Sunday, November 6, 2011

running over

{caleb took this picture.  i kinda like it.}

the past couple of weeks have felt like a whirlwind.

erase that....the past month or two have felt like a whirlwind.  between starting a new job that i'm getting the hang of, and ben's homework piling on and on, and all of the rest that comes with kids and friends and family, i haven't had much time to just be still for a moment.  my simple little life seems to have vanished with the hundred degree temperatures, blowing in cooler nights and chaotic days all at once.

i feel like even when i sit down, i need to be doing something.  folding laundry.  feeding a baby.  sorting paperwork.  cleaning out a closet.  and honestly?  that's not a feeling i love.  i like to feel like things are in order, and i have time to actually enjoy myself.  i don't a book?  paint?  write?

i've felt like my plate is so full--too full. 

i kind of lost my mind on friday, after being pretty sleep deprived, to jumping up at 7am to go! go! go!  get caleb off to school, get ready to go into work for an hour, get leah and the baby fed & dressed.  it doesn't sound like much, but there was a lot more in between all of that.  friday just felt like one of those days when anything that could go wrong, did.  and those things went wrong always at the last minute, leaving me frazzled from the get go.

leaving out all of the whiny details, by about 3:30 pm i had had enough.  i was stressed out, and feeling angry and anxious and just over all not awesome.  so, i went back to my roots of therapy, one of the first things i was taught was to stop stuffing my emotions.  stop telling myself to not be angry/anxious/stressed, and instead just own the feelings.  because sometimes life just is stressful.

i could feel my insides just boiling, and i didn't want to explode, specifically because i knew i would explode on someone, but there was no one who was really to blame for all of these situations.  i was worried that my kids or ben would become collateral damage to my stress. 

"i'm going outside in the backyard to throw ice cubes,"  i announced to caleb.

his eyes grew wide.  he knows what this means.

throwing ice cubes is something that caleb gets to do when he's having an emotional meltdown.  it's not for every time he is mean, it's saved for those special days when he's really angry and continually freaking out over things, unable to control his emotions.

we have him go in the backyard, throw ice cubes, and yell about everything he's mad about, no matter what it is.  {most of the time it's about ben, me and leah so that's fun.}  it works like a charm though, almost always ending in him laughing.  once he's finished, he comes back inside and is calm.

"why?"  he asked.

"i'm just feeling really frustrated right now, and i think it will help me to feel better," i explained.

"can i watch?"  he asked.

"sure," i said, as i was filling up a big kitchen bowl with ice cubes.

he watched from inside, standing at the window with a big smile on his face.

i threw ice cube after ice cube, as hard as i could, against our cement wall, watching them explode into pieces.  i didn't yell as i threw them, but i did think in my head every little single thing that i was mad or frustrated about.  i finished the bowl, and felt better but wasn't done.

so i came back inside and started filling up the bowl again.

"i think i need to do some more,"  i said to caleb.  "want to come help me this time?"

"YES!"  he said, so excited.  "you say what you're mad about and then we'll BOTH throw ice cubes!"

i laughed over his excitement, it was like i had just offered him a day in disneyland.

"good idea," i replied, as we went back out the door with another full bowl.

"okay, what are you mad about?"  he asked me, his arm back, his fist clutching the ice cube.

"I'M MAD WHEN I'M LATE FOR THINGS!"  i yelled, not too loudly so the neighbors wouldn't think we were completely nuts.

"O-KAY!"  caleb yelled back, and we chucked our ice cubes as hard as we could.  "what else?"

"I'M MAD WHEN MY KIDS FIGHT AND ARE MEAN TO EACH OTHER!"  i yelled, and was kind of hesitant about it.  i wasn't sure if that would bother him, expressing my anger about something related to him.  but he took it like a champ.

"YES!"  he yelled, and we threw more ice cubes.  "keep going!"


"NICE!"  i love that he was yelling too, but his yells were cheering me on.


"WHAT DOES ORGANIZED MEAN, MOM?"  he yelled, as we threw.  so i explained.  "okay, next one!"


at that, he laughed.  you know, because i said the word 'poop.'  boys.

"GOOD ONE!"  and we both giggled as we threw ice cubes this time.

we threw one after the other, and i felt the stress and anxiety and anger melting off of me as i watched the ice cubes become a puddle on our back porch.

as we finished, i thanked him for his help, we high-fived before we walked inside, and i felt much better about life.

it started me thinking about when people say they have  "too much on their plate."  then i thought about when they say their "cup runneth over."  

both sayings mean that things are full to bursting, spilling over.  abundant.  but one feels a little pessimistic, the other the glass half empty/full concept.  and i realized that for me, the difference between the two sayings is recognizing my blessings, and gifts, and that i'm living a full and happy {if i choose it} life.

being honest, i do miss the quietness of a year ago.  there were still things going on, but it felt like i could breathe a little more often than i have been lately.  i love simple days when i can just play with leah and help caleb with his homework, and talk to june, and then spend time with ben when the kids are in bed.  when the dishwasher is running, and i can hear the hum of the dryer going.

after i threw ice cubes, the day did not slow down.  it was full to the brim with running, shouts, spills, tears, laughing, chasing, crying, smiling, excitement.  until i crashed in bed extremely too late, knowing in just a few short hours i would begin again.

no matter how much is on my plate, i look at my life and realize i am surrounded by what is most

and my cup runneth over.


mommysue said...

thank you for this post.

Meggan Hayes said...

Awesome post. I especially liked the part about owning your feelings, I have a really hard time with that. When I feel overwhelmed or angry I don't always express it and then when I actually do I feel guilty for not having been more optimistic. Life is crazy and hard sometimes and having feelings is part of it. I need to be better at owning my feelings and moving on. Maybe I'll try ice cubes!

Toby and Tammy said...

So glad we are cyber friends. You have such a way with words. Writing things that totally fit in with my crazy life and helping me feel/do better. Thank you!

Charlotte said...

Thank you for sharing this. You are such a beautiful writer. And I love the ice cubes idea. Pure genius.

Brooke said...

I've been so close to calling my therapist the last few days. I've been drowning lately - so, here's the crazy thing. . . I should have just called you!! I just need to go throw some ice cubes - although, mine won't melt. . . they'll just add a little dimension to the already fallen snow. hehe. I just love you. Your the bestest. You know that, right? If you need a little reminder. . . here it is. . . you're AMAZING, WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC, ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!! I've never doubted it. I've always known it. You've been a great source of my inspiriation. . . and I'm grateful. So, here's to you! Love love love ya!!

Emily Holden said...

LOVE this post Lynsey! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They're always so inspiring.

Christy said...

An awesome post. I get overwhelmed trying to go somewhere with just one kid, I don't know how you do it with three! And, he always seems to know when I'm in a hurry, because that's when I get pooped on or spit up all over. I hope things slow down for you a bit. Thanks for being my therapist this year. :)