It’s all relaxing beach InstaStories, right friends?
Um, not over here.
I had dozens of friends who were just limping through May and the end of school to get to the Holy Grail of summer. Heck, I thought I was one of them. Little bit had softball, the boys had baseball, all three had swim team, there was work stuff and church stuff and lots of end of school stuff.
We’d just get to JUNE!
But if any of you have jobs and your partner has a job and your kids are young, then the summer, well, it can leave you stretched.
It left me stretched.
First of all, can we just talk about swim team? If any of you do or have done swim team, WHY? Yes, yes, it builds great skills, is both a team and individual sport, gives kids focus and new groups of friends, but seriously. There has to be a better way. For those of you unindoctrinated, swim team involves daily swim practices (M – F) followed by heat-laden Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm for meets. At least, that’s our league’s schedule.
So you find yourself limping to June, only to be slapped in the face with swim team.
Next, and I’ll do better next year, our July is lower key than June when it should have been the other way around. Add to June-sanity the kiddos first sleep away camp. They loved it. At least the boys did. We experimented with a wee away camp, Carolina Creek (just north of us), for only three away nights. The same week I had an out-of-town speaking engagement and we hosted an adults-only shrimp boil (one of my June highlights – wow it’s nice to talk to fellow parents with no kiddo interruptions).
And just before, two of the three got sick. One with MONO! Did you even know 8 year olds could have mono? I learned all about complications and laying low (for him, not me) and the potential for enlarged spleens!
The next week was filled with VBS, which I’ll write about tomorrow, and it’s fun but crazy. I teach in the mornings and work in the afternoons and evenings. VBS was followed with Father’s Day at the farm. Father’s Day was followed by a dance intensive camp for little bit, work travel for me, and the final week of swim team which meant pep rally Thursday, semi finals Friday, finals Saturday, and end of season party Sunday. Whew!
The final week of June left me needing to get a work visa to travel to Shanghai (which just got resolved, so I won’t be heading on a jet plane this weekend) and the kids writer’s camp.
My friend and I work out at 5 am and I texted her the night before one of our work outs. The baby had a horrible ear infection and had been up nights. I’d been working crazy hours with Chinese colleagues. I pleaded: These are my eyes after the cover up comes off. I haven’t had five hours of sleep strung together this week – I will willingly work out Saturday if I can sleep past 5 tomorrow.
I found myself stretched.
It was in this lean and exhausted place that the kids and Bray took off this past weekend before the 4th for the farm. He had the week off, and I would meet up with them Tuesday night after work. I was sad to see them leave, but I had no idea how much I would need space to rebound. After 24 hours of quiet, I penned this on FB: I had no idea how much I needed this weekend. As B drove the kids to the farm, I was sad. But this time has been deeply restorative. Yesterday, I cleaned and organized and watched Parenthood (yes, I’m still trying to finish it). Today, I started this morning with crepes and a new book and am spending the afternoon cooking for friends tomorrow.
The book I started, Made Like Martha, is written for those of us doers. Katie, the author, points out that Jesus didn’t want Martha to be like Mary. The doing wasn’t her problem. It was her motivation and that she’d allowed the doing to make her “worried and bothered.” (Luke 10:42) She writes:
My worth gets tangled up in my works, so I walk with a spiritual limp… I’m often discouraged. I’m worn out from trying to be everything to everyone and fed up with messing up. Capable is my middle name, yet if I’m honest, I’m a few yeses away from falling apart… The hurry makes my body ache. Words lash out. All this pushing tires my soul. The proving steals my peace. Made Like Martha, Chapter 1.
Us Marthas get stretched thin. Stretched until it becomes ever more difficult to bounce back.
And even as we rebound, we can still get set off for silly things. Even after a quiet several days with cleaning and cooking and friends and work, I found myself at the farm still easily triggered. I apologized for snapping about running out of sugar and realized that we don’t refill in a few days what’s taken months (or dare I say, years) to drain. If we can’t find time to refuel regularly, then a couple of days of a break won’t fix a threadbare spirit.
I am recharged by writing, reading, cooking, and traveling. Aside from work travel (which doesn’t count), I’ve not done much of ANY of those four things this year. Hard stuff has happened in 2018, but it’s felt harder because I’ve prioritized everything else. I’ve become “worried and bothered about so many things.”
So, in addition to getting some sleep which cures many ills, I’m cooking. I’m planning some trips. And I’m back here in this little corner writing, after taking some time to read new books. I want to be better for these people, so I have to give my busy Martha-self some space and time to refill and bounce back. It leads to a smiling momma on the 4th of July (and four out of five smiling people ain’t so bad!).