Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Chaos and the Grace

My friend Stacy just wrote a post on what not doing everything looks like in her life, and the timing could not have been more perfect for me. I knew I had had a rough week when my friend M's 20 month old could be heard in the background of our phone call singsonging "Deddie's stressed OUT! Deddie's stressed OUT!" So, in response to Stacy, and in the spirit of finding the many lights in our week...yes, I can tell Dan has been in another world all week (the world called Graduate School) because three lightbulbs are out and no one has stepped forward to replace them (I do know where the lightbulbs are. It is one of those unspoken things in the house, though, you know? I clean the toilet and he gets to change the lightbulbs. I couldn't take that away, could I?); yes, our nighttime ritual of reading to sleep has turned into a wham bam thank you ma'am one book and lights OUT, in an attempt to eek out a bit of time for myself, to write, crochet, sew, or stare at the cats, ignore the dishes and decide I should really just go to bed myself; yes, I just ate the emergency bag of peanut M&Ms saved for our long car-trip to D.C. on Saturday - the one that distracts the panicked passengers for the last hour or so of the 9 hour day; and yes, it was a bad idea to take the kids to the library at 7:00 pm tonight to pick up our audio books for the trip - I mean, who wouldn't find the quiet exhilarating, inspiring speed and daring, and what four-year-old wouldn't want to play the harmonica she snuck in, up her sleeve? The chaos was deep this week, for all of us. I hit a parenting wall, let the floodwaters go, and cleaned the dungenous cupboard, throwing and then throwing out about 55 yogurt containers and their lids (does anyone else clean when they're upset?) (and you know I'm talking about the pit of pits kind of cupboard, right, not delicious northwestern crabs?).

So. The Grace. My husband was here for one and a half hours the day I had my little meltdown (and I was not the only one I might add), he caught it all, and he swears he still loves me and is grateful he was here, that it made him feel needed. I mean, the man comes home for some healthy home-cooked food and a little family love, and he gets Life, and he is still grateful. Grace. A friend let me drop the girls off for a couple of hours so that I could run several errands by myself, and I managed to eat a BBQ tempeh sandwich from the bakery that just sends me, and allowed myself 10 minutes to browse in the bookstore uptown. This respite, to me, felt like grace. Today was my day to not cook dinner; it was provided by our friend Laura, who has made us some wonderful, healthy, delicious comfort food in the past weeks - homemade mac and cheese with veggies and salad; green curry and rice, sweet potato pie and homemade whipped cream - but today? Today she arrived with a large plate of vegetarian sushi, complete with wasabi and pickled ginger; three kinds of egg rolls and a thai dipping sauce; and tom yum soup. I nearly wept at her feet, but she is a new mom and I want to give her some illusion that things get a little easier down the road (who am I kidding? She took one look at my half-naked crazy dancin' girls and knew the whole story) - I mean, really. I carefully put aside a healthy portion of it all for Dan and then the girls and I devoured every last bit. We made sure to drive the rest over to campus, just to make sure we didn't cheat and nibble his share!

The last bit of grace is something I'm not sure I can articulate. I am seeing my children in a different light. I am struck dumb by their beauty, by their creativity, by their gestures of love, by the way they are in the world. I have found myself several times this week staring at them, wanting to just bask in them. This doesn't mean I haven't raised my voice a million times this week, that I haven't had to apologize for losing my temper, that I haven't made poor decisions or frustrated them. It is just a small gift in a crazy time to be here, soaking up their light.
I love you, by Ani


alissa said... ani's picture you have to look hard through all of the chaos to get to the message underneath...
ooooh. soooo deep.

Stephanie said...

mine has been off and on like that.
maybe i'll have a beer with lunch tomorrow.

slim pickins said...

HA! what a brilliant idea, stephanie.

sister - you see it all...thanks for the regretsy pick-me-up last night!!

Jennie said...

Debbie, your posts are absolutely beautiful! I love reading them. :-)

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

Hi Debbie,
I love you, too!! :)

Thank goodness for grace...

非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^