Growth Opportunity

I've been sitting here debating about how verbose I should be about the week I've had.

I'm going with the minimalist approach--highlights only. Let's just say, Jason's been on a trip since Monday morning. Let's also mention that Jude, who is still working on finishing his Grade 5 math, has a way of turning a 45-minute lesson into an all-day affair that simultaneously involves a minor civil war. Let's discuss how my three oldest children can't seem to go for more than five minutes inside the house without fighting, arguing, or complaining, either with me or each other (both are equally wearing on me). Let's also remember that once I finally get all my kids into bed, (primarily Levi, as the others are all perfectly capable of getting themselves to bed), I have been working outside until it is too dark to see (about 11:30 p.m.), then coming inside and working in my office until my eyes refuse to see anything, which has made for way more short nights in a row than any single parent should allow themselves. And let's not forget that someone nearly ran me off the road on Tuesday (I'm pretty sure they were texting, also driving down the centre of the gravel road in the first place--WHY do people do that?!) And let's tack on that the baby seems to be having one of those weeks where he thinks that sleep is only for other, less-happening babies. And that he is now paying for that attitude with a nasty cold that descended upon him today, and which is making it even more difficult for him to sleep.

Let's finish that up by mentioning that I don't feel like I have only one raw nerve left, but that I am that raw nerve. I love my kids to pieces, but I need a break. With a capital B-R-E-A-K. It is taking all my effort not to run out the door, arms outstretched and eyes bug-eyed like a cartoon character, laughing maniacally and beating my head against a brick wall repeatedly to make it all stop.

I can't seem to get a grip on myself this week, and I feel weak and ridiculous about it--I feel like I have had a whole week of "epic failure" as a parent, and wonder what happened to that strong, self-assured woman I was the week before? Or the week before that? And how other women of my acquaintance manage to "single parent" for stretches of time quite well, without being fodder for the Funny Farm in only five days?

Okay, I knew I needed a break before this week descended on me. But I think what happened is this: if I am a tomato plant, developing strength and resistance to the pressures of wind and weather and heavy fruit to grow strong, and those pressures are the strong wills, needs, and requirements of my four children and running a household and hobby farm, then the stake that lends me support is Jason. And Jason left. Only, I haven't developed the extra strength required for not having him here to take the pressure off of me for the last several hours of every day so I can recouperate from the day's efforts. And I toppled over.

Now, my fruit is all messy and bruised, and I'm pretty sure my kids didn't remain unscathed, either. I may indulge in a cry (not for the first time this week), and some chocolate (also not the first), and maybe a chick flick and early-bedtime (that would be the first one) tonight. And I am very much looking forward to my husband's return tomorrow morning.

Lord, thank you for helping me grow stronger. Even if the process is painful sometimes. And please let Jason's work trips be over soon. Amen.