I’ve talked a lot about the different seasons in our life, and how each one is special and different and faces it’s own challenges and rewards. I remember me and Matt saying to each other SO many times when the kids were really small….”it’ll slow down a little when the kids get older”. Truth is, it’s only forged full speed ahead with no sign of slowing in the near future. And while sometimes I long for things to be at a little slower pace, I don’t hate how busy we are…it’s just who we are. When we bought our farm in 2012, I don’t think we realized even then, how it would shape and sculpt our life in a totally different way. Now, six years later, it’s busier and has more responsibilities than it did in the beginning, so taking time away from it isn’t something we can do easily. We love our life…we love our friends and families, but if you consider yourself a friend of mine in this season of our life, I’m probably not the best friend.
Last week, I hit a wall…and when I say hit it, I WAS DONE. Matt and I both are busy from the time our feet hit the ground in the mornings…he’s getting up early to take care of animals at our own farm…I get up, make breakfast…and yes, I try to literally MAKE breakfast for the kids…(this year I just got tired of them eating cereal that I knew wasn’t good for them)…then, lunches are made, last minute kid wardrobe changes, usually a load or two of clothes goes into the washers before we leave, beds are made, dirty clothes picked up, dishwasher emptied, then coffee must be made before we run out the door to take kiddos to schools…three kids, three different schools this year. Matt takes one and I take the other two. I could forego the clothes and other chores, but let’s be honest, the cat isn’t going to do it while we are gone during the day, and I’m away at the office five days a week, and Matt is at his job too. The past few weeks, while we’ve been getting back into school mode, it’s been a change of pace and a change of chores for the kids, and when i say change…well, I think they just lost their mind and didn’t think they had any. I tell them all the time “school is your job right now”…yet, there are still responsibilities that they need to help with at home. It was one too many days of dirty dishes in the sink when the dishwasher was open and empty…it was too many shoes left in the kitchen instead of their rooms…it was too many backpacks being dumped in the kitchen and left for dead…or maybe it was the five baskets of clean laundry in the living room, or the stacks of folded laundry that no one seemed to want to put away…nonetheless, it took me nearly losing my mind on Saturday to hit a reset button. I swear you can talk and ask nicely once or twice, but it takes literally looking like I walked out of an Exorcist audition to get any serious attention. Sunday, I put them outside with water and instructions for chores…Matt was around for supervision too…and I said “you can only come in if you for real have to poop…and I might want to see it to be sure you’re telling the truth”…I was cleaning, and honestly, I didn’t want their help at that point. By then, I didn’t need bickering of who was doing the most, or finding something halfway done…I just wanted to do it myself, music playing, and no help from anyone. Let’s face it, cleaning your house with kids in tow is like eating Oreos while brushing your teeth. I’ll say, for the most part, they respected it and stayed out…they cleaned the garage, picked up sticks, cleaned off the porches, washed my car…and of course played some too. When there was a squirmish, I just directed them to Matt or told them to work it out before one of us had to.
Lots of people and things that I love get neglected while we are maneuvering about our life and our farm. Jesus didn’t program me to sit around…I have a really hard time just sitting…I don’t nap unless I’m sick…very jealous of those that can, and even at night, my 40-year old brain wakes up and can’t sleep more nights than it can. It’s easy to be drained…emotionally and physically. I often look at my phone and find a text that I may have responded to, but didn’t hit send…I may not have responded at all, but was really glad to hear from you. I don’t really visit, and I don’t love surprise visitors. I see Facebook and Instagram posts from friends, and think “Man, how do they have time for that?”. All three kids take music lessons, Cullen is playing fall baseball because he will move up in age groups next year, Carson was doing orgainzed workouts until he fractured his ankle (to restart soon), and I try to get Effie into races when I can. Could I sign her up for less and have more “free” Saturdays? I could, but honestly, I don’t think that’s what is best for her. To see how much her confidence has grown and her anxiety has decreased over the past nine months is unfathomable…and it began with a 5K back in the spring. And my own little bit of refueling right now…in this season…it’s when I run with her, it’s my bit of taking care of myself too. I see and talk to women every single day, who don’t make time for themselves because they’re too busy taking care of everyone else…running with her is my way of putting myself back on my list of things to take care of. And we can talk about “lists”, but well, that a different blog for a different day…I have what Matt calls “pre-list lists”…it’s ridiculous really.
We just don’t really have free weekends…or whole days for that matter. When we have a rare day with not much on the agenda, it turns to getting caught up at home, cleaning, or on the farm with something we’ve not been able to get to for a while…when you don’t live that life, it’s hard to understand, especially when you’re in a different season of life than us. I don’t think for a second that we are busier than everyone else. I see other friends that are equally as all over the place with their kids and family, and many friends feel sometimes that they are drowning too. It’s nice to hear those things from folks, so it validates that I’m not alone. Me and Matt are fine with how busy life is, and how little time we have…one of our best dates ever was setting our alarms super early and getting in the boat to fish right outside in our backyard while the kids were still sleeping. It’s probably a good time to do that again soon. I tell couples all the time that they need to be sure and date, but I should probably take my own advice, but even for that, it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of time. We sort of suck at it.
If you’re a friend to me…I hope you forgive me while I very poorly navigate this season. It’s a season where I don’t make a lot of time for you…I don’t volunteer for a lot of stuff…it’s pretty centered around whatever one of the three kids have going on, the farm, or a race with Effie. A year ago, I didn’t know if my feet would ever get to follow behind hers again, and then they did. And while it’s true that some of the things we choose to do in life, like races, music lessons, extracurricular activities…are all entirely voluntary…as a family, we love them, and I think that all of the things we are involved in are important for each kid. They’re only small once, and while I have the next few years with the three little people that are some of the most important to me…you’re gonna fall in my to-do list. And I’m sorry. We are in Cataula…there’s always something to do at the farm. You might be hanging out while we plant a garden or inseminate some cows…or maybe you’ll get to catch a glimpse of a baby calf being born…you might come cheer Effie on as she crosses a finish line, but you’re always welcome to join me anywhere, but otherwise we don’t get away much. I feel guilty about it, but it’s just where I am right now. Somehow, it seems the wife in the family always takes the blame for lack of visits and plans, but Matt and I have played on the same team for years…it’s what we’ve always told our kids, and the same goes for how we manage our family and time.
So, know I love you all…I have a love-hate relationship with technology, but the love part is how I get to maintain contact with some of those friends that are neglected. I hope you still love me and hang in there…maybe give me a chance when life really does slow down…and I love hugs and always have one for you when I see you…but right now, this week, this month, and for a period of time I can’t see the end to, I’m not saying I’m a bad friend, but I can see how it looks that way.