Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Longest Year

War movies are my favorite genre of film, particularly those telling the various different angles and fronts of the Second World War. I love the new ones and old ones alike. Anyone who shares this passion has likely seen The Longest Day, maybe the most classic movie out there about D-Day. And, frankly, one of the longest. It tells the events of that day from both Allied and German perspectives - and from most perspectives, it was a day that never seemed like it would end.

This has been our year.

From the moment our middle child learned to crawl, life has been a battle. You name it, it's a challenge. Diaper changes, leaving ANYWHERE, getting dressed, brushing teeth, not getting exactly what he wants in the exact moment that he wants it and sometimes even getting exactly what he wants in the moment that he wants it, because, toddlers. We have changed his diet, sought professional help, tried to chart the things that trigger him the most.

Many days, it seems like being awake is the only trigger he needs for spectacular, screaming, violent tantrums. ALL. DAY. LONG.

And friends? I am exhausted. When you pile on sleep deprivation from an infant and the wonderful, but tiring world of a nine year old who has a thriving social life and extracurricular interests, there is just not enough of me. With a toddler who can wear out both of his parents within an hour of waking, it seems hard to have hope that we can ever be sane again.

We had two golden months around here in August and September. Two months where we could see the good. Two months where he was happy a lot of the day, where the level of chaos and tantrums was normal for a challenging two year old. Two months where my infant slept through the night. Two months where we thought, "Hey, maybe we can do this family of five thing and more than survive it."

We don't know where it came from or where it went.

And now, 3 months later, my husband is about to leave for several weeks of travel. I have plenty of friends in the military who have endured far longer stretches without a spouse. I am not trying to pretend that my situation is dire or that many parents haven't had to endure this for years at a time. I am just trying to be real.

And if I am real? I am scared. Scared that I won't be able to do it. That my toddler will break me.

But more than the fear, I am so tired of being tired. So tired of being hopeless, exhausted, sad, angry, fearful and helpless. Tired of just surviving. Tired of dreading the day's beginning. Tired of looking at the clock every 2 minutes in the hope that is is miraculously closer to 5 pm when my husband arrives home and can take charge of him.

I have no choice in the coming weeks. I will do it. He needs to travel and be his spectacular self and dazzle in his interviews.

I will be home alone, I will be mom, 24 hours a day. And the reality is, that I am not mom enough. I never was and never can be. And, oh, I so want to be.

So, because I am so tired of feeling defeated, from today until he leaves, I am going to make every effort to write one blog post daily. Just one post focusing on something that will help me look at these coming weeks as an opportunity to dig into the deepest wells of grace, hope and forgiveness that I can possibly dig into. Maybe I'll make a list of who, physically, can come take over if I am about to lose it. Maybe I'll have to lean into God's perspective of my boy to see past my anger and fatigue.

Bottom line, I don't know what will come out of this. But I am challenging myself today to find elusive hope. And because, historically, I have been able to find hope in hidden places when I've taken the risk to vulnerably write, then, gosh darn-it, I am going to find the time to write. Every day, even if it isn't pretty or polished. Even if I have to type through tears or with someone screaming in the background, I. WILL. WRITE.

Because, friends, something has to change. If there is one thing I can cling to right now, it is that God is always about redemption, about transforming things from ashes to beauty, bringing dead things to life.

And HE is God enough.

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