Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Family Life

School has officially been in session for one month now, and just as I supposed, life has suddenly become very demanding and crazy. Part of me loves it; part of me hates it. I love the growth I feel when we are being stretched a bit; I love the necessity of working together and everybody doing their part to make it all flow; I love watching my kids do what they love and shine (i.e. sports). Now to the hate part. I hate feeling overwhelmed; I hate dragging my youngest child(ren) around to one thing after another; I hate how it all seems to inevitably turn me into a nagging, stressed-out woman.

That last part is the part that gets me to me the most. I mean, I really don't want to be that person. I want to be calm, in control, loving and kind. I want to handle the pressure and responsibility that always builds up at this time of year with finesse, character and perspective. I want to be amazing.

The problem is, I'm not--amazing, that is. And every time I try to become everything that adjective seems to imply, I begin losing my grip a little, and before long, I'm anything but amazing. So this year I decided I was going to be proactive. I was going to take it one week, one day, at a time. I was going to take a lot of deep breaths, breathe in a lot of chamomile, and glide smoothly through each ruffle that came my way with clarity and ease.

Wow! That sounds a lot like a commercial and not reality at all. The past couple of weeks as pressure has mounted and my personal responsibilities have increased, I've felt it all coming on. Slowly I've started nagging more and more and noticing all that is NOT  getting done, rather than what is. So, this morning I called my children into the bedroom and told them I was going to make a change now--before it gets worse. I reminded them of how much I need them to do their parts so I had the time and energy to do mine. I reminded them of how unhappy we all are when I become the grumpy, naggy witch, and then I tell them all to look me right in the eyes as I profess my love for them. Because, darnit, I love them so much it hurts. Then we read scriptures and get to work.

Yes, I still nagged a bit, but it was a happier nag. The kids all got off to school and I was just about to take a deep breath when the phone rang. It was a friend of mine. She asked me if she had somehow offended me because she felt I had been ignoring her lately. I wanted to burst into a fit of tears right there on the telephone but I managed to wait until after we hung up. Of course she hadn't offended me! She's wonderful and I love her dearly. I tried explaining how life had just becoming so crazy I was hardly doing more than keeping my head above water. She graciously told me she understood and we ended the call. But I felt horrible. I mean, if I have so much to do I end up neglecting people who mean a lot to me, where does that leave me?

The dam  broke and I allowed the tears to flow freely down my face. I thought of all the ways I hadn't been a good friend, a good wife, a good neighbor, a good mother, a good . . .well, you get the picture. I went to my bedroom to throw myself on my bed and cry it all out when I noticed something unusual. The first thing is that my bed was actually made. I have always been very consistent with bed-making, but this week, it hadn't happened once. So, I took note that the bed was made and thought my husband must have done it before he left for work. But then I looked more closely through my tears and noticed a paper on the pillows. I picked it up and read it. Again, the tears stung my eyes as I read, but this time, they were for a whole different reason. The note was from Nate. It read: "From Nate. You are the best mom so I made your bed for you. Love you."

Man alive, I needed that! So unexpected, so simple and so sweet. I was only sad he was gone to school so I couldn't wrap him in my arms and squeeze him like crazy. How could he know how much I needed to have someone tell me I'm "the best"? I sat down on the bed and thought of how grateful I am for these children of mine and how I could never make it without them. And then I thought of all the reasons I'm stressed out and busy and realized almost every reason is because of these kids, and it put it all back into perspective.

First year soccer is a bit painful to watch, but man, does Boston love it!

Here is my 7th grader starting for the 9th grade team. I'm so darn proud of her.

This kid never ceases to amaze me. Man, I love this #20, and boy, can he play football!
(I don't even have a picture of Regyn doing gymnastics, but she is loving that and improving so fast).

Yes, we are busy. Yes, I feel stress at times--too much of it. But we are happy. We are learning and growing together. We are helping one another. We are heavily involved in what matters most--family life--and we wouldn't trade it for anything.