I’ve been quiet this week, in the midst of what feels like a storm. Feeling like I can never catch my breath, like we will never get into this routine of school and activities and All The Things that must happen in between. With all of this, I am feeling the weight of carrying this large family I chose, without feeling like I can rightfully complain. I picked this, fought for it, and am fortunate in so very many ways.
It’s just that the sheer need of all the people who depend on me sometimes becomes overwhelming. The baby is struggling to adapt to preschool, Stinky’s learning to balance full time public school and a demanding football schedule. Dozer started a new high school and is fourteen. Enough said. The Teenager got in some pretty significant trouble earlier in the week and we are weeding our way through that minefield. Sugar Biscuit’s birth dad is acting squirrely and I’m concerned about his behavior and that of his birth mom. We are wondering if we are safe, and trying to manage that relationship in the best way we can. My husband is worried about work, about meeting our financial needs, about the fact that things are a bit slow at the office. I’m trying to build him up, when we have time for a conversation, which is rare.
I feel like I’m spending all my time managing crises, filling buckets, actively listening, problem solving, depositing checks into other people’s emotional bank accounts while my own falls into the red. I feel like I can’t do anything right, not being used to the feeling of barely keeping my head above water. In addition, my cousin’s special needs son is very ill in the hospital, and I can’t stop thinking about and praying for him. And then I feel guilty for being down, because I’m so grateful for the health of my children and all our blessings.
I suppose I naively thought that after we had such a tough couple of years, things might ease up. Honestly, they have. But I guess I hoped we would move into this new house and into a season of peace. I’m feeling hard pressed to get our home as finished as possible, and don’t understand this drive. Maybe part of me thinks that once all the little projects are done, we can finally be still, be at peace.
Maybe this is just what comes when you have a lot of kids. My wise friend said, “Honey, the more people you have on the bus, the harder it is to steer!” Maybe it’s just one of the many rough patches we all encounter in life. I do know that everything is going to be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. I suppose I’d just like to enter Fall with a feeling of stillness, of safety and comfort. Watching Stinky feed the chickens, scratch the donkeys behind the ears as I write this, I know that better things are coming. I just have to keep rowing a little bit longer.