I give a lot of myself. For the most part, I am able to do that without need. I am very careful to make sure I am balanced. I pay severe attention to my feelings and moods, and I make sure my cup is full, as often as I can. I have learned to let go of the small things, to ignore the darts and daggers other people might throw at me and stay confident in my worth (because of where it is rooted). I am very aware. Some call it mindfulness. I call it gratitude. I look for things to appreciate. A lot of times it is in another person, and one of my favorite things to do is call out the beauty in someone else. It's always so shocking to a person when I notice the beauty. I don't know if it is the way I say it, which is often so happy and appreciative, because I am happy with the beauty I notice. Or it might be that people are so unused to unconditional compliments. Some of the places I go, I can't help but notice - so many, many people, and NO ONE makes eye contact; NO ONE smiles. And me...bubbling around the hallways...I am just a strange anomaly. That's ok. I don't care who thinks I am weird. I am bubbly and content. Unless I am not. Then, I give myself grace to cope. And that is what allows me to be so bubbly and content.
My stuff hit the fan this week. I was over-extended and tired, and grief crept up to swallow me whole. I hurt. Sometimes, I hurt beyond my ability to function. I was trying to hold it together, rushing the boys to yet another double-header. I was prepared with drinks and snacks to get us through a 3-hour night of baseball (and a concession stand that does not take bank cards...who carries cash anymore?!!). I hadn't exactly fed the boys, but we had enough to keep us. We got to the field early. I was ready to sit down in the shade and let the boys play a bit, but Dillon wanted to play catch, and that is when he realized he didn't have his glove, and that is when I, rather uneffectively, realized I could NOT take anymore. I was angry and frustrated and mean and broken. So...I took advantage of my friend's presence, and I left the field. And I slowed down. I consciously decided to go slow. I knew from my responses and my physical state that I NEEDED to go slow. I took the opportunity to go slow. I took Evan home. We found the glove. We picked up McDonald's to feed the boys, and we got to the game. And Evan was asleep. A Mom I knew pulled in, so I sent the glove with her, and I took another opportunity. I moved the car to where I could watch the game, and I rested my heart. My son played well.
I felt bad for not being out there (Dillon has made it very clear that it is important to him that I am present for his games. He says he plays better when I am there, and Mom guilt IS a thing!). But he knew I'd found his glove, and he knew I was there, and, so, he played well. I took a minute to breathe. I let Evan sleep. That's how I make things work. I take the moment, when the moment is present. (It always comes, eventually.) I am adaptable. That's how I cope.
And, then, when I sensed I was capable, I put on my big girl pants and went right back to momming. I was still fragile and emotional. My heart was aching and torn. I sobbed, on and off, through both of the games. (And I don't really care how I looked to anyone else...the people who care about me will show me compassion and understanding, because what Mom hasn't ever gotten to that kind of breaking point?! I am fragile. I am not weak! Weak is worthless. Fragile is precious - to be protected. I am VERY well protected.) And sheesh! If I don't give myself these graces and understandings, who will?!
Besides God. God is graceful. The next two days were light (they were not supposed to be light). I took them to grieve and recoup. (I treat emotional hurts like any other illness. I think I spent one whole day in my pajamas!) And then, right after, came an unexpected 12 hour day. BUT...I ended up with my first client and my first therapy session, and it went so well!! And I can't talk about it AT ALL, but there was a REALLY heartwarming moment, and it was SUCH a triumph, and I can't help but wonder if maybe my heart was better prepared to be what I needed to be to one hurting person, because I was so keenly aware of a hurting person's need for compassion and grace.
It is not easy, what I am doing. But, you know what? I have consciously decided to not take the easy way. And that is ok. Better, even. Easy would be turning my back on all this pain and suffering and need. Easy would be ignoring all the brokenness around me. Easy would be allowing myself to focus on my own selfish desires, despite the hurting of others. I have done plenty of that before, and I found it empty. As far as I am concerned, hard is better than empty. Hard might hurt, but it hurts a heck of a lot less than empty.
But...this new kid. I wish we had more time, because this new kid is a gift from God. He is kind and respectful. He loves her brothers. He WANTS to spend time with them. And, oh my oh, I sure hope this new kid sticks around! But please don't tell them how happy I am, because I don't know if you noticed, but teenagers have a tendency to want to do exactly the opposite of what their parents say. It's ok. I will adapt.