Because I am trying to allow myself to be real on this blog, I am going to write about my day yesterday; the day I lost it.
It started out like any other day for me. I got up. Got dressed, got my doggie out of his cage, and headed downstairs for coffee and his puppy potty time. Then I say down for prayer and Bible study.
After I sat down, I noticed an M&M on the floor by the fire place. My kids had thrown a sibling party the night before with plenty of junk food so I knew a food fight had occurred. This will be revelant in a moment.
I had a running list of things to do in my house for the day but I hadn’t put anyting in writing. The only thing I knew for certain was that I needed to gather paperwork for my son to go take his written driver’s test. I got everyone up and my 11yod made very yummy eggs for breakfast. We sat down to do our Bible study on the Resurrection while we ate our yummy eggs. Before we started the Bible study, I address the food fight with at least two of the guilty people I knew were the culprits. They were repentant. We continued with Bible study.
Then it happened. It was about 8:45am and all hell was about to break loose. Crisis number one: I had failed to complete a document for my 17yod’s dual enrollment next year. We still had time but that day was the deadline. As soon as I was finished with Bible study with her sibs, I assured her I would take care of it.
When I sat down to get the document for dual enrollment done, like all official college documents, it made no sense. It was geared toward public school counselors not homeschool moms. I still had to fill it out. So I did what every good homeschool mom does at this point: I avoided the job by remembering that I needed to get out the birth certificate and social security card for the drivers test. Task avoided successfully.
I make my way to the safe and look in my trusty file folder where I keep all the birth certificates and SS cards. Um. There were only 6 birth certificates. I have seven children. The one I needed WAS NOT THERE!!! Crisis Number Two is about to ensue.
Now I am a bit panicked. The last time we needed it was to prove his age for a summer baseball league. . . LAST SUMMER. And we sent a copy. I do not remember actually giving them the official document. Mr. Tryon is sitting calmly on the other side of the room trying to remember. I was irritated by the calmness not that he was trying to remember.
Here comes the sin: I wanted to blame him for losing it. I refrained but the seed took place.
We decided to order another birth certificate until we can figure out where the other one is (I have a theory.) So I get on the trusty Texas dot gov website to order a new one. . . and I get DENIED. My information didn’t match what they had on record. WHAT?!!!!!!!! I gave birth to that child. I remember. I am it stinkin’ hurt. I only slightly panicked, blamed Mr. Tryon in my heart, and handed it off to Mr. Tryon to see if he could order it. He could. I still feel like blaming him.
Now that that was taken care of, I had to return to the task I didn’t want to do. . .dual enrollment. I start filling out the classes she wants to take, only to be informed by her that I was filling it out wrong. More irrtation. I finally tell her to fill it out since she seems to understand it better than I did. That was met with a bit of irritation from my teenager. Not a good day for this, kid.
So both crisis are averted but now I’m in a bad mood.
Everyone is working on their school work so I decided that I was just going to take advantage of the “quiet” and finish the test that I was taking for my tutoring practicum application. And when I put quiet in quotataion marks, I mean to infer that it WAS quiet. . .until I sat down. As soon as I sat down, subtraction that made sense when they started the lesson suddenly didn’t make since. And then I needed the reminder that one of my kids doesn’t start a new math lesson on Friday (because she forgets everything over the weekend so why torture her?). I reminder her that she could do math drills. Then they needed the homophone worksheets. I was about ready to scream WE ARE NOT DOING PHONICS TODAY but changed my mind and gave them the stupid worksheets.
Then I decided that instead of praying about my bad mood, I needed chocolate to feed it. Keep in mind, it’s now about 10:30am. Things are serious when mom needs chocolate in the morning. AND, like the story “When You Give a Pig and Pancake”, gabbing the chocolate made me remember that I had not yet comfronted the three culprit in the food fight from the previous night. So, I detour to the kitchen where said culprit is working on homework.
It did not go well. Basically he argued with me and threw his brother’s under the bus. Ok, so now I’m boiling. The bad mood is no longer a bad mood. It is in full rage. I turn around, slap my hand on the back on the couch (ouch, I hate when I hurt myself when I throw a temper tantrum) and I storm off to my desk to finish my test. And pretty much refusing to forgive the adult sitting in the kitchen for being soooo immature (as if mom was doing much better at this point.)
Five minutes after this happened, something sets the dogs off barking in the house. Not just like a bark at the doorbell. No, it is like there is a full on invasion of my house based on how they were barking. My nerves were shot at this point. I yelled at the dogs to “shut up”; most effective since they can’t speak English. They keep barking. And I think just to spite me, they started barking louder. Then louder. Finally, I throw my rolly chair backward as I stood up and come around my desk chasing them off to stop it all.
And it happened. I blew my top.
“IF I DO NOT GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE I AM GOING TO KILL SOMETHING.”
Notice I had the self-control to say I would kill someTHING not someONE. That left my options open to kill either a person, pet, electronic, or a plant. It didn’t matter what at that point; something must die.
I went for a walk with my phone and earbuds to drown out the world.
I think reality was beginning to sink in. Although I would make a very good hermit, that would only last for so long. I do need to leave my house. I do need people. I do need conversations.
I have relished the opportunities in quarantine to get caught up on certain things and organize my house. I’m baking bread again and I’ve got a really good water kefir going right now. I am getting my tutoring business set up slowly and learning how to tutor online, which I love.
But I am mom. And I’m needed by everybody. Not just my family. The reality is that I am now meeting needs for my family, my son’s stranded girlfriend (whom I adore), and my in-laws (whom I adore more). There isn’t much conversation taking place for me outside of “can you help me with math” or “where do you keep this” or “can we watch something on TV?” If it isn’t questions, it’s reminders that we’re out of food or they need something. I am hearing lots of great things about my husband’s business and his side hustle ventures. I am hearing great things about my eldest daughter’s “friend” who stays up until all hours of the night talking to her and adoring her over the phone. And how she adores him. It’s hard to “date” when you have to social distance so I listen to the lament and not being able to see him. When I do actually talk to people, we talk about the Civil War or phonics or math or the latest book people are reading.
I do not get to talk much about what I am doing. It seems at time like no one ever really stops to talk to Mom about what’s going on in her heart. I’ve acepted that loneliness is part of who I am. I’ve always struggled intensely with making friends and maintaining friendships. Even within my own family, I struggle to be friends.
I needed someone to check and make sure mom was OK, because she didn’t seem to be OK. I needed to apologize to people, and I did, but I also needed grace, a hug, and for someone to make sure I didn’t need anything.
What I also needed, I guess, was for someone to ask me about the intensely hard thing I did. I did finally finish the test. And then I sent in an application for the Level 3 Practicum to become a certified dyslexia specialist. I wanted to put in on Facebook but felt silly. I felt so insecure. I stared at the screen for 3 minutes before my eldest daughter told me that I need to hit send or she would. She hugged and celebrated with me. No one else really batted an eye when I told them. Mom did something brave. . .and it didn’t matter.
My husband asked me later why I was so emotional about sending the thing in. I guess he does stuff like that everyday. I don’t. I’ve been at a stay at home, homeschooling mom for almost 21 years. We got interrupted so we never finished the conversation.
By the end of my night I was spent. My walk with my husband had not gone as expected. My 15yod was also in a bad mood because he couldn’t get his wifi extended. He had gone for a walk before we did and we met up with him. We walked together for a while takling about adolescneces versus young adults, the topic of their youth group discussion last night. I never really have much to contribute to those conversations, so I brought the little dog home, took my shower, and read before bed.
After I turned out the light, I laid there for a while thinking about my day. For the first time I can ever remember, I didn’t spend my evening condemning myself for abundance sin on display in my day. I rested in the forgiveness and love given to me and the knowing that in Christ, He absolved that sin. But the day it wasn’t without lesson. This is what dying to self looks like. It’s lonely sometimes. If done well, there isn’t complaining. Complaining comes when we attempt to die-to-self in our own self-sufficeincy.
Dying to self recognizes that the call on our lives is to glorify our Savior. We do that most when we die to what we want and live to what He wants. As a wife and mom, that means that I spend most of my time serving other people and I get lost in the shuffle. I don’t get to demand my rights or threaten to kill something when I’m overwhelmed. I will spend a good portion of my life being known by few people. But I will also be most known by my Savior.
After my temper tantrum earlier in the day, I came home and told my eldest son that I am doing my best to repsect him as an adult. But there is also the command on his life to honor his mother. He apologized. He came back to me later to make sure we were OK. Always.
Once my conversation with him was finished, I made bread with my 9yod. It was yummy bread too. I made a batch of yogurt (that I suspect I ruined. . .we will find out in a little while). Later in the afternoon, I took all the girls in my home – 7 of them including mom, grandma, and 5 girls – shopping for spring clothes. It felt good to be out of the house for a little while. Then we came home and ate pizza for dinner.
Mom lost it. It’s not OK to lose it, but it is OK, because the grace of God forgives me. And He sees. El Roi. The God who sees. He knows I am lonely at times. He knows me and loves me despite it all. And this always leads me to repentance.
I am thankful for losing it. If I hadn’t, God would not have taught me through it all to be OK with dying to myself. He wouldn’t have taught me to enjoy serving the people that I love. He would not have given me grace throught he whole process. And nothing died yesterday. . . .except part of me, on the road to learning to fully die to myself.