So, things have been psycho at my house lately. The kids aren’t even in school currently, but Erron and I still feel like we are ships passing in the night. It’s good stuff: swim, Sister’s wedding festivities, VBS meetings, but just, you know… crazy. Erron and I have gotten sideways more than a few times over unmet and unrealistic expectations of each other and ourselves. I hear the same type of argument played out in different ways from my other married-with-young-children friends. She’s annoyed with him for getting home later than she’d like, he’s working his butt off…. his commute home is at least 30 minutes and he’s frustrated with her for being annoyed. Then she takes the argument one step further because he obviously doesn’t understand how hard it to “commute” home from swim in rush hour traffic, at dinner time, with two equally exhausted and ferociously hungry little people. With no dinner plans. Because she was at swim. And by ‘she’ I mean ‘me.’ But whatever. I CANNOT be the only one.
The other day I had this gem of a conversation with Shepherd who was raiding the pantry at 4:45 pm.
Me: Shep, you cannot have pretzels for dinner. What can I make you? Eggs? PPJ? Yogurt and cheerios? What will you eat?? Not pretzels.
Shep: How about a sandwich with Nutella?
Me: Nope. You can’t have chocolate for dinner.
Shep: Breakfast drink? (Ensure)
Me: Um, NO. You can’t have chocolate milk for dinner either. Eggs?
Shep: I know! What about waffles?
Me: Shep! No! You just lick off the powdered sugar. Quesadillas? Stir fry??
Shep: (now whimpering) I just want a piece of bread and some nutella!! (Fake tears.)
This went on for an absurd amount of time until I caved and spread peanut butter AND nutella onto two pieces of bread. Cooking dinner is so stressful.
I know these are first world problems. I’m living out my dream job and I believe the old ladies when they tell me someday, not too long from now, Erron and I will look back on these days and crave them. And I sincerely believe the struggle of one income, and the temporary loss of my identity is worth it. I feel the sweetness and brevity of this time in bits and spurts throughout each day. But some of the other minutes (hours)….I wonder, “Am I MISSING something??” This load of laundry is not going to change the world, and I’m feeding my kids breakfast for dinner. Again. Is this it?! Will my greatest achievements be an empty laundry basket and the day I can prepare a family meal that includes side dishes? Will my family even sit down at a set table and eat it?? A set dinner table—we got big dreams over here at the Weig house. Because I’m totally in control of my thought life, my mind jumps into fast forward and I start to panic. I’m suddenly 50 and I haven’t made any significant impact on the world around me. Also, my kids are going to college and still have no idea what’s on the dirty dozen list. They don’t eat clean. They don’t even eat vegetables. I have failed my life.
I complained to a friend last night about how I am certain my life is sneaking away from me. She talked me off the ledge by reminding me that she too, had been on it not long ago. Then she simplified it for me. “Allie, we are living it….we’re fine, we’re great!” We’re living it!” And she’s right. We are, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Right now, it feels like aimlessly herding little people around and praying they turn out OK. And truthfully, I’ve been restless for months. I can’t go back to the person I was before last summer, but I haven’t figured out what this new woman is supposed to be doing with her life after being handed such a second chance. I’m scared I’m not making the most of it, but can’t figure out how to do it any better. I’m tired of being restless; I’m ready for some direction. But maybe that’s how this gig works. You do the best you can, seek out the wisest voices you can find, ask the Man Upstairs for some direction, and then put one tentative foot in front of the other. I don’t really know. That’s how I’m doing it. I’ll let you know how it turns out when I’m 50…. If my kids are healthy eaters by then, they’ll be doing better than me and I’ll call myself an expert.