Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Bigger Picture

As I write this I am enjoying a quiet house (Loren put himself to bed with the kids) and a cup of herbal tea.  There have been very few moments of stolen solitude this month.  February can be a tough month for me, smack in the middle of winter and prone to the post-holiday blues etc.  I vowed to make it different this year, and different it was.  We came down with round two of the stomach flu.  I didn't even know you could get it twice in a winter. You can.  That knocked me out.  For two weeks.  I was so tired I could barely get through the days.  I think it terrified me--a glimpse of what it would feel like to not be able to care for my family and self--that threw me into an emotional tail spin and just as I was getting back on my feet the kids came down with a hacking cough, irksome enough to keep us all awake at night. I did my best to snuggle them and humidify them and use homeopathic remedies galore.  I even slathered them in garlic-infused coconut butter before bed (this actually kind of worked, and made them smell like scampi).  It seems like--knock on REDWOOD--that everyone is on the mend. Except that poor Eli is now undergoing a major sleep regression.
 He has decided he is too big for naps, and after a crappy 30 minute morning nap he refuses to sleep for the rest of the day. I might be more willing to roll with it if he weren't so fiercely grumpy.  Like sister looks at him wrong and he flings himself onto the floor in a writhing tantrum of agony grumpy.  Ugh.  It's not pretty.  And nap time involves an hour of screaming, thrashing and pleading--and that's just my role.  All this attention aimed at the youngest has left the eldest out of sorts, and she has decided to embark on a journey of a thousand whines.  I'm not going to lie.  I have locked myself in the bathroom more than once this week, and turned the fan on just to have the impression of quiet.
Weeks like this are hard.  They make it hard to see the beauty in the journey. It becomes easy to loose sight of the forest for the trees, as the saying goes.  
But these little people who have pushed me beyond my physical and mental limits this month also anchor me with the daily reminder to celebrate small triumphs.  A peaceful bedtime, a dinner cooked that everyone ate and enjoyed (so rare these days).  The delight of a pocket full of Valentines brought home from preschool.  Polka-dot socks and a twirling dress.  A hot cup of joe in the morning.  Pine cones.  It doesn't matter how many pine cones there are in the world, Eli picks each one up and treats it like its the finest treasure in the kingdom. 
And isn't that how we should approach our days?  Each one a precious gift--a rare treasure to be clutched tightly even though it will inevitably crumble a little in our awkward, well-meaning fingers.  Many times this week I have had to scrape myself up out of a self-pitying heap and remind myself of this. Take a breath, start over.

I know that someday in the not-so-distant future I will get to have an uninterrupted conversation with another grown-up.  Go on a date with my husband.  Make some friends here in Palmer.  Finish some of the house/woodworking/sewing projects that need to be done.  But for now we just need to find our rhythm again. 
and we will.


  1. i locked myself in the bathroom yesterday while blaine yelled, screamed, and beat on the door. i can't even take his crying and screaming. daily. i feel ya! winter and toddlers are ROUGH!

  2. Yes... the winter stretches out long in February. It seems just as bad this year with the warmer weather too... like a big teaser for a spring that is still months away. I'm glad to know I'm not the only mama at wits end out there. Hang in there!

  3. I hope things are getting better! There can be some really rough patches on the road of parenting. I myself have stumbled on many… Stomach flu (twice!) certainly doesn't help! You are such a brave mama to have got through that! So much truth in this post. When we are feeling down, we must remember to look around and notice the little things to appreciate and treasure here and there. Thanks for sharing. Hang in there! Spring is just around the corner!