How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I’ll go ahead and admit I had to look that one up. You see I’ve never been good at one bite at a time. I want to take the entire elephant, shove it down my throat first and then figure out the bites. I’m a doer and usually on a big scale. That strategy was not an option after loss.
Our yard is 1.2 acres but might as well have been 1000.2 acres late last summer. I have to immediately stop now and commend my neighbors. They mowed my yard EVERY WEEK last year from August through early November. It was like a sound from heaven! About the time I would look out the window and sigh that the yard was getting tall, I would hear the sound of a motor and boom- there was a saint on a John Deere cutting my grass. It was truly one of the most wonderful things that could be done for a broken woman who could barely pour her children a bowl of cereal.
The beginning of cold weather marked the end of mowing and the beginning of rebuilding. Slowly, over those late fall and winter months, I begin to figure some crap out. I learned to build a fire in my wood burning fireplace (shout out again to my neighbor who taught me how to open the damper. I know…it’s embarrassing.) I learned to orchestrate our lives so that everyone had clean clothes, relatively healthy meals, transportation and (most of the time) a happy, somewhat sane mother. I figured out all the parts of the household as a single parent.
EXCEPT THE DARN YARD!
Spring had arrived. The birds were singing, the bunnies were hopping, work and activities were humming…oh and my grass was growing. Again. Grass does that in the spring but for the life of me I couldn’t manage to get the yard mowed and the trimming done. Insert my saintly father who hauled his mower over every week this past spring and mowed my yard. He also taught his 40 year old daughter how to use a trimmer so the fence line and the swingset didn’t look like Heather’s World of Random Weeds.
Then, one day, it finally happened- I mowed AND trimmed the darn yard. I’m not certain I’ve been more proud of myself as a single mom. It was that final item, the albatross around my neck that had separated me from achieving total independence. I was now able to do ALL of the “stuff” that I needed to accomplish as a single mother. I could really run my household, all by myself and it worked!
There are still plenty of things I have to ask for help with like changing the light bulbs in my double tray ceiling or all things related to plumbing (a few of you are laughing right now) but the day to day, week to week things- I can do those. Many times I may do them with one eye open, two children simultaneously yelling “MOMMY” and something boiling over on the stove- but I do them!
I guess my lesson through all of this is to give yourself time and heaping piles of grace. Time to be sad, overwhelmed and angry about what could have been. Time to learn, to make missteps and to trust that things will get better. Time to let people help you, to carry your “I can’t do this (and that and some more of this).” Then, time for accomplishment and triumph when you finally embrace your imperfections and figure some stuff out.
I am writing this on a Saturday morning. We are back in “school mode” at our house. My family’s laundry is towering in the laundry room, the Clicklist is awaiting pick up, there are bills to be paid and guess what? My grass is tall again. One bite at a time Heather, one bite at a time.