Wednesday, May 13, 2009

White Water Rafting

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. Being pregnant, currently having a toddler, soon to add a newborn, working full-time, managing a household, maintaining a happy marriage, navigating around a new gestational diabetes diet (along with my GF/DF/SF diet), adjusting Monkey to a GF diet, sticking to a tight financial budget, and doing it all successfully seems so incredibly daunting to me. I have my good days and bad days, but lately, I just feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. I don’t say this to complain. It’s just where I’m at right now. I know I’m not going through anything that every other mother goes through at some point during her life journey. I know my life is immensely blessed! I know that. But knowledge and emotions are two different things and remembering the knowledge in the heat of the moment can be a struggle.

A blog I enjoy keeping up with is The Amazing Trips. The blog should be more aptly named The Amazing Jen and Charlie. After years of infertility, Jen and Charlie had triplets, and then a few years later, a singleton. Right now, they have four children, all four and younger. Chaos IS their daily agenda, not just part of it. She works at home full-time, has four children that do NOT go to daycare, has a happy marriage, cleans her own home, cooks her own meals, trains for and runs marathons, works hard to volunteer for cancer research and most times…manages to keep her head attached to her body. She is down-to-earth, shares her heart and doesn’t try to put on airs to make her life look like something it isn’t. She is real in all the good AND bad stuff, even if it might be embarrassing to her or cause her to gain criticism from her readers. I really admire that!

Another family I enjoy keeping up with is Jon and Kate + 8. I like watching their TV show for the same reasons. They are real. They argue, there’s a ton of noise and screaming with the kids, the kids are into everything, there is not one single moment of peace in this family’s life. Sometimes it’s hard to watch. The noise in itself is clamoring and makes my ears and head hurt. I don’t like how Kate talks condescendingly to her husband a lot of the time, but I also understand I have a teeny-tiny window into their lives – I don’t live it. So I can’t judge and point fingers, because there are times I probably talk the same way to N. But the REALITY of their lives is CHAOS and it shines through very vividly and Jon and Kate make no effort to put on airs for the public. I really admire that!

As a girl who has lived for several years in what I call the “Smiling Baptist Bubble”, the concept of living a transparent life is something I support whole heartedly, but struggle to put into action. What is the Smiling Baptist Bubble? It’s seeing all your friends on Sunday at church, wearing your Sunday best, and when someone asks you how you’re doing, you put on the June Cleaver smile and say, “Fine. Things are really fine. How are you?” as you twirl the strand of pearls around your neck. When in fact, you feel like you’re holding a pot lid on the volcano of chaos in your heart and life and have no clue what the heck you’re doing.

Am I the only one living in this bubble? If your answer is yes, please don’t tell me. Ignorance is sometimes my bliss. :-)

I guess another (selfish) reason I enjoy keeping up with those families, is that it helps me keep perspective. If Jen and Charlie can work FT from home with four kids four and under, then I can handle my life. If the Jon and Kate can handle 8 children, 6 of them toddlers, then I can handle my life. But something Jen said on her blog today REALLY made me realize so much of my struggle is just my attitude. I loved what she said here, but I’ll paste part of it in case you don’t want to read her whole post:

My life is much like a Class V river. You don't possess a whole lot of control when you are in Class V whitewater. You can try to control the river, but you'll quickly realize that you can paddle until your arms feel like they're going to fall off and you're still floating backwards. To some this might be terrifying and make them fear for their lives. But to me, this is heart pounding excitement that lets me know I'm alive. My goal on any given day is to get the little boat that we are floating upon from point A to point B without flipping over, sinking, or running in to rocks. I've learned that for the most part, all you need to do is keep the boat towards the middle of the river and go with the flow, try not to let out too many blood curdling screams and realize that every so often, you will take a wave in the face ... but eventually, you'll dry out.

“…every so often you will take a wave in the face…but eventually, you’ll dry out.”

I love that! It reminded me that this chaos is temporary. I won’t be feeling overwhelmed my whole life. It won’t be hard forever. This is just one point in time in the journey of my Life that I’ve been blessed with. AND I AM IMMENSELY BLESSED! I fully realize I have perfectly valid reasons to be stressed out. I have perfectly valid reasons to be overwhelmed.

But here’s the bottom line: I can CHOOSE to look at the hard stuff in my life and let my emotions guide me into a depression. Or I can CHOOSE to look at the blessings and let that guide me into a joyful frame of mind. So what…I take a wave in the face. I WILL DRY OUT!

There are some struggles in my life that I’m praying to God to give me guidance for and relief from. At this point and time He has not given me any inkling that He will answer me the way I want. If He NEVER answers me, can I be okay with that? Is my current set of circumstances so bad, that I cannot see beyond the challenges I face every day? No. Not at all. AS LONG AS I FOCUS PROPERLY. Today I am choosing to focus on the fact that the little boat our family is on is floating from point A to point B and we’re not flipping over, sinking, or running into rocks.

I’m attempting to go with the flow,

...let out my blood curdling screams when I need to...

...take the waves in my face as just part of the journey...

I will focus on the fact that eventually, I will dry out, in spite of the fact that at the moment I might be gasping for breath.

Today’s Goal: Enjoy the ride! I’m still on the boat and that’s a good start, even if it feels like I'm nowhere near having a grip!


Leigh said...

Since I'm thinking the same things most of the time....I always remind myself that this trial will make me stronger and closer to God and hopefully more Christlike....but girl, just know that you are not alone. Some days, I'm just barely hanging on. ((((HUGS))))

Mandi said...

I LOVED that post of hers - you're the one who got me hooked on that blog in the first place!

(You're not alone in the bubble unfortunately ... or fortunately? At least you're not alone there. Ha!)

The Amazing Trips said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed that post. The whole analogy with the rafting hit me yesterday morning when I felt like I was about to drown because it seemed like I had lost all control.

Definitely, hang on tight - enjoy the ride - and take in the scenery, because you won't go down this river twice.

Ohhh. That was good. I should go back and add that ... :)

Leslie said...

Enjoy the ride! That is a great goal indeed. I think I really need to remember that one today for sure.

We had a MAJOR meltdown when it was time to take photos...screaming for 45 minutes in the car (the two year old, not me) :)

If I were Kate, I really just might lose my mind.

The Kennedy's said...

I second this whole post. I am going to hold on tight too and just go with it. God knows where the river is going.
On another note... about JK going GF. I have noticed a HUGE behavior change in R and have read a few places that irritablitity can be caused by gluten - more specifically wheat. Not sure if his is teeth, food, or toddler life... but.. thinking about doing GF this summer. Thoughts would be appreciated! :)

Cubstarr said...

Love this post! It's totally eye-opening... I too often get so caught up in what is going on around me on a daily basis I forget to relax and enjoy the ride. :)

I definitely need to do that more.

Anonymous said...

Well said!