June 29, 2006

A Long Dark Winter

I don't feel like writing. I don't feel like anything but blah. I've gotten your emails. I am sorry to be such a schlup, but I'm far too mean to return emails lately. I know updates are wanted, but I'm just not into it. My impulse to write comes at the most inconvenient times, when the voice and the words can easily flow from my mind, heart, or pen, yet the opportunity to do so isn't there. And I couldn't be bothered.

This winter sucked. I know I'll get emails. For whatever reason, some of my christian peers who read my blog think suck is an inappropriate word and I'm not lady like. Some of them like to send me nasty emails, judging me. Which they're often very good at. I am who I am, and that is that. It didn't stink, it sucked royal ash. This year was the first year I've attempted to home school all three out of four children and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Or like they have ever paid attention in a class in their entire lives.

In retrospect, I can see that trials and tribulations work torwards building my patience; my faith; my compassion. My furrowed brow. But the winter was long and dark. And it sucked.

I can see more clearly now. I can see light. But, only most recently. I don't feel as though I'm looking at the world with cataracts. Maybe I had a touch of the winter blues. Maybe I had mental blocks. Emotional blocks. Spiritual blocks. Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough patience.

Not enough of me.

I felt lost. I lost myself somewhere. I had the big D word again. I realized that I'm like so many other women, moms especially, that seem to fade away into a sea of snotty tissues and sports schedules. This time the depression crept up very slowly. Like the Colorado river carving a canyon into my very being soul. Slowly, bits of myself just fell away, first so inconspciously that I noticed nothing, until all of a sudden there was this massive black hole that is my normal quick- witted, sure-footed self.

Then the thoughts start coming. The ones that good moms aren't supposed to think. Or good wives. Like how do you put into words that you love your children with the very fiber of your being, but sometimes you don't like them? Or that you can't figure out how you've managed to stay married as long as you have without drinking every night. Logically I know it's their behavior I don't like, but it seemed I had less paitence for them then I should have. At some point, even though my senses tell me that the fruits of my labor will come later, I want to act like a two year old and scream, I WANT IT NOW!

When do children step out of their own selfishness for once to see how others matter first, how their inactions or laziness affect others; that the world doesn't indeed revolve around them.

To hell with Martha Stewart's good thing list.

Eating dinner without listening to bickering, jokes about wet farts, or theories about who has the dirtiest undewear. Its a good thing.

Not having to share your drink with backwashing children. Its a good thing.

Actually getting to be alone with your husband more then twice a month. Its a good thing.

Not being woken up night after night because your child doesn't know that bedtime actually means they're supposed to be in bed. Their bed. Now that's a good thing.

I got so sick and tired of the arguing and drama that I thought I might actually excel better at tolerating Chinese water torture over spending even five minutes in a room with these kids. That makes me sad, and not the S.A.D said.

Where's my joy? I used to be Desparate to be a Housewife. This winter I just felt desparate. Desparate for something else. And before I get the emails expounding on how I must have some secret unrepentant sin, lingering unforgiveness or discontent, that's not the case. And there's no major drama or some family secret. If there was, I'd let you send me to Dr. Phil, I promise.

(I could use the free weekend getaway and makeover.)

I'd want to spend a whole Saturday in my room at times, watching the same movies over and over. Just being away from everyone. Away from it all. The weight started creeping on, the thoughts kept coming, the memories of things best forgotten poured out like searing lava leaving a sting in my heart.

Depression sucks. Being cooped up sucks. I felt cooped up all winter and I was.

I've probably missed a lot of oppurtunities to serve God and be a blessing to my family because I've been so miserable. Is this all there is? Is being a mom enough of a ministry? Why is it that, if I want nothing more to be a good wife and mom, and be home with my children, do I feel so unhappy in my house? How can I want all of this, yet often feel so discontent with my domestic life? Why do I feel like there's something more.

And why is it lately I can't handle the sadness. In two years our family has lost three grandparents and one uncle. My friends have suffered. They have lost parents; aunts and uncles; brothers. One of my best friends lost a brother last year to what appears to be suicide or an accidental overdose. Another one of my good friends just tragically lost a brother to suicide. My other good friend has suffered many losses lately and even now is with her family after losing her mother-in-law. I have another friend who has had such deep depression she's wanted to leave this life, leaving behind two beautiful kids. I can't imagine that pain. I feel like I can't tune any of it out. It feels like I'm rapidly downloading data that my hard drive can't hold.

Like, did you know that a large portion of the world's chocolate comes from child labor; even worse, children who are slaves on the Ivory Coast are often forced to work long hours chopping down cacao beans with machetes. If that wasn't a horrendous thought for a chocolate lover, consider that many banana plantations use child labor as well.

Just try to enjoy a banana split now.

Those are not the thoughts of a healthy mind.

I just seem so sensitive to the injustice in my world. I've always been aware of my place as a global citizen, but I've felt so helpless these last few months. I want to do more with my life what. I want to make a difference and leave a legacy. But I spend most of my days cleaning up poop and boogers off the walls.

I'm so annoyed that I haven't taken care of myself. As woman, I always hear the warnings about how important it is to take care of myself, but it seems more like an ironic joke then a reality. Sort of like when doctors put you on bed rest when you have a two year old. And they went to school for like eight years? Are they going to loan me their nanny?

Dr. Numbduts: Why haven't you been taking it easy like I ordered?

Huh? What? Oh, you mean you were serious. I'll take it easy when I can unbirth my other children and stuff them back into my crotch. That might take awhile because my 16 year old is six feet tall and my twelve year old is afraid of small, dark places.

For the last few months I've felt trapped. Lost. Cornered. I'm not old, but I'm not young either, and what do I have to show for it? A basement full of primary colored plastic toys and cat pee stains. A List of To Dos as long as the Mississippi, left unchecked. A mouthful full of would'ves, should'ves, could'ves?

As I write this my 16 year old insists on acting like he's six. God forbid I should get to sit down for a few minutes without using the fire extinguisher or faking a cellphone call to the North Pole. To insist that he do something productive or stay on task for I don't know, say more than four minutes, would be completely unreasonable because his brain cells have shrunk. It's like constant pandemonium around here with their arguing. When you're depressed, every noise hurts, and I can go from o to beast in 2.3 seconds.

I've pondered on anything I'd do differently this year. I've thought about how I'll watch for the early signs more closely if next year comes. And I've thought about anything that might have been missing.