she's developed and that surely it's time to encourage her to do something she doesn't want to do. But inside, I wonder if I'm being a good mother. I'm thinking to myself, Just drive her to school. She can ride the bus tomorrow. But then comes the opposing voice, But if you drive her today, she'll want you to drive her tomorrow, and this has got to stop sometime. I look into her beautiful blue eyes and I want to tell her just how much I understand how hard it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you don't feel like it. I hug her goodbye, blow her a kiss and help her get on the bus. Thankfully, she's smiling as she waves goodbye through the small windows.

Then my three-year-old doesn't want to eat his lunch. He just wants snacks instead. I don't blame him. I don't feel like making lunch, and I could really care less about nutrition right now. But then I realize this has been my attitude for the past month, and it's probably time I become a more responsible parent and be sure my little one is eating something with nutritional value every day. I decide to ignore his crying. I clean up the kitchen while he sits on a stool and sobs as if his heart is broken. Finally, I put my rag down, wrap my arms around him, snuggle him in his favorite blanket and plop down on the couch, holding him as closely as I can without impairing his breathing.

Neither of us say a word. It's like we both know all the other person needs is a little breather, a moment to sit and be held. Finally, I ask him if he would like to watch a movie or read books. He shakes his head no. "Well, what would you like to do then?" I ask.

"Just sit on the couch."

Me, too. I just want to sit on the couch and hold my precious child and cry about everything in life right now that hurts. I allow myself nine minutes to do so. Then, I gingerly prop my now-sleeping son up on the couch and get back to work.

That's all life allows sometimes--nine minutes. And then we as moms have to get off the couch and get back to work. I have to admit there are days when I just don't want to. But truthfully, I'm grateful that motherhood demands more of me because I am becoming someone far better than the person I would be otherwise. And I'm finding that it's often the hard days I end up appreciating the most because they force me to turn to God for help and to take a deep breath and exhibit patience (with myself and my children--and sometimes even my husband) and to simply show love. And through this sanctifying process, I am becoming more like the woman, the mother, the wife I really want to be.

I guess it's just one more reason to appreciate motherhood.


Julie Thurgood Summerhays said...

I am so sorry about your sister in law Lori - that is so sad and just heartbreaking. I hope your days get a little easier soon - I miss you, but I am SO glad you are blogging - I missed your incredible posts....

Taffy and Tony said...

Tears welled up in my eyes as I read this post. Although my struggles are different, and really not even comparable to what you're going through, I have certainly had days in motherhood like this. I, too, have been grateful that I HAVE to get up and get on with it for someone else, because without that, I may wallow in sorrow for far too long. Another blessing of being a mother. (P.S. Please keep blogging. You truly inspire me!)

Melanie B said...

Great post! I'm so bummed I am not your visiting teacher you have to keep posting so I know what's going on with you. I'm sorry your heart is hurting. I try to remember my heart is a muscle and in order for that muscle to be exercised, strengthened and grow it has to break down first.

Ashlie said...

Great post Lori. It's so true.