Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Exhausted, Emotional, and Enduring

I have literally been running non-stop for about the past three weeks.  Today is the first day that I don't have anywhere that I absolutely have to be (although I did run to the post office a few minutes ago).  While I have plenty to do today, I plan on enjoying this brief respite!

We got back from camping two weeks ago and I immediately had to do my bi-monthly shopping the next day.  Then, I spent the next few days getting ready for David's 13th birthday party.  You can see him above with his friends.  That Friday I took 9 very excited boys (including all my own) to see the new Avengers movie.  I suffered through it.  Super hero's are just not my kind of thing - no babies and no kissing!  I think the party went well.  In fact, I heard one of the boys exclaim, "This is the best party I've ever been to!"  I had never actually thrown a real party before for any of the boys.  Will has had friends come over to hang out for his birthdays but all I have ever had to do then was supply plenty of food and make a trip to Blockbuster.  This time I had to actually plan things.  After the movie, we grilled hot dogs.  Then, I had an ice-cream bar where the kids could make their own sundaes.  After that they had a silly string fight in the yard.  We went to bed, but the kids all eventually fell asleep in the camper.  I think I can call the whole endeavor a success!

The following Monday was the start of VBS.  I also got 4 respite kids that day.  Two went home the next day.  It was an exhausting week.  I was so very thankful, though, that this year I was working with the 5th and 6th graders.  At first, when I was asked to do this age group I was actually a little disappointed.  Normally, I always work with the 4-6 yr olds and I was kind of looking forward to having Sam in my class.  But I am a people pleaser and I truly did want to be flexible, so I agreed.  After dealing with my toddlers at home all week long, I was SO thankful to work with children in the evenings who could write their own names and go to the bathroom by themselves!  VBS is always fun, but always tiring.  Maybe I should take a break next year?  I don't know.  But then I'd feel guilty.  Some people never take breaks from VBS and that makes me think that I shouldn't, either.

Ben worked in VBS again and really did not enjoy himself at all.  I think he was kind of bored.  It's hard to come up with jobs for him to do (he's too old to attend) that he's actually capable of doing.  And he's older now and, I suspect, outgrowing VBS altogether.  So I've been tossing around some ideas for next year.  Unless he matures an awful lot in the next 12 months, I just can't see leaving him home alone every single night while we're at church.  I could stay home with him, but that brings me back to the question of is it right for me to not work in VBS?  I actually didn't work a couple of years ago because I didn't know what to do with Ben.    It suddenly occurred to me a couple of days ago, though, that perhaps Ben could attend Special Camp next year.  It's always held the same week as our VBS.  He'll be 16 next summer and I would think could handle being away at camp (I hope!).  I'm going to talk to the director of the camp, get the particulars, and then maybe we could work towards that next year.  I actually ended up talking to Ben's DHS worker yesterday about the possibility of providing him some respite assistance while up at camp - not sure how or if that could work out or not.  But I feel a bit better about the whole thing now, knowing we have options.

Last week was very, very difficult for me, emotionally, as well as physically, because of the respite kids I had and because I had such a difficult time, it made me sad and more impatient, knowing that my hopes are still being thwarted for "our" child!  I know it's in God's hands, I know His timing is perfect, but I still whine because it's not happening now!  Am I ever going to grow up? :)

I am honestly making a real attempt to not complain to Paul.  I know he thinks I'm already over-burdened by this respite care.  He has put the nix on several respite opportunities that have been presented to us - ones that I might have agreed to (that people-pleaser thing again!) otherwise.  I'm not crying in bed at night or sighing plaintively, but he knows when I'm stressed.  That's why I came home to these roses on Thursday night!  I am a very, very blessed woman - I need to keep reminding myself of that fact.

Friday was the homeschool conference.  This was my 10th conference.  I didn't get to any classes this year, but that's happening more and more as the years roll on. I must think I already know it all or something.   I actually kind of questioned the wisdom of spending $65 for the privilege of wandering around a curriculum hall to buy more stuff, but I did it anyway.   I dropped off my respite toddlers at their home and headed to Des Moines.  It was so amazing to have a quiet van ride!  Kathy was at the conference alone on Friday so we got to have a nice, long lunch together.  Then I was able to meet up with my friend, Sara (not that Sara, another Sara!) for awhile.  I dashed back home, fed the boys, and headed to the last night of VBS.  I got home at 10:00 and cleaned my house (sort of).

The next morning my parents arrived to watch the boys.  In the meantime, I was a little concerned because Will was supposed to come home the night before and he never showed up.  He was at Water and Work week camp all week long but had to leave on Friday night so he could take his ACT test on Sat. morning.  A fellow attendee's parents were supposed to pick up Will and their son and bring them back, whereupon Will was to drive home.  Only, he didn't.  I assumed he had spent the night with Jake, which is what the case was.  Will called me around noon to let me know he was done with the test and when I asked him about his whereabouts the night before, he said, "Didn't I tell you I was spending the night with Jake?"  Details, details...

Paul worked Sat. morning and then drove over to the conference.  We went to lunch with his co-worker and wife who are new homeschoolers.  Then, the two of us walked around the curriculum hall, hand-in-hand, which was SO nice.  It had been years since we had done that.  I remember the early years of homeschooling with great fondness when we would attend everything together and make all the decisions together for the boys' material.  Now I do it all.  Paul wanted to find some math facts charts for David and we eventually did.  We laughed together at the "EZ Buns" booth (a booth selling some hair thingys for more conservative women who are into long hair and buns, I guess - you would truly think they could come up with a better name.  Last year I about died laughing when I ran across their booth the first time!  Apparently, there are enough women wanting EZ buns that they came back, though, this year!).

I was able to get a nice, long nap on Sunday afternoon.  We drove out to Jordan Creek that afternoon and met up with some friends who had come over from Council Bluffs.  We took their son with us so that he could go up to Jr. Boys camp the next day (that's why I was at the post office this AM - he left his goggles in our van).  Then, yesterday I did my shopping all over again.  I did get two new kitchen rugs, which was kind of fun - thanks to them being on sale and the 30% coupon I had from Kohls!  Take that, JC Penneys! (That's another rant for another day)

And that brings me to today, a day that stretches before me, blissfully and unencumbered with places to go and people to see.  I'm not even wearing any make-up today!

The week will get a little busier as it goes on.  I've got a city council meeting to get ready for.  We have 3 respite kids arriving Thurs. night.  I'll have them until Sun. evening.  Sat. will be a bit crazy, I'm thinking.  We'll have to pick our friend's son up from church, David (not my David, Ben's worker David) is coming over to do some SCL and respite with Ben, our friends our driving out to our house to pick up their son, I'll have 7 kids here...yeah, a bit busy!

Sunday morning we were watching a video for Sunday School - the next-to-last installment in the Jim Berg, "Quieting a Noisy Soul" series that we've been viewing since December.  He started talking about people who can't stand to do nothing, who constantly have to be moving, and entertained, and so forth.  They even go on vacation and have to go, go, go because they can't stand to take time to actually rest.    Paul starts jabbing me in the side with his elbow as this guy is talking.  I've begun to develop a sneaky suspicion over the past few months that I may fall into that category...but I'll think about that tomorrow when I'm not so busy!

Seriously, I don't know.  I can admit that there probably is a part of me that does thrive on continual activity.  This speaker called it a "high" which I don't really like because that implies that I am addicted to the adrenaline rush of being continually so, so busy.  But couldn't it just be a (long, long) season of life, too?  I find it hard to believe that I'll be trying to keep up this frantic pace when I am 75 years old - or that I will have need to.  But truthfully, if I don't learn how to slow down, I may not live until I am 75.  I'm not sure how one even begins to try to slow down.  I think I would need to lose a few children and definitely not gain any more in order for that to happen.  So, it something to pray about and ponder...later!!!

1 comment:

  1. OUCH- So glad (maybe?) that our church has not done the "Quieting a Busy Soul" series. I was repeatedly taught "idle hands are the Devil's playground" I think my dad was extreme on this because his mom grew up 7th Day Adventist? I don't know. Even when I'm sick-like running a 100+ degree fever (even after Advil) I have to do something! constructive or I can't live with myself. Then.. after days on end of this (I know it isn't healthy) I crash-get sick, etc. If always feel like I'm behind.. on something or not good enough...or something. ARGH. I don't want to think about this otherwise I might get convicted of "Being Still and Know I am God"-Frank says I fail that verse!