Saturday, August 23, 2014

The things that undo us...

Do you remember that saying "it takes a village?" Generally I've always heard it in reference to raising children. I'm pretty certain Hillary Clinton even wrote a book about it once when we were just children ourselves (my generation, not Hillary's) ... but I'm honestly too spent to bother looking it up for you. Trust me. It's a saying.

Never before have I felt this so acutely, or been more grateful. Let me rewind my story a bit so it makes more sense.

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling stretched thin. Not just "life is hectic like always" thin, but "at some point someone is going to poke me and I'm just going to shatter" thin. It was Kailee's last week before school started (If you don't know, Kailee is an almost-family member who has been our summer nanny/babysitter for a long time), and I had been working frantically for the past several weeks in preparation for the transition to squeeze as much in as possible. 

Everything at work had been piling up in general, and I was starting to feel like no matter how fast I race I'd never, ever catch up. And how was I supposed to without Kailee there part of the week? And how on earth was I supposed to be a good mom to my babies? Not to mention be a wife, a friend and do my calling at church...

But it was that middle sentence that had me on the verge of tears or in tears daily for a couple of weeks at that point. As fall approaches I know Landon is "only" going to Preschool, but he just seems so big lately ... like he's slipping away and growing up in leaps and bounds overnight. And Liam ... my baby! I'm not sure when his round cheeks started thinning out and when he started talking so much. Again, it's like one day he could have a "conversation" with me. In reality I know I've been there for each step, but at the same time was I really? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Then one morning I decided to go on a walk with my kiddos and the neighbors. It had been a rough morning ... for reasons I can't remember now. I'm sure I was busy trying to answer emails, but make it seem like I wasn't occupied and being short with the kids when I didn't really need to be. By the time we made it outside and were ready to go I felt like I'd run a marathon by 9 am (please keep in mind I've never technically even run an entire 5K, so I'm generalizing here :)!).

I kept trying to insist that Landon ride his new "big kid" bike we had just bought him. He was upset because it's still so new. And big. And he doesn't like change. As we were arguing (and I, being too stubborn just to admit it didn't matter - I mean WHO CARES if he wants to ride his balance bike ... it's not like we were talking about a life or death decision) my sweet neighbor came over.

She told me, ever so gently, that he had done a great job the day before when he rode his new bike with Kailee (and them). But that he was a bit slower than the other kids and might have been frustrated because he couldn't keep up like he is used to. 

And it undid me. Not because she told me. Goodness no, I was so grateful - she was that village I needed that morning. That every so gentle reminder that I needed and the ability to let go of my stupid argument and realize it was just better to be with the kids, than care what method we were using to be together. 

No it undid me because I didn't know what bike Landon had ridden the day before. That might sound silly, or stupid even. But still, almost three weeks later, it can still bring me to tears. 

I've always been a proponent of doing whatever makes you the best mom you can be. Is that working? Great! Is that staying home? Great! Is that finding middle ground? Great! Is that dedicating hours of your time to your children's school as a volunteer? More power to you!

But sometimes, those decisions just aren't so cut and dry. They aren't easy. For anyone. Whether your work is done inside the home, or outside, or in some other shape or form depending on the season you are in, it just isn't easy. No matter which way you slice it. We all make choices - the ones I hope that, given our circumstances, hopes, dreams, etc. are the best for our family and ourselves. 

I choose to live this life. But are there sometimes sacrifices associated with that choice? Absolutely.

But you know what? I know that what you are choosing right now is making you sacrifice something too. I firmly believe that. 

Maybe you put the career you love aside to stay home with babies and your days are wonderful and sweet. And maybe they feel endless sometimes. 

Maybe you are struggling to help your family make ends meet, and each time they do you are so grateful that you are still a family that it is enough. 

Maybe you love your kids more than life itself, but you also love your full time career. And you've sacrificed a lot to get where you are at, and it is best for your family. But maybe it also keeps you up thinking about what you might miss.

Maybe you decide to juggle everything you possibly can because despite the insanity sometimes, and the doubt it occasionally brings, it's just who you are. 

Whoever you (we) are, I hope, and pray, that we can all be that village to one another. I don't mind writing things but am not a great out-loud sharer. I don't like getting emotional in general. So for all the times that you have been my village - thank you. I hope, in some small way, I am yours as well.