I went to Walgreens yesterday to get some sinus medication and as I was walking through the makeup aisle, I realized that my mascara was going to be old enough to legally drink and I should probably replace it. I thought, “Hey, this will be easy” and went to grab the first waterproof tube of brown-ish mascara I could find. Five minutes later, I was mesmerized by the prices, the options, the different versions of waterproof and I did the only logical thing I could do at the moment. I started to cry.
I realized that there might be something more wrong with me than being annoyed at the mascara section of Walgreens.
I came home, nerves still twanging. Greg looked at me and said, “Why don’t you get out of here for a while” and made me some coffee to keep me warm in the Colorado thunderstorm.
A few hours later, after spending some time under my favorite tree with my favorite book and a very, very timely phone call from a friend who had noticed my recent silence, I got some stuff sorted out.
I have a feeling anyone who reads what comes next will identify with a lot of it and maybe you all will either be helped or have more ideas for what will help me.
In no particular order…
I’m a stay at home mom. I work in my living space. I have to live in my work place. I have to try to get rest in the middle of my pile of things to do. That isn’t particularly restful. I’m not obsessed with having a clean house and I certainly don’t care if things are in order, but living in the middle of the stuff that needs to get done is getting tough.
Moving right along to the next reason I cried over my mascara, we are going through a massive schedule change right now. My four year old has special needs and is going to a wonderful preschool in a few weeks. They switched his schedule from starting at noon to starting at 8:00 a.m. Which means I have to wake him up an hour and a half earlier than he would normally wake up and get him out the door. The quiet mornings I’ve used as a resting time are now gone. Unless I want to get up at 4:45, which, um, no. So, Jake wakes up already tired. When a child with sensory processing disorder gets tired, they don’t get slower and slower until they crash, they get more and more ramped up. So, I have a thirty-five pound canonball crashing through the house at 7:00 and he does…not…stop. Ever.
Since we are on summer break, which I love because Jake is home all the time. I miss my little guy during the school year and with no fixed schedule we can go do fun things together. However, he and I never leave each others sides. Greg has also been working a lot of overtime, so I don’t feel like I can meet him at the door in my running clothes and take off for a few hours to get away. Seriously, the guy needs a break, too! My motto about taking time away is that the needs of the family outweigh the needs of the individual. If the family as a whole isn’t going to be better for me leaving for a bit, then I figure out a different way to get some rest. As I sat twitching in my car in the parking lot of Walgreens, I realized that in the three months since Jake has been out of school, I have had less than four total hours by myself. That’s probably not a good thing.
More about this later, but my chronic pain has doubled recently and so my doctor recommended doubling my pain prevention meds. It’s been working, but I’ve also been plagued with what I call Barbie Brain. I am spacey, forgetful, I do things like putting all my vegetables needing refrigeration in my pantry and my car keys in the fridge, and normal things, such as taking care of myself just do NOT occur to me. That’s not good either.
The arthritis in my back has started making it’s presence known and now I have a series of back exercises that have to be done every single day. Because I want one more thing to have to take care of, right?
I also have a few pretty big things that I’m working through spiritually and mentally. I’m fine with the work that needs to be done, but it is still tiring and stretching and my brain hurts sometimes. And, it just won’t shut up. Ever.
After my stressed out, hyperventilating brain had a moment of quiet, I realized, rather quickly, why the mascara aisle made me cry.
I need space.
I need rest.
I need to be away from the to do list.
I need to stop being so stinking self-disciplined that it consumes me and doesn’t accomplish what the discipline is supposed to give me.
Who cares if I’m reading my bible every day if the mascara aisle makes me cry?
Who cares if I’m reading to Jake every day if we end up getting frustrated with each other?
Who cares if my kitchen is clean if I’m too exhausted to figure out what to make for dinner?
More importantly, the stuff I’m working through demands the space, time, and rest to process itself out. Right now, I’m not giving those things the time they deserve.
The question I always ask myself is, “What now? What do I do with this?”
I’m going to start with chucking the to do list out the window. I pretty much get the stuff done that needs to be done, but I really don’t need the pressure of the list staring me in the face.
I’m going to let my medication adjust without getting frustrated that my vegetables are in the closet. Again.
I’m going to take the last two weeks that Jake has of summer break and I’m going to do whatever the crap we want to do without needing to get anything done first. (Today we rode the shuttle bus for an hour just because Jake really likes buses.)
I’m going to stop my current reading project of finishing all the Newbery Award books by the end of the year and read whatever I want to. Seriously, if I finish the list in February, nations will not crumble into disarray. It’s not like, if left to itself, my brain will desire Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. I have a biography of Genghis Khan on my reading list, so I think my brain is going to survive the hiatus.
I’m going to stop reading my bible all the way through (Wait! Don’t freak out and put me on your church’s prayer list yet!) and start reading the Psalms. Or Job. Or the book of Ruth. Or dig very, very deeply into the topic of prayer and what that really means. I need that space and time for God to talk to me instead of deciding what He is going to say to me. I’m pretty done with that.
While I was out the other night, I went to my favorite spot. My favorite tree. The branches have grown even more since I went there last and now they reach almost all the way down to the pond, providing a little green, watery cave. After I cried for a bit longer, something unwound inside myself and the verse about how the righteous are like trees planted by the edge of the water rang in my head. I love that image of a giant tree planted firmly by the water. I realized, for the first time, that trees don’t exactly get up and run around very much. They stay still. They are steadfast. They don’t move.
That’s my goal for a while. Just rest. Be still. Let God continue to heal up those places that have been recently damaged. Let Him give me the peace He wants to give instead of me screaming at Him to give me what I think I want.
It’s going to be fantastic!