Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Each spring when I start wearing flip-flops again, I realize how small a bubble I live in. You know how when you take a step in flip-flips, you first roll up onto your toes, leaving the heel part of the shoe still lying flat on the ground? Well, in the early spring, my kids step on that. So then when the heel of the shoe needs to “flop,” I seize up short, pinned to the ground by some too-close little hooligan. The kids are so close they’re standing within my footprint.

Elbows in my stomach, sticky hands on my face, on my lap not next to it, lurking outside the bathroom door, bursting into my bedroom. But it’s not just physical space I crave. When I’m stick, tired, or overwhelmed, I feel like life is closing in around me, like I can hardly get a clear breath of air.

Today I feel space for the first time in months. Kids one through four are at school. After a pretty nightmarish weekend of some terrible stomach flu or food poisoning, I feel well. I opened the windows to let in fresh air and caught up on some housekeeping.

This summer was a bit challenging since the kids’ release from school coincided perfectly with me not feeling well. The summer waves of vacations and houseguests—though welcome—did feel kind of overwhelming at times. But still. That’s life.

I think, some people, when they’re sick or overwhelmed or whatever, bail out. They tell the world, “No, I can’t drive carpool / make your dinner / teach Primary / watch your kids / go on an outing.” I almost never cancel. I do it all. But with teeth clenched and a grim expression on my face. All summer long I think my kids suffered with a mildly grumpy and detached mom, rarely an enthusiastic and warm one.

The need for a bit of space—psychological and otherwise—is real and valid. But still. In the coming year, I’ll have plenty of times when I feel exhausted, sore, distracted, and burdened. I’ve got to find a way to be patient and joyful regardless.

I think I’ll start with bailing out on Levi’s Cub Scout pack meeting tonight.

1 comment:

  1. I still remember Mom lecturing us smaller kids on how we needed to stay out of "Angela's bubble". I didn't get it then, but I sure do now! Here's to better times ahead!