Saturday, July 14, 2007

Parenting Waves

One week ago Saturday I thought I was going to lose my mind. All the pressures and stresses of my current life overwhelmed me like a large tidal wave reaching high before crashing down hard on my body--it overpowered me and pulled me underwater--the undertow took over--an added motion that I could not control. Completely and totally overtaken. Drowning.

Since April I have been in a most bizarre holding pattern--my husband took a job 160 or so miles south of here, and we were supposed to follow behind in short order. As my family generously provided a place for him to stay about an hour away from his new job, we began an aggressive house search, identified "the house" and began the buying process. We were supposed to have closed on June 28th, but some unusual circumstances prevented that.

So, between April 16th and today, July 16th, I have been solo-parenting as we try to determine our next steps: shop for a house or rent, again, as the market takes another downward turn. It is a long, complicated & personal story, but rather than "'splain...no, there is too much; let me sum up." [any Princess Bride fans in the house?]

Summary:
high-travel husband, high-energy children, low-energy mom & wife.

What do you do when you cannot save yourself? Look for a Lifeguard, for crying out loud! My local lifeguard (dear friend) was traveling to see her family in the south. My life-partner was traveling, again, and barely available via intermitent cell phone calls. The Mother of all Lifeguards (AKA "Mom") was traveling through her own transitional waters. So, gratefully I reached out and grabbed the hand of my closest friend & she did what any good lifeguard ought to do--gave me a good and rational talking to! (Thanks, Kris!)

You can do it, keep your eyes up, reach, look for land, stay focused, don't panic, I'm here.

She offered for me to take a break at her place (about 5 hours south) and leave my children with her nanny while she & I got pampered. But, I didn't feel like escaping was my best solution--I needed an attitude adjustment!

So I allowed my local lifeguard, again in town, to practice some rescue techniques on me over the weekend--she took my younger child while I spent time with my elder. He needed me apart from my stresses. We needed to go and find fun outside of our confining house. So, we just ran some common, every day errands together (post office, dry cleaners, cell phone service, groceries), as I looked for his gifts and charm long the way, rather than only seeing obstinance as his identifying character trait. I needed to find a space away from home where I could say "Yes" to all his requests, and he could run & laugh freely. We found that at a nearby shopping area--ducks, a pond, weeping willows and lily pads. Then, we picked up his sister after her nap at my friend's house (thank you, Rachel!) & trekked over to Vienna for a wonderful adventure climbing inside a classic restored red caboose, and watching train model enthusiasts display their hobby for the public in the old W & OD depot. Finding joy...making that a priority...that is critical in healing from stress. "Reframing" as my therapist said in 1994 or so.

Stress is as powerful as a drug--and sometimes can take you as far out of control. Some things we can mitigate--others we cannot. How do we manage these moments? Recently, I have not been the one to ask! But, getting out to enjoy life certainly helps. Also, knowing who your best Lifeguard is...well, that makes all the difference.

There are a couple children's songs on XM Kids radio that I keep singing over & over in my head--one is "Eagles" and the other is "Kindness." I have neither soared like an eagle, nor been kind recenlty. I have been dragging myself around like an injured snapping turtle.

THANK GOD for good friends who recognize the signs of panic when they see them and call out, "Focus on the horizon! Grab ahold of me--I've got your back!" When everything else falls away--and when those friends are simply not available for one reason or another, however, the miracle is that you find yourself exactly where God wants you. Needing Him because nothing else is left! I only wish I could be better about realizing how much I need His help before I have worn myself so thin!

Let me call on him first--not last!! It's like trying to save myself from a whirpool! Christ can always see my needs, and can reach me the quickest, so why do I ignore his available nature--his Omnipresence? Ahhhhh. No matter how "mature" I become I am always still like the Israelites, forgetting God's past provisions & complaining about my situation, instead. How little our natures change over the generations.

(c) Terri Hendrix lyric, "Eagles" from album Putumayo Kids Presents: Animal Playground
if you wanna fly with eagles son
you need to learn to live like one
look at my life and look how little i've done done done

if you wanna fly with eagles son
i love you little baby but i've got to let you go
you've taken and you've taken till you've stopped to grow

i'll watch over you as you fly fly fly
but baby i can't be your sky
and when you see that horizon you gotta believe in what lays beyond
and when you feel nothing but confusion
the wind against you can be used to fly on you gotta fly - fly on
you can plan and plan or you can just do
dig in deep and find your groove
sing to your rhythm sing to your pain pain pain
let nobody take your voice away

i love you little baby but i've got to let you go
and it's hurting me worse than you will ever know
but eagles do as eagles have done
when they want to fly with eagles son



(c) Steve Songs, "Kindness" from album Little Superman
What's the difference between sharing & keeping?
Kindness
What's the difference between causing laughter and causing weeping?
Kindness
What's the difference between making peace & making war
Kindness
What makes this life one worth living for?
Kindness

Kindness is the difference
For this house we've built
With every brick of kindness laid
The easier this home, our heart, is to fill

Now, what's the differnece between helping & hurting?
Kindness
And how might you say benevolent humanity just using simpler wording?
Kindness
What's so very easy but can always use lots of practice?
Kindness
And what sendsyour heart spinning on its axis?
Kindness (Yes, it does)

Kindness is the difference
In this life we lead
You work so hard and search so long for lots of things
And sometimes a little kindness is all you need

Kindness is the difference
For this house we've built
With every brick of kindness laid
The easier this home, our heart, is to fill

Kindness
Kindness
Kindness
Kindness
Kindness
Kindness
Kindness
Kindness



Exodus 16: 6-12
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?" Moses also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD."

Then Moses told Aaron, "Say to the entire Israelite community, 'Come before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.' "

While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.

The LORD said to Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.' "

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