Can I have a Time Out?

Today is one of those days where I feel like I have no right to be writing a blog. I contemplated just posting one sentence. “Esther is too grumpy to write today, come back next week.” One of the main reasons I started writing this blog was to set up an accountability that forced me to write regularly. I knew that I enjoyed writing, but I didn’t do it often, and I was looking for an outlet where I not only would have a place to share my writing, but also a bit of pressure to keep writing. Which leads me to today where I would much rather hide under the covers of my bed with a book than attempt to write down my thoughts on anything. But, it’s blog-writing day.  I also wanted this blog to be a place where people could see someone being real. So. I guess I should write.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just needed a good Time Out? Like, listen, honey, you are not playing well, your attitude stinks, and I think you should go to your room for the rest of the day and think about it. How come grownups don’t get Time Outs? Probably cause we would take advantage of it. ME! ME! ME! I need a Time Out! Please, can I have a Time Out???? Maybe that’s one of the worst things about adulthood. There is no Time Out. You have to show up every day or face harsh consequences.

Days like today are the days where I feel like I really don’t deserve the title of Mom. Or wife. Or Christian. Or friend. I am not living up to my own expectations for these roles at all.

Life is also not living up to my expectations. As a teenager, dreaming about my future grown-up-ness, I imagined adventure, romance, excitement, doing things that helped save the world. And here I am. My adventure now entails trying to keep my family warm on a cold day with my little wood stove cause the heater broke down and we can’t get someone to look at it till tomorrow. Romance involves playing Yahtzee together in bed, late at night, and texting silly things to each other during the day. (Ok, I have no problems with the romance in my life, it has evolved from young passion into a solid love and enjoyment of each other, but it doesn’t look anything like the romance books talk about.) Excitement is calling 911 in the middle of the night because someone is shooting off a gun in my neighborhood. Saving the World? Well, I kind of hope that my kids are going to grow up to be solid citizens who will make a difference in the lives around them. And I guess I’m playing a part in that by doing my best to raise them right. But it’s kind of a nebulous achievement. No hard numbers or statistics to point at and say, Look, I have taught 20 illiterate adults to read! Look, I fed 100 orphans today! Look, I just spent a lot of time lobbying and I managed to get this bill passed that is going to help my community! Nope. I can say, hey, I signed my kids homework folder! Everyone in my house ate three meals today! My husband has clean socks in his drawer! All necessary things, but doesn’t feel much like saving the world.

My husband and I both grew up as missionary kids, and as adults we had a hard time settling down. We moved back to Tennessee fifteen years ago and I consider it something of a miracle that we have managed to stay. At least once a year one or both of us get the urge to move. Let’s just sell the house and go overseas. Let’s just move out of the city and find a nice little town to live in. Let’s move out West. Or up North. We call it being “restless”. Really though, it’s probably a good dose of “The grass looks greener over there.” As someone who moved about every two years my whole growing up life, I can tell you that for me, staying in one place is a million times harder than moving around. Staying in one place means you have to go through boring times where everything feels the same every day. Staying in one place means that you have to repair friendships and relationships when they unravel instead of just moving on to a new set of relationships. Staying in one place means you have to constantly adjust your expectations to fit the reality you are living in instead of just not dealing with it and moving on to something better over the horizon. (I am not trying to criticize people who move around a lot. It has its own set of pitfalls and downers and I know people aren’t moving around a lot just so they can avoid permanence. I’m just saying that for me, comparing both, I find permanence a lot harder.)

I am pretty sure that my mood today is a product of discontentment. The grass does look greener in the next yard. I feel like moving. I’m tired of housework. Everything feels blah.

So, I will adopt the cure I always give my children when they are particularly whiny and complaining. Be thankful.

Ok, here goes. I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for my crazy kids. I am thankful for this old, beat-up house that shelters my children so perfectly. I am thankful for food on the table, a car out in the driveway, my husband’s job. I am thankful for this blog that gives me an outlet for all my personal angst. I’m thankful God still loves me. I’m thankful tomorrow is a new day.

See you all next time. Hopefully I’ll be a in a better mood by then. 🙂  

Snow Day: Expectations vs Reality

Snow Day. I remember the joy those words used to cause when I was a child. Back in those olden times, we wouldn’t know it was going to be a snow day until we woke up early in the morning. Our parents would check the closings on the news or the radio and then come quietly say the words at our bedroom doors, “Snow day! No school today!” We would of course then jump out of bed and race to the window to see how much snow there was. Forget about sleeping in, it was a Snow Day!! Must get outside as fast as possible and play with the snow for as long as possible!

Now I’m on the other side of the equation. Nowadays I hear the night before that school is cancelled for the next day. I receive an automated phone call from the school board. They make their decision based on all the weather reports and predictions. Forget about waiting to see what actually happens. This of course has resulted in us sometimes having a snow day and no snow as the weather refuses to cooperate with the weather channels’ forecasts. But, that’s alright. I like knowing in advance. Being forewarned means that, in theory, we should be able to switch off the alarm clocks and sleep in. In fact, my mind conjured this really great image of a Snow Day.

It looked something like this..

fireside#1

And maybe some of this…

fireside#2

So the reality is my kids were in my room at 7am, before sunrise, asking to go outside. I made them wait till it was light enough that they could at least see their hands in front of their faces. Then we had to dress everyone in snow pants, coats, gloves, hats, snow boots…we didn’t even attempt scarves as that just seemed one thing too many. All of these items had to be pulled out of storage. (We get snow maybe two or three times a year.) Then someone dressed the two year old for me, trying to be helpful, except the baby had a poopy diaper, so I then had to to completely undress him again to change him first. And of course, since my kids like to use our gloves for things like storing dirt; or making baby doll hats; or storing a marble collection, we didn’t have enough gloves for everyone which then resulted in this…

noahgloves

 

After finally launching all of them out the door, I stood at the doorway in my slippers and took the obligatory Snow Day Pictures…

phoebenomisnow

judahjoshsnow

 

The teenagers of course tried to sleep in as much as their younger siblings would let them. When they did finally emerge, they looked out the window at the snow, grunted, and went back to their lairs…I mean bedrooms.

Little children ran in and out of the house in soaking wet, snow-covered clothing, complaining about wet gloves, snowballs in the face, and the most interesting one: the claim that the eleven year old had stolen all the snow. My pointing out the window at all the white stuff on the ground was not convincing enough evidence for the seven year old making this claim. Apparently all that white stuff didn’t count, he had stolen the “good” snow.

I did make an attempt at being Pinterest Worthy. And told the kids I would make them hot cocoa. I got the water boiled, cups laid out, children gathered around, then opened the hot cocoa tin and found out that we only had a tiny bit of hot cocoa powder left. I divvied it up and everyone had a little bit of weak cocoa. Without marshmallows.

The house got trashed. The kids watched a lot of TV. I may have “raised my voice” a couple times. Ah yes. Snow Day.

Finally late afternoon I got hold of the situation and had everyone clean a section of the house. Turned the TV off, played scrabble with my daughter. Enjoyed a cup of tea. Made a nice hot supper. Had a chaotic, but family centered evening.

Tomorrow the kids go back to school, one hour delayed. That sounds so much better. One hour to sleep in a bit later, not be so rushed, but we still have a schedule to cling to. I think that’s going to be my new plea to the Weather Channel, Let’s have a one-hour delay!! That works for me.