i have been a little down.
and realize that this will be my 3rd negative sounding post in a row, so i apologize in advance. you think that would stop me from writing it, but oohhhhh no.
i will forge ahead.
because writing is my therapist, the free one that doesn't make me lay down on a couch and discuss my childhood. the one that just sits and listens as i vent and whine and complain about how things aren't going the way i had hoped, but doesn't say the words,
"you are such a baby!"
but instead, says nothing, and lets me figure out for myself that i am in fact, a total baby.
this last semester of ben's school has been hard. he has pushed himself to the limit i think, working very hard at school (pulling out awesome grades, btw) and then working thurs-sun nights working overnight graveyard shifts. thinking about the schedule he has been pulling, i'm not quite sure how he's alive right now.
i'm grateful for how hard he is working, for the sacrifice he makes and the length he will go to make sure we are taken care of. i thank God every day that i have a husband who will do whatever it takes for me and for our children.
the semester has been difficult for me too though. i know, i know. comparatively, to ben, i should just keep my whining mouth shut. but just because he's had it harder doesn't make things much easier on me, you know?
we only have one car. again, boo hoo. at least we have one car. i know, i get it. but with only one car and ben gone so much for the past 3 months, we have been cooped up with a capital C. it's too hot to go outside without your face melting off, and the pool has been out because leah has been too young to wear sunscreen.
i've pulled out as many tricks out of my hat that i can think of. bringing caleb's tent out, letting him put a slide in our front room, buying new games, puzzles, crafts, you name it. and luckily it's kept him mostly happy.
so why am i so down?
well i guess, because i'm not so easily entertained by markers and a coloring book. i got out my paints again and tried to let the creative juices flow, but instead just sat there blankly staring. i read a book, and tried to avoid the t.v. for my birthday ben bought a treadmill so that i would be able to get the exercise i've been craving that i can't get because of the blaring sun outside.
however, because of the lack of space in our apartment, the treadmill had to go in our bedroom. where the baby sleeps. so you see the problem with that scenario.
so for my birthday present...before i knew ben was getting a treadmill, i asked to go away for a weekend. to get to cooler weather, and just be....
whoever that person is. i haven't seen her in a while.
you saw how well that weekend panned out. i had desperately needed a break from my life and instead had returned disappointed.
but i tried to buck up, knowing that just a few days away from what i have now titled "standby nightmare 2009," i would be able to head out to utah. where even though i'd be traveling alone with my kids, i would be welcomed by cooler weather with open arms. and would be able to go outside, visit family and friends, get some much needed fresh air, and relax.
two days before i left, i began feeling sick. an insanely painful headache and sore throat. i tried to get rest, but was on my own doing laundry, packing, cleaning, and all that goes with planning an almost 3 weeks away vacation, and flying alone with two kids.
luckily, we made it through. even though on the plane ride there i thought my nose would explode due to the combination of clogged sinuses and altitude.
as we arrived in utah i was still not feeling well, but pushed through it so that we could make the most of our time there and spend quality time with family and friends. i wasn't sleeping well at night because i couldn't breathe when i lay down, and was sharing a room with my two kids so i had to smother my face into a pillow each time i coughed up a lung so that i wouldn't wake them up.
whatever, i deal with it.
then leah starts acting a little weird. not eating, runny nose. you know. there's a family party up at ben's house with people in town that i haven't seen and won't see for a long time, so even though i absolutely despise being the family that shows up with sick kids...we still go. (although, i want you to know that i did call ahead of time to let them know and ask if they still wanted us to come because i was fully prepared to stay home.)
the next day, leah starts throwing up. after the 3rd time, she just stops eating.
that night at dinner, caleb throws up.
i just can't believe my good luck!
we spend the next 3 days inside. me doing laundry non-stop, running up and down stairs, trying to not focus on the fact that i am playing the role of single parent yet again...which is pretty much how i've felt for the past 6 months. (did i fail to mention that ben wasn't in town yet? this was his finals week so he was coming out a week after us...just after the kids get all better. nice.)
and this is when i have to admit--i got a little ticked off.
i mean, seriously! every time we come to utah we get some sort of violent illness. last time caleb was throwing up every 20 minutes for about 7 hours.
so i'm sitting downstairs after both kids are finally asleep, feeling sorry for myself and wondering when i can get my identity back. i mean, i love being a mom, but sometimes i feel like
is this all there is for me?
and then i had a thought. i was glad it came at this moment because it stopped me from crying big baby tears about how i've lost myself amid vomit clothes, only having one car, being stuck inside for pretty much the last 4 months, and now being sick on vacation.
and my thought was,
the smallest, most mundane things
will be the most important for them.
will be the most important for them.
i think sometimes i get stuck on the fact that we don't get to do all of these fun, fancy vacations. that i haven't had the opportunity to put caleb in swim lessons, or tumbling class, or soccer, or t-ball, like other families due to ben's crazy schedule and (again) only having one car.
i know that time will come, and am anxiously awaiting it, but right now just isn't that time.
so what are my kids going to remember about these past few months?
that i have been there.
day in, day out. through nightmares, poopy diapers, throwing up, tantrums, colic, constipation. you name it, we've probably experienced it.
as hard as it's been on my psyche to be cooped up and feel like the walls of our apartment are closing in faster than caleb can say, "i think i'm going to frow up," i am building a foundation for my children. something tangible, that they can count on. yes it's difficult when i feel like this is all i have been consumed with, but i'm grateful that i had this thought to remind me of what i am doing it for.
because i feel like that is the true meaning of unconditional love. being there through it all even when it's gross and makes you gag, or want to scream back at your toddler when he's screaming at you (even though you don't), or cry with the newborn who can't stop crying.
"through small and simple things are great things brought to pass..."
and the great thing that has been brought to pass these past 6 months?
my children. know. that i love them.
i think we can get caught up in all the things we aren't doing for them. or i guess i'll just speak for myself here. i think about that all of the time. how much easier it would be if we had money, or nice things, or more time, or live in a cooler climate, or had our own yard to play in.
but in the end, those things don't really matter most. sure, they can add to the experience. they can make things a little less stressful, or even just less boring.
i guess what i'm saying is that if all caleb remembers about being 4 years old is his love of macaroni and cheese or the tramillion stuffed animals he crammed in his tent every night to play "camp out," then i am satisfied. because i know that i have been with him through these things and have provided safety, stability and love.
so if you're at all like me and feel at times like you've been swallowed up in mommyville with not a lot of light for coming out anytime soon, try to remember that the most important thing you can do for your kids is just be there. and love them.
and that will make those mundane things have purpose and meaning. which makes it easier for me to get up tomorrow and do it all over again.