Like any 40 year old woman worth her salt- I have a planner. Like any over scheduled, crazy busy mother of 2- I have a big planner. It’s a Lilly Pulitzer planner- the JUMBO size….and its full. Every box for the foreseeable future is full (actually more like overflowing).
Like any full time single mother of multiple children who also has a full time job to “bring home to bacon”, I often feel like I should work for UPS. My life is logistics. Seriously, there are days I don’t drive outside of a 20 mile radius and manage to burn out a 1/2 a tank of gas, feed a meal and 2 snacks in the car while one child is changing clothes and another is taking a quick power nap. I haul my dancer, other dancers, band gear, soccer stuff, our latest Kroger Clicklist and enough old Cherrios to fill the Super Dome. I trade off carpools and even hire college students to help me drive my teenager or sit with a sleeping child because no matter how good I am- I can’t be two places at once. I return work emails and texts while in car rider lines or in between halves of a soccer game. It. Never. Stops.
My planner is my brain, the center of our school year universe. It holds all the dates, times, events, lists, appointments and snack schedules. I haul my Lilly planner everywhere and wouldn’t dare schedule anything without her. Lilly is basically an appendage to my body and necessary to the mechanics of our family. But some days, I hate that planner.
There are days I look at Lilly with her cheery little pink and blue island pattern and cry. I cry for how overwhelmed I am with my big, overscheduled life. I cry because that stupid pink planner full of plans and dates is solely on MY shoulders. I have no one else to shoulder that load or carry that burden. EVER. Every activity, appointment, check to be written, form to be filled out, waiver to sign and outfit to buy- it’s all on me. I get mad at Lilly, at God for doing this to me and then at myself for being a baby. I pray for peace, patience, humility, grace, calm, rest and for the stress that seems to have permanent residence in my neck and shoulders to leave- just for a bit. I ask God to help me quit being a whiny, soggy, broken ball of stress and just trust him more. (I spend a lot of time on my knees.)
I’ve now had this life for almost 14 months. It’s not new, I’m in my second season, but I’ve noticed it’s different right now. The fog of immediate grief has lifted. That fog- the body’s way of allowing us to go on after tragedy-is gone. The grief fog last year was like grease to the gears of my life. What is left this year is the reality of aloneness. Of being the sole captain of a ship I don’t ever feel 100% qualified to drive. It’s sometimes so raw and scary and heavy that I struggle to make it through a Wednesday or a Thursday without completely falling apart by 8pm.
I don’t have a happy, hopeful ending to this blog because the gears of my life are still grinding together, squeaking in pain on more days than I’d like. It is Saturday. My kitchen floor is crummy, the laundry is half done and the remains from last night’s slumber party are still scattered through my house. Cheery old Lilly is laying open in my kitchen awaiting me to study her. To plot out the next 7 days of transportation, appointments, practices, meetings, games, field trip lunches, dance classes and giving another birthday party. However, today I’ve enjoyed a Jeep ride, a grown up lunch and am now sitting on my porch swing. The sun is shining on my face and I’m letting it ALL go (at least for now). Someone who is very wise reminded me this week to take care of myself because if I fall apart at the seams then so does this whole operation. My kids need more than a whiny, soggy, stress ball Mommy. So I’m going to sit, swing and read my junky magazine from February. Somebody tell stupid Lilly I’ll be with her later on.