Apr 7, 2013

The Boondocks

Easter break was this last week, and this week I have hit the ground running back at school with nary a chance to even breathe.  My school district didn't even give us the courtesy of the Monday after Easter off.  (That really would have been nice you guys.)
Aaaaanyhoo, I don't know if you remember last year's post on what Easter meant to me.  A stirring post on how I can tap into God's strength and victory.  Yada yada. And then...I blasted into this year.
Oh people.  This. Year.
Another year like this, and you will have to check me in. I'm one pill shy of the loony bin.  I would LOVE to just say, "STOP!"  Time. Out.  I want to get off.  And I have found out there is no Off. For another 2.5 more months at least.  June 14th is my "breathing" date (school's done).
So I spent my Easter day on an airplane feeling VERY grouchy, overdone, and sorry for myself.  In fact, I was feeling very super complain-y, and feeling very uncomfortably selfish for feeling like running away.  And as I thought and reflected on the airplane home (Tone very graciously took the first flight out of two sitting with the kids and let me sit in the lone seat behind them), I was just kinda wondering and pondering and thinking...."I super need to tap into that Easter thing again this year."  And, "how did I even get here this week?"
I don't feel like I've lost who I am this year, but rather, I know who I am and I'm setting a lot of it all aside to make this year work.  I feel as if I am wandering around in the boondocks and sort of in a fog.

Here is how my Easter break worked out.  It started with my sister's baby shower over the weekend. Super fun time with both of my sister's and my parental units.  At this point, I'm pretty fresh, doing great, on a high, with my sisters. Good.
Side note: My mom took this photo of us below.  We consider it a grand success considering her picture taking skills.  You should have seen the up close selfie one she took of herself squinting at the phone because she couldn't figure out how to get the camera turned around to take a phone picture of us.  I. Died.
Side note 2: Baby Liam is due tomorrow and is showing no sign of wanting to come out.  Poor Krista.

I dashed home from the shower to get ready to leave for Missouri the next day.  Which turned out we didn't need to leave until later the next morning because of full flights (we fly standby, try it with three kids sometime, it's awesome. I kid.), so I procrastinated and didn't pack until an hour before we were supposed to leave (total accident I promise).  I was the bomb diggity on that whole packing thing, because I packed us all up in two suitcases in less than an hour and included everything we would need on the flights as well. I mean that probably super helped my stress level and all. I forgot nothing.  I know.  I rock this packing thing now.  Marry a pilot.  Then you will too.  

Below is my instagram pic from the flight.  She was a real treat.  Then we stayed the night in Chicago before catching the early flight for Springfield Missouri the next day. Don't ask.  After checking tons of flights for open seats, this was the only way to get there. 
SHE. WOULD. NOT. SLEEP.  Seriously, this kid kept us all up with her stage whispers, hotel bed acrobatics, and so 5 hours of sleep after that was not enough to help me feel so fresh and amazing the next day. At this point I'm starting to lose my edge.  
Upon arriving in Missouri, we had a nice half day with the other parental units, and then got up the next morning to hit Silver Dollar City amusement park, where Tessa again decided it would be cool to mess with Mama.  Specifically my stomach.  This kid has super adrenaline rush issues.  She was just a half inch tall enough to hit all the major rides that weren't huge roller coasters.  The catch was...with an adult.  It's funny but most of those either went round and round or had to do with swinging.  Darn you half inch.  I don't have any pictures of her on the big rides because I was strapped in next to her. Yay me. Most people were impressed that she was on them, and more specifically, loving them.  I let Daddy go with Hunter on his first roller coaster that had a huge drop and went upside down.
Grandpa bought two new kid sized four wheelers, so there were  now three of those out there in front of his house along with two dirt bikes.  Guess what my kids did the rest of the time?  Even Ainsley learned to ride by herself.  We had collected quite a few family members by this point who had traveled into town to enjoy vacation with us as well at the house.  The dirt bikes were going full blast and getting a full workout by all the cousins who were there.

Then, Grandpa knew...a person.  This person had about 500 acres near their home which had dirt bike trails all over it.  Including a little two room cabin with no plumbing or electricity.  He thought it would be grand to take all the cousins (which numbered 8 at this point) out there and stay overnight with all of the off-roading vehicles.  The catch, it was down a dirt road/track into a kind of gully and kind of a bit in.  He also thought taking a little car and a 12 passenger van down in there after a rain would be juuuuust fine.  I road in the van while Tone drove and we followed the truck and trailer down in.  I was gripping the door handle, whining like a five year old the whole way, and was convinced we going to die and slide off the side the whole way down.  I was internally furious actually by the time we got down in. My babies were in that van.
This is about the point in the trip where things in my thinking went south.
I was stressed and internally tied up in knots from no down time and ready to complete snap.
Do you ever have those times when you know that your thinking isn't completely logical? In fact, really nothing that bad even happened. Actually, I liked everyone there. Everything planned had been so thoughtful for us. There is no one to blame for causing this stressed out, crazy mad feeling you are on, but you know are riding a fine line from being very nice and pleasant to completely snapping?  Officially. There.
I really hate this feeling because it's also mixed with guilt.  It's not possible to check out, in fact that seems quite selfish since the kids needed lunch, things needed to be set up, Tessa needed to be watched, and you came all this way to visit with people you really love, etc.  After a few hours settling them all in, the ladies (and Tessa) who were present left to go to my favorite place in the world.

 Dollar Jewelry.

 I know.
 I'm not even lying to you.

We did a couple of errands first and I was eagerly hoping to get those done as fast as possible.  I was like the two year old who hops up and down while they wait because they almost can't stand it.
Do not mock people.  You have no idea.  It's a big store out there with walls of $1 necklaces and jewelry and a lot of it looks amazing and classy even. It's just basically walls of bright colorful goodness. Jealous aren't you? Even kid hair bows were $1 so Tessa filled her little basket too.
As I was paying, Tone called.
We accidently still had the mattress pump in our van.  So we ditched our next plan (which cut shopping short as there is MORE THAN ONE jewelry store), and drove a half hour back to deliver the pump.  Luckily Dad drove up the hill, because I decided I would absolutely refuse to go down that hill again in the van.
Side note again: When we stopped at our first errand I opened up the door, I discovered we had a huge forked stick (taller than me even) caught on the side step of our van. We had been dragging it for over an half hour. I thought Mom and I would die of laughter. Claaaassy.
The next day we planned to go back but it rained, the kids came back early, other plans were made, and it never happened.
And that's when my brain tried to go full fledged pity party.  I knew I should be totally happy as a very fun trip had been planned by Tone's parents.  This will be super embarrassing to type, but in full discloser of the sad state I was in, I was mad that only 45 minutes of my week had been carefree and super fun just for ME.  And I felt guilty for feeling that way because it's not like the other things were bad or even NOT fun.  They were fun.  But they weren't for me.  I really just wanted to sit down and be super mature and pout about it.  Clearly, I was doing well.

So that's where I found myself on the plane ride home wondering why I felt the need to pout and why I felt tied up in knots over something so completely silly. Actually, I was over the whole jewelry store thing, but I still felt uneasy and frustrated and couldn't pin point why.  Logic did not match feeling and I felt just dumb.

As I was sitting there I thought of the verse, "Come to me all who weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest."  
That's when I had an Ah-ha moment.   In order to get rest, you actually have to COME.  Well, I have carved out a life with no margins at all this year.  I have zero time to "come."  
Monday night is Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Tuesday is Bible study where we host and it's a mad scramble to come home from work on Tuesdays to clean, Wednesday is little league practice and ballet, Thursday is little league practice, Friday is free, Saturday has a little league game and is usually packed with some invitation from someone, and Sunday is church and rest and finish the housework. I have three kids and a husband who need attention and I. Can't. Breath.

So when there is finally a spring break that ends up being jam packed with no down time or time for something I love to do just for myself, I feel frustrated and jilted.  Fair or not.  

The problem with giving when you aren't refilling, is that after a while, the giving isn't so freely given and the recipients can sense it.  My kids and my husband sense it I know.  
I feel myself getting crabby as things start to spin out of control.  My housework is overwhelming, I stink as a wife right now, and crabby with the kids a lot.  Things just aren't that amazing over here right now.  
The catch is, figuring out how to carve small meaningful times for myself and not fritter it away.  Figuring out how to rejuice and recharge has been a challenge all year.

I read the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero earlier in the year and it gave me food for thought.  It speaks of a spirituality that has healthy emotions and isn't just about what we are doing.  It encourages taking moments for rest and reflection throughout the day to tap into our emotional state and for meditation on God.  Finding even little moments to do that has been such a challenge for me.  I know I have so much more growth to do in this area.  Clearly, or I wouldn't find myself pouting over a $1 jewelry store.  Seriously people.  I think I need to reread the book.
 I also read this book which was also very amazing. Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Even while it was a bunch of studies strung together on introversion versus extroversion and how this affects our culture (American culture greatly favors extroversion),education, dealing with conflicts, parenting, and business, the author's style was riveting and a fascinating read. Well, I am a deep thinking, reflective introvert, with a rich inner life who would rather think that talk, and it made me realize that being on my feet talking all day, coming home to be bombarded with family life and commitments, has not been good for me.  Not good at all.  I come out of my shell because I am deeply interested in people and have a passion for my family, for teaching, and for my friends, but that doesn't mean it's easy for me to stay at that pace.
So combining what I have learned from a secular book with a spiritual book left me with a well-rounded outlook on how things need to change in my life and even who I am designed to be and operate best.
So this morning, I rested.  Laundry was calling my name so this will probably bite me in the butt later, but I rested.  I had a leisurely cup of coffee.  I went mall-walking with my sister to try and walk little Liam out (good luck with that sister) just for fun. For me, we walked into Anthropology briefly and that's a place that I love.  I've also learned that space for me doesn't have to be super churchy.  I suppose some think that spiritual rest is separate because that involves a "quiet time" with a Bible in hand.  But not necessarily.  Some of my best life lessons are learned with no Bible in hand.  My brain is at rest because I'm in a happy place for me (which could be Anthropology even) and I put together a life lesson from my Bible reading earlier.  I often learn with my Bible, but connect the dots later when I am able to let my mind rest.  It's often while I'm gardening, being creative, doing photography, painting, etc.

I can't wait to be done teaching.  It's not that I'm not passionate about it or my students.  Because I AM.  But it's not fitting with my calling at the moment, and it is so very stressful for me.  There are other ways to put my teaching skills to use while nurturing my family (my first calling) so much better.  So I have 51 more days left on this teaching year and my goal is to slow it down, steal moments of rest.

I guess the picture the cabin in the boondocks is a very good picture of what this year has been like for me.  It was gorgeous there, but I couldn't enjoy it to the full because I was still worried about the drive back out.  
Hey, say I lack a spirit of adventure or whatever, but that was NOT my idea of fun.  Driving that van down was BAH-NA-NAS to me, though for my husband's family who's used to that whole thing, it like, "Yeah, this isn't the smartest, but LET'S DO IT!"  Blows my mind.  Blown.  Another one of those examples where people from two universes marry each other and find out we have a different view of normal.

I digress, so likewise,

 This school year has had many beautiful and glorious moments, but it's been hard to enjoy because it's not where I want to be and in my comfort zone.  It's felt a bit out of control and like a wild ride.  So what does one do when life is like this?  
What did I do at the cabin?  I went for a walk up the creek.  I felt so much calmer after that because I got away from the noise and just had Tessa and Mom with me.
What should I do for the 2.5 months left?  Find time for me, say no to commitments (the world won't end without us), take my lunch break, take my sick days, ponder, reflect.
Because seriously. 
I pouted over some silly dollar necklaces.  
Tone you can totally read this post and think "my wife is:


1 comment:

  1. I can kind of relate. No judgement here and I'll be praying for you through the end of the school year. You can do it and in the meantime said no to all the unnecessary extras and take a sick day or two! It still makes me feel guilty to turn things down, but I feel so much more together and rested when Addison and I are able to spend the weekend together without feeling overextended. Praying for you!