I've felt it, I know it's there, but I keep telling myself I'm doing a pretty good job at hiding it, didn't realize that I am wearing it all over me . . . until yesterday . . .
Sam was snapping pictures and in the afternoon between feeding the baby, putting Annie back down for her nap, sending Sami to her room, again, . . . and then repeating the process about fifty times . . . I downloaded the pictures and was horrified to see the one she took of me . . . I've considered posting it, but I'm not sure I'm that brave . . .
I am finding it very necessary to catch my breath these days. Because when I don't, this is what happens: (okay, here it is) . . .
Really? Is this REALLY how my kids see me every day?! A perpetually irritated expression?! This is the It's Summer I Want Everything mom? The "embrace life, laugh-out-loud" mom? Wouldn't every child like to see this face all day? And what husband wouldn't want to come home to THIS! (actually by six o'clock the face is even better!)
I know what I was thinking . . . Can't you go two seconds without needing me? Or, if you spill one more thing I am going to lose my mind! Or, Why are you naked again? Or . . .
And the thing is, it's not how I feel, not deep down . . . my frustration and irritation ride on the surface, and it slips and sloshes but underneath it all there's this joy, this gratitude and wonder at the gift of raising children . . . I wish my kids were seeing more of the deeper me and less of the worn-out me on top.
After our third baby my doctor wrote me a prescription for three hours of alone time per week, non-negotiable. She made me promise her I'd take it, every week, for the next twenty-five years she said.
When I think back I can see times when what I needed more than anything was to step away from the crowd and get alone, to think and pray, but I avoided solitude, refused to find it, and the results weren't good. And now in this season, I feel the call to get alone but once again it is so hard to set things down and walk away.
This morning I fed the baby and walked out the door, alone. I spent 3.50 on a cup of tea (thinking I could have bought a whole box for that . . . and with a coupon . . . and if I went here . . . ) I have a to-do list beside me and there are a thousand ways that I could be spending this time but I am choosing rest, and solitude, and unhurried reading and a little writing because that is what I love . . . and I am hoping that when I return home the other me will have returned, too.
"Silent solitude makes true speech possible and personal. If I am not in touch with my own belovedness, then I cannot touch the sacredness of others. If I am estranged from myself, I am likewise a stranger to others." — Brennan Manning (Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging)