Can I tell you all a secret?
Sometimes I just want to get away from my children.
Not permanently, mind you. I think 72 hours would do it.
I’m their go-to-girl for lost shoes, unsolved math problems, existential crises, loose teeth, insect-hunting, tummy troubles, spiritual concerns, interpersonal relationship advice, and anything else that zips through their brains.
If I wasn’t an expert to start with I am now.
I don’t know if it’s a want to get away so much as it’s a need to get away, you know?
Life is a lot to process right now. Even the good stuff takes it out of me. The little things, though, they nickel and dime my mind ’til all I come up with is empty. I like to wake up early, around 5 a.m., but lately I’ve just needed more sleep. Apparently women do need more sleep than men! Researchers found that women often utilize a lot more brain power and consequently need more sleep. That is science, and I keep pointing this out to my husband as I sleep while he gets ready for work.
These people of mine, though, they follow me everywhere.
During these times of being followed around like a rock star I am reminded of Jesus. He often needed to get away from the crowds, and that did happen. But just as often he ended up teaching from a boat or something because sometimes the needs of the many are greater than the needs of the one – even the Son of God.
Last week I had one thought that got me through a couple of really hard days: an ice cream cone from McDonald’s. The idea of driving in a the car by myself, getting a cone at the drive-through, and listening to NPR alone was enough to make me giddy and get me to the end of the day. I told my husband about my secret plan.
I guess I forgot to tell him in was secret.
As I was walking out the door one of my daughters came down the stairs, “Mom, are you ready to go? I told Kiley, too.”
My face must have said it all.
Just then Spencer rounded the corner. “Is it time? Are we going now?”
I couldn’t help it. It was a reflex. I rolled my eyes. I pointed the kids to the van then asked my mom and dad if they wanted us to bring a cone back for them, too.
Adios secret trip for soft serve.
Goodbye NPR, solitude, and brain break.
“You didn’t want us to go?” my oldest child asked.
“We’ll get out,” the boy said.
I looked at my crew of kids, saw the sincerity (and maybe a little hurt) in their eyes. I dug a little deeper and suddenly my well was not so dry. This chaos is all for such a short time in the grand scheme of things. I let them pick the radio station, as it’s the one thing the 16 and 12 year old don’t fight over, and listened as they sang alone to some song I would have deemed inappropriate a few years ago.
These kids are my people, my crew. They know the song of my heart. They are my spirit animals. They make me laugh and cry and remember how finite our time really is. They know all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody, for Pete’s sake. More importantly, they choose me. They like me, they really, really like me. At least for now I am the person that they want to spend time with. I know that can’t last, it won’t last.
How can I not choose to share my soft serve moments with them?
This time in my life IS crazy, there is no denying that. I can amplify the irritation and exhaustion by focusing on it, or I can allow it to be the background noise to the awesome amount of life that is taking place before my eyes. I can hold on to ‘it will be better when’ or I can say, “These are the best days of my life!”
I can eye-roll and glare and allow resentment to build up or I can teach from the boat.
It’s a no brainer.
I’m gonna teach from the boat.
Because these are the best days, every one of them. They are crazy and chaotic and sometimes never-ending but they are the best days, too.
So, here’s to digging deeper, brave misfits. Here’s to not enough me-time and plenty of us-time because time is not going to slow down.
I’m going to teach from the boat.
But first I’m going to take a nap.