Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pull Back

To everyone who’s commented or wrote me recently. Thank you. I’ve really deeply appreciated it all. And in my mind I’ve responded, but in real life, I'm seeing that I have not. I’m sorry you guys. Please know that I am grateful.

I’m in a pull-back stage.
I took Facebook and Instagram off my phone for right now. (Still use them on the computer, but less than before.) I need more mental clarity than they allow me.
I’m not sure what to put on the blog this week.
I’m really focused on trying to get some kind of hold on my life. I have too many balls in the air. But this isn’t the kind of situation where the advice is “Just say no”, “Take back your time”, “Don’t have so many commitments.” Nope. I’m in the: “Wow the hand you were dealt looks really crappy, just play it the best you can.” type situation. I cannot change any of my cards. So I’m focused down really hard right now on how to live the best I can with them. I making some legitimate headway. It’s empowering; and utterly and completely soul wearying exhausting. I’m making it. But I’m bone tired.

Today we all went to the park -- it was lovely. Seriously surreal. We wandered there by accident without any forethought; and Blake was able to come and meet us there after work. I had moments where I felt like I was in a movie. I was so happy to be there. The clouds were gorgeous. The weather ideal. The sun was at an “OH PLEASE take portraits with me” height in the sky. I could feel love float to me on the wind, into my pours and down into my soul, filling in caverns with light.

On the way home we stopped at a neighbor’s garage sale. There we saw our other neighbors who have kids, who are each the same age as all of our kids. She asked, “So how are you guys doing with three?”
I totally blanked.    …    Well. No -- I the-opposite-of-blanked. I had 7 million thoughts at the same time, which makes you feel like you are inside a so-loud-you-feel-blind hum.
I stood just 3 seconds too long, with my face frozen, so that I looked awkward, but not pained -- just socially awkward. And said “Uh yeah…good.” in a lie-level chipper voice.
We don’t run into these neighbors very much, they have busy lives and aren’t home much. They don’t know my brother died. They kinda know about our food allergies. They knew I felt bad while I was pregnant (we both ran into each other two times while simultaneously pregnant.) But we don’t really know each other.
I can’t go into my whole “Life with Three” blog post endless answer --  And I can’t just be like, “Well  three kids really isn’t hard BECAUSE…. I’m so used to everything being more hard." I can’t just immediately be like “Oh well, my life feels like it’s on fire and I’m trying to hold everything together for my family while I breathe in endless smoke.” I felt like the question about three kids didn’t touch reality. "Yeah I have three kids, no biggie. I, on the other hand, am an utter mess."
So I just lie-level chipper voice said, “Uh Yeah….good.” With zero idea how to expound on it at all. Which made me seem like a true liar.

Hmm... could I tell her how I just lived 30 minutes of being in a movie, a gorgeous surreal perfect moment at the park? Would that work?
You can’t tell some other mom you don’t really know that. It would sound like “Look at me, I’m perfect.”
Sheesh, I have no good-conversation thoughts at all!

We ended up talking about garage sales, since we were at a garage sale. Good enough right?
I guess.
I felt silly and like a liar.

A different day. Weeks ago now, when I was even more raw and on the edge of tears every minute -- I met a mom at a park. While were were there, another acquaintance ran into us. This acquaintance asked about what we were doing for school. (Which, by the way, I make a point of not asking unless I’m actually trying to find homeschool friends/advice -- that kind of situation. I don’t like drawing unnecessary attention to people’s schooling choices just for casual conversation sake. It feels a bit like politics to me --  which I run to the hills from. I don’t care to talk about stuff that people already have formed strong fight-like opinions over. I see no point. Live and let live. Talk about something enjoyable  and/or productive together.) (Not everyone has fight-like feelings about school. But more people do than I initially realized. So I like to avoid it in passing as a general rule.) Anyway, this mom asked me what we were doing for school. I told her we are homeschooling. She asked if were would be starting in the fall, I said we’ve already started. I was really hoping to avoid any more conversation because it has a lot of additional emotions for me besides the concept of school itself. (Food allergies, home renovating, sick pregnancy, brother dying -- homeschool touches all of life. I chose to start home schooling because of food allergies. Emotions. It can be really hard to find time to do it AND finish my house. Emotions. While I was pregnant I literally couldn’t physically do it. Emotions. And when my brother died I didn’t do it for probably about 2 months because I couldn’t function. Emotions.) She really wanted to have the conversation and asked me “So how’s it going?” As soon as she asked that I had an unstoppable flash back to my brother’s funeral. I was in front of his casket. Feeling immeasurable pain. But somehow I was also homeschool-mom-at-home, still standing in front of his casket in my heart, not doing school -- feeling like I was failing life. My face, I’m sure, frozen and deformed. And I was motionless in agony. This acquaintance and I do not have the kind of track record where I would even begin to think about telling her what just happened to me inside that moment. As I returned to my mind I noticed that yes, she was still there and she was looking me over with something of fear (for my children), and amusement, and perhaps a bit of pride which I would assume would be a feeling of mommy-winning. Her face shocked me back into the moment. Oh my gosh, I am at a park, not the funeral. Woah…………. Ok wait, what am I in the middle of talking about? Oh that’s right. Home school. How’s it going? Oh ok… wow, now I look like I couldn’t hate homeschooling any more if I tried, after making that frozen agony face. Should I explain. No, I can’t ever explain this moment . Just answer her question. Actually, no don’t answer her question. She’s just trying to nose into something that’s not hers anyway. Just say some words, Lydia. For heavens sake this is a LONG pause now. SAY SOME WORDS! 
She stares harder now, her fear expression, is giving way to the amusement expression, and that is giving way more to the pride she’s attempting to hold back expression -- the longer I take. And I finally flash back into actual control of my body with a rush and say, “I don’t have a lot of thoughts yet. It’s still new.” Her face says a smugness. My face says, “Phew that’s over. And wow I am sad.” (This likely cements a few things in her mind very incorrectly.)

I’m in a pull-back stage.
There’s no real way to convey all the swirling I am in nonstop. Nothing is a single layer right now. Everything is thick, and hard work to chew.
It’s hard for anything to actually just be what it is. Everything becomes everything else until it’s all just this hard mess. Sometimes I’m so sad and broken I don’t know how to function.
But I’m focused down really hard right now on how to live the best I can inside it all. It’s empowering and utterly and completely soul wearying exhausting. I’m making it. Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m really happy. (While I’m sad.) But I’m bone tired.
It’s really hard to know what to say.
I’m in a pull-back stage.


  1. Hope all is going better this week. My prayers are with you.

  2. I totally understand "pull back" mode! It's funny how a seemingly innocent question can start to open Pandora's Box. I remember being asked that a couple of years ago (rough time for me) and I blanked, too! Didn't know the person well enough to say, "I feel like I'm trying to dog paddle in an ocean with concrete weights tied to my feet and keep a smile on my face"....when you've been "hit" with a wave of change (good and bad) it can be really tough to weed through all the emotions...if I could offer one piece of unsolicited advice [:-)] it would be to ride the waves and go with the flow. Don't fight it, just hang on and go with it. Sounds silly, but I found it helps...also, Lydia, I know I don't "know" you, but you're doing an awesome job with managing everything. Seriously. I'm praying for you!

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