Sunday, January 22

Super Glue Gestures and Momzilla

{I'm still working on the second half of our Israel trip posts because once we got into Jerusalem, we have some fun stories to share! But back to real life now and there's been plenty of that!}

It feels like I've been running nonstop for months now, even before Jake's birth. I'm more emotional since his birth - like I'll get real teary more often than I've known myself to. This phase of our life is just so darn busy and downright demanding hard during certain times of the day. Sadly, it's the hardest when everyone is home and I have to try to bring my A game when all has already been spent, running on fumes you might say since Jake's still not sleeping through the night.

I've had to give myself a some little mantras to repeat to myself so I can muster through. In those "moments", even while losing it, I have to take a deep breath and tell myself (and sometimes Ryan when he raises those eyebrows at me) -- that Life is sometimes real hard and busy with these little people but that's okay. It doesn't mean something's necessarily wrong or needs fixing. It's a season of our lives and there are lots of moments of real joy to savor. Joy doesn't mean easy. Those knowing laughs and smiles between me and Ryan, the great baby smiles and sweet laughter and snuggles of our kids are those moments to savor.

But hard is hard. Young kids are physically and emotionally demanding! Keeping house is relentless and I am not good at it. But hard doesn't mean living in a place of despair. I recently heard a phrase about grieving and healing which I've added to my moments of self-therapy. Despair and frustration are places I'll visit sometimes often in the course of my day, but I don't have to live there.

And you know why? Because I have Ryan. I love my husband! I need him because he gets me, puts up with me, and still loves me! (Yes, I also have prayer and that's a big part of my survival too, but that's another post.) I have three scenarios to share and then I'll come back to this bit about why I love Ryan.

SCENARIO: I've probably bitten off more than I can chew for our coming week - as evidenced by a couple new haircuts two kids gave each other tonight when they were supposed to be, and I fully thought, were sleeping. Ugh! Or perhaps better evidenced by the outpouring of friends offering to come to my rescue at church when I took this show on the road today! Ages of kids being watched - an almost 1 yr old and almost 4 year old. (Sisters in my ward are just that - Sisters! Relief Society Sisters!)

SCENARIO: So after our trip to Israel, we'd had the kids home for only one full day and during the frenzied dinner bewitching hour I was falling apart (rather an all too common sight, I'm afraid but I hear I'm in good company with other moms). The kids already had fallen apart and it simply wasn't pretty - hungry, tired, emotional, needy. Enter Ryan getting home from work.

We were both in the kitchen meeting different immediate needs and he told me today he'd just had to pay some speeding tickets I'd recently accrued. (Soooo aggravating, those darn speed trap cameras!) I don't recall what happened next, but I must have snapped in some way at something and he chuckled and said how different, how quickly I've changed. I thought he was referring to my speeding tickets and then he clarified that no, he meant the girl he was with in Israel vs. this . . . Momzilla (totally my term, he never said it but I've decided it fits just now). I had to smile through gritted teeth - it was funny in the moment but there was more than one child or task needing our immediate attention so on we went. It's sad, I totally agree with him.

SCENARIO: Some time in the last few weeks, McKay was playing with our Advent calendar on the piano that was waiting to be packed away. He accidentally knocked over the Willowtree statue I'd given to Ryan for Christmas last year announcing we were pregnant with Jake. And if you'll remember, that announcement trumpeted and voided Ryan's long and meticulously planned, highly anticipated gifts he was giving to me and the kids - cruises. The statue is totally replaceable but in that moment and since it just seemed to highlight to me what I deem one of my greater weaknesses. See what happened? Who took the brunt of the fall?

Poor guy lost his head and his right foot protecting his wife and baby! Notice Mom and baby are still intact, looking serene together despite their protector's seriously disturbing demise. I'm sure she's really torn up about him, but maybe this moment captures her finally getting the baby to stop crying?

Point is . . . Ryan regularly gets lost in the shuffle of me in motherhood. Heck, I get lost in the shuffle too, but I've already talked about that. Old news. We love our babies, we do! We haven't been able to say we're done having them yet because we love them all so much. But as all couples can attest - having kids changes your relationship - in so many ways you can't even fathom them as cute 20-somethings falling in love.

Last fall Ryan and I were having a stifled conversation where Ryan was trying to kindly show me my weakness. He used these terms, "I feel like I'm not on your list." Ouch. I am a list maker. And you know what, he was totally right! I was so busy trying to keep up with the kids and the house that I hadn't made room for him! And in that moment I wasn't humble. I wanted to say, "You're right, you're not." But I think I gave him a heavy, defeated martyr's sigh. It's all I got most of the time and it's overused.

So back to this week. I love you, Ryan! He came from work with this:

So even though it took me a couple days, I got to do this and think about all the kind super glue gestures my sweet husband makes all the time and how little he really asks of me in return.

Like filling the van up with gas yesterday. I have NO idea when I would have fit that in this week and it meant a lot to me that he noticed and seriously eased my burden. So while my kind gesture of making our life real crazy busy this week by offering to watch two young kids may have seemed like kindness to a friend going overboard, it was about Ryan. He loves to travel and to give me a break from being Momzilla so I can remember and be that girl he married. This kid watching craziness is a swap so we can go travel. And in the 36 hours so far that we've survived having 5-6 kids 8 and under, I've repeated that to myself over and over. But better yet, I guess you could say that not only do I need to perhaps simplify my gestures and better communicate my intentions to the one I'm doing it for, but I also just need to do more of them! Thanks for inspiring, supporting, and enduring me, Cute Boy!

Side note: These kids I'm watching are real easy tempered, good kids. For instance, they're good eaters and sleep 12-14 hours per night. Hello!