Today is going to be whiny.
I'm just warning you.
I've been in a funk.
And it really helps me to type it out... put words to it.
I've always been a person who processes things by writing... try to get me to talk things out before I'm ready and I get nowhere... but let me write and I'll figure something out almost every time.
So I'll write.
This is the second summer in a row that has been really hard for me. As my kids get older, (and need me less and less to have fun) I find myself home alone many afternoons, wondering what happened to the sidewalk chalk and the kiddie pool and the endless slathering of sunscreen. Now it looks more like kids sleeping in until 10:00 or 11:00, waking up to their phones ringing with invitations and each one riding away on a bike or a scooter to hang out with a friend... or going to the movies or the pool without me.
I wrack my brain to come up with ideas for ways we can spend time together... and have fun.
Ah - there's the word that's causing me so much grief.
We took the kids to the lake on Saturday... a family day. And it was a total disaster. (In my pessimistic ugly little heart...)
It began with Asia deciding to unpack everything we'd brought at the picnic table... out comes the blanket. The umbrella. The chairs.
Don't ask me why - but this drove me crazy. The picnic table was nowhere near where we were going to settle in at the lake front... we were supposed to just eat lunch there. When I asked him what he was doing, he replied "I just want to sit and enjoy the view..."
(Here is the place where you can call me petty and ridiculous - but sometimes the man drives me crazy. We proceeded to eat lunch, and when we had finished eating, he took his book out of his backpack and sat in one of the chairs and read while the rest of us sat there looking at him, wondering why we weren't down at the lakefront dipping our toes in the water. He read about a page, then got up and started packing up the blanket, the chairs, the umbrella... )
That silly little episode set the tone for me. I'm not proud of it, but sometimes all it takes is one little thing to set my mood... and this did it. Stupid. But true.
When we finally got down to the lake, we ended up picking a spot, setting up, and then proceeded to spend the next hour in the blazing sun not having fun.
Savannah swam with Ethan for about ten minutes then laid on her towel with her MP3 player.
Kyler laid on the blanket with his socks and shoes on and never even touched the water.
Ethan swam alone, coming up to complain that he was swimming alone about every five minutes.
Asia read his book.
I sat there thinking about how stupid we are.
Fussing in the most un-Jesus-like way...
"We don't even know how to have fun together anymore..." kept going through my mind.
And then it kept going through my mind for the next two days.
So much so that I didn't even go to church on Sunday... couldn't face the crowds pretending to be okay... because by the time we were driving to church, I had blown the whole thing into this epic, disastrous analysis of our family and all it's shortcomings... and in particular, all my shortcomings as a mother and wife.
Geez. I can be such a loser.
I spent the morning down by the river while my family was at church. I found a rock and sat there feeling sorry for myself. Listing off how un-fun I am. How I've failed my kids. How we'll never be able to afford our trip to Africa (that always comes into the mix when I'm upset...)
I know. Pathetic.
I don't write this all out to have you comment and try to remind me of all the fun things we've done as a family. I don't want you to try to help me see how blessed I am. I know.
The truth is, I have an amazing family. Wonderful, healthy, smart, engaging, interesting kids. A faithful and patient husband. A wonderful home. A heritage of faith.
But I'm walking through this transition where my definition of myself needs to change - and I'm pretty sure I have no idea how to do it. And where what used to work doesn't work any more.
And so I'm falling on my knees again.
'Cause I can't do it alone.
I'm so desperate to suck every little good thing out of my time with my kids while they're still home with me (we're down to three years left with Kyler... THREE YEARS!) that I think I'm overthinking and stressing and ruining it.
So that's where I'm at.
A couple of good nights' sleep and some time to process and pray and talk a bit about it has given me some perspective... but not really any answers.
So I'll continue to strive to be a blessing to my family and pray that God grants us some fun together this summer.
It never fails that just when I think I've got things figured out some other ugly part of me rears it's head and challenges me...
I'm thankful for a patient and longsuffering God and a patient and longsuffering husband and kids who only seem to remember the good...
Now if I could just find a way to stop the pathetic, sinful cycle of my ugly heart -
Jesus, forgive me...