Living in the Midwestern Plains of the U.S. isn’t as sexy as it sounds.
Oh wait. It doesn’t sound sexy?
Well, good, ‘cause it isn’t.
But one thing that I wouldn’t trade about this part of the country is the drastic changing of seasons. We don’t have to wonder if winter is here because we wake up one morning and the world outside our window is white. We don’t have to wonder if it’s spring because the long death ends with green and pink buds on trees everywhere we go. We know it’s summer because it’s so hot and humid that it feels like the devil’s ass crack has sat down on the earth.
But fall is my favorite.
One morning, that hellish humidity just vanishes and we are left with air so crisp you could almost be in the mountains.The trees finally show their true colors and the whole area comes ablaze.
I find the reliable changing of seasons comforting. Within each one lies an acceptance and a letting go, as well as embracing new temporary things to enjoy.
This morning, as I walked our four year old into his preschool twelve minutes late, I couldn’t help but notice the shade his teacher was throwing my way. Granted, I wasn’t looking my “best”, per se. A long night with a sick husband and a little one who decided to wake up at 4am had left me totally exhausted. When I finally got back to sleep, it was time to get up and that meant I and everyone else was up late and exhausted. I paraded my hungry child into that classroom like any proud mother of three – dressed in mostly pajamas, with a giant rats nest in the back of my hair and dried mascara bits stuck under my eyes, looking like a crack whore.
The crack-whore-mommy-look is real. How about that for a new hashtag, you little instagramming lovelies? I drove away from the school feeling guilty. Guilty for being late, for making my son miss half of breakfast time, for parading myself around in public looking like a homeless person, for not begin more sympathetic to my husband when he really does feel awful, not giving more stress-free time to our older boys, for having a dirty house, not having enough groceries for the day, for all of it. As I drove home with all the other stressed-out and crazy drivers of earth, I noticed a group of leaves changing color on a nearby tree and I remembered, “oh yeah… this is a season.”
And it has been one hell of a season, for me and for many of my dearest friends. I have close friends going through everything right now from broken relationships with family, financial crisis, depression and anxiety attacks, miscarriage, job loss, addiction, poor health, and doubt. There is a broad range of human suffering surrounding me on a daily basis, and I am right there in it with them. I am reminded of that every time we go to another appointment at the children’s hospital or realize Zion isn’t meeting another milestone.
This morning I remembered that this is a season. We are all in these years of not just having small children, but being responsible to feed and water and clothe and parent them in hopes that they will come out of childhood alive. Some of us, myself included, are also trying to run businesses that support our families while dealing with much of the above. This means we exist in a perpetual deficit. These are the days of shorter showers and interrupted bathroom breaks, of being woken up in the middle of the night just to share your bed with a four year old and have them lie there and kick you in the ribs for the next five hours. This season includes an increased volume level just to be heard, dirty hands and feet pawing the walls and running the floors, a minimum of two people that need something at all times, an unfinished to-do list, and all the while, we are still just trying to figure out how to finally be grown-ups. Things like coffee dates, long walks, “alone time,” balance, and feeling well – rested just aren’t in the cards for us much these days. And I’ll go ahead and speak for myself and say neither is texting back in a timely manner, staying on top of emails, making uninterrupted time for friends, keeping my laundry done, or having the margin to volunteer for anything.
It’s a season.
I realize there’s going to be a day when there aren’t 2,000 legos hiding in all of the corners of my house where I walk barefoot. There will be a day when Zion can clearly communicate his needs with me so I no longer worry that his shunt will fail and we won’t know about it in time. There’s probably even going to be a day when we no longer run a business and have unanswered emails coming out of our ears every morning. There’s going to be a day when my friends and I don’t have any kids at home anymore, and our days and nights are solely ours to begin the day with a four hour shower, followed by slowly applying makeup and styling our hair, followed by coffee dates, lunch dates, ending with wine and cocktails. Or something like that.
But for now, we are in the thick of it. We are the ones embracing the struggle and not pretending that it’s always pretty or easy to do so. So to all of you fellow mama’s out there, embracing the crack-whore-mommy-look just to get shit done, I salute you, and I’m right there with you… for a season.