The sun rises on a new day. One where I can start fresh without the grouchy mood I was in yesterday. My tiny slept all night last night, she was so tired from such a busy day of playing outside. My teenager was home before we went to bed so I didn’t have to wake when she came in or when she wasn’t in on time. I was finally able to sleep. For those of you with littles I know that you hear me when I shout for joy over something as average as a full night of sleep. It was definitely a gift to my foul mood.
Honestly there should have been no reason for my misery, the day was beautiful, we met friends at a new park and my kids hunted tadpoles wildly for three hours. They found frogs, leeches, snails; my tiny and I even found out how cold the water was when she tumbled off a rock into knee-deep pond water. That’s not why I was crabby though. The park we drove to was about thirty minutes away and while the older two read on their kindles the little one looked at picture books, they were quiet and patient when I got lost following my phone’s GPS to the back side of the park, not where our friends were. I wasn’t upset and moody because I got lost either. I was really sort of sick of listening to myself whine too.
It was a really great day, I’m about to make you feel not-bad for me here. After the park we squeezed in a nap and some play time, made it to dance and the library. Then, back at home my kids helped me prep homemade pizza (if you feel like telling me to shut-up about my problems, I don’t blame you). No amount of sunshine, fresh air, or easy-to-parent-behavior was able to help me shake my mood though. Does that ever happen in your life?
We talk a lot about choosing joy in our house. My little guy feels big feelings, all of them, good or bad, or angry or sad or happy, all of his emotions are bigger. His reactions are big too, sometimes I just don’t know what to do or what say to him because of this, it is who he is and while I don’t want to change him, I do want to help him learn how to manage himself in the small things that feel big so that someday he can manage the actual big things. I try to remind him to choose joy over frustration, peacefulness over aggression, smiles over frowns. It’s hard for/on both of us. Yesterday though, it was me who could not get the joy to take hold, regardless of my effort while he was full of smiles and squeals of delight.
It only took a few words to make my day suck. After those words came out they could not be taken back or repaired with an “I’m sorry”. I thought that perhaps sitting with my Bible and reading God’s truth for my angry heart would cancel out the previously spoken words. While I found a few moments of peace there, I could not lose the frustration I felt in my body. My eyes were opened a little to how my boy feels and how hard it can be to turn this type of mood around. In fact, if someone had told me to “choose joy”? I might have smacked them in the face…just saying.
This goes back to my Expectations and them getting the best of me I suppose. Why shouldn’t I be happy? Why can’t I enjoy an easy week or two after the screaming difficulty that was the end of my winter? Why can’t I utilize learning opportunities with friends? Does every day have to be hard and hated? I knew the answers to these questions and still I felt that I should not be able to enjoy a couple of “field trip” type days with my littles.
I’ve sat with this post for awhile (obviously) and I listened to God speak into my heart about why a few words were so meaningful and hurtful. And do you know what I came back to? Guilt. Yep, that’s what it is. I feel guilty for pursuing my one life with a wandering passion that drags me through wild and crazy mental places. I’m doing the things I want to with my life. Homeschooling better, unschooling my littles, gardening in anti-suburbanite fashion in the middle of suburbia, contemplating living full-time in the insanely large camper that my sweet husband backed into our driveway. See, I’m out there doing the things that I feel my life needs to be whole on someone else’s dime. That’s why the guilt.
Now, before anyone starts saying how I work just as hard, I’d like to acknowledge that while that is true, my contribution does not keep food on the table or campers in the RV park. I know my place as stay home parent and educator is important and I don’t discount that it is. But…My husband is unable to quit a job that he does not love, we need the insurance, the paid vacation, the paycheck. He sacrifices his ability to follow his own wild life to finance mine. Can y’all feel my guilt yet? This is why it hits me so hard when he jokes about the perceived ease of my days. This is why when I was mopey and pissed off last week I could not shake it. Because he is so sacrificial for us.
This hit me pretty hard and while I know that there are other reasons that we aren’t sitting on a beach somewhere, I have realized that his devotion to me, to us, to stay at a job he dislikes so that I could have happiness, is actually a really big deal. I would not want one of my own children to forgo their own dreams, but if they did? I’d pray it would be for a reason like this. How do I not feel guilty when I am listening so closely to the words I speak to myself, so closely in fact that I am allowing those words to be louder than any other voices I let in. The selfishness I see in myself in my present state of self-care is only heightened by the sacrifices he makes for me. I wonder if I have bent too far to an extreme, where I am not giving enough in my marriage…I hope that is not the case. I hope too that our dreams could be woven together, built upon each other, and that the wildness of each of our souls could be felt and known, expressed in who we really are and by what we actually do.
Now I will try to figure out where I go from this thought. If I really believe that we all should do the thing that seems most crazy to the world but most sane to ourselves, how do I help my husband to do that? It would cause a good amount of chaos in our lives. It may require faith that feels beyond me. It may just mean making some sacrifices that I am not ready to make, yet. I am one of the first to tell you how hard a lot of my days are, in a first-world, poor-me, wah-wah-wah sort of a way. Over the summer I aim to change that, because I am beyond cared for, loved and blessed. There is more to me than this whining, no really, there is. I hope you’ll come along for the journey. My eye’s have once again been opened to the gift and the joy that is my life, and if I continue to see it as the opposite? Well, I have no doubt that my perception will become my reality.
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