Sunday, April 10, 2011

Between yours and mine

I live between your needs and mine. Your needs are limitless and intense and always. I, ever the introvert, cannot step away from them and clear my head at times. This is why I believe that I can feel so low. I am not myself in those moments, not the loving, nurturing mother that I want to be and create an image in my head that I should be. I love you both so much, but I hurt and I despair in those moments because I can't pull myself together and be me for you. I see people walking around so incredibly normal when I do get away to step into work mode. All of these students walking around on campus, consumed with their lives. Talking on cell phones, buying a coffee, talking loudly about school assignments or work or their social lives. Everything seems so normal. But I don't feel normal in that environment. I wonder if the fact that I brushed my teeth and hair in a matter or seconds and put eye shadow in the car, just to arrive breathless minutes before teaching my class each afternoon is written all over my face. Not really a true transition between all day long at the park, or at the library or at home with you both to becoming The Teacher in the afternoon, but it has to do. This is how we do it, Mommy during the day and Daddy "at night". We do it for you. Sometimes I feel that this is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm not even truly sure what "this" is. Is it staying home with you? Is it leaving you in the afternoons when I really want all of us to spend our evenings together? Is it the grading, and preparing and "extras" of teaching that I must fit in here and there? What is so hard, after all? I love you and I wouldn't have it any other way because I get to be with you, and even in those few hours each day that I'm not, I rest easily in the fact that the person who takes my place is just as special and important to you as I am. He's your daddy and he loves to be with you. What could be better? I am between your needs and mine. There are unresolved passions and desires in my heart of hearts to pursue. I wrestle with my ego. I want to live for me, like those (God love them) blisslessly unaware 20-somethings I see each afternoon. I want to be them somedays. I remember my own days of free-spirited travel and living to follow my dreams. I wonder, am I content to just be who I am where I am? Some days I am, and I rejoice. I am at peace, and I rest in between in that tiny sweet spot between your needs and mine. You give me great joy and I love you so much. I am completely surrendered this time and space in my life, and I realize that you are the pearl of greatest price. I must not break it, I must do whatever it takes to perserve its immense value and worth but just being there for you, moment by moment. I need to just keep moving and do the next thing, even as my back is hurting and my hair needs done and could I just get an uninterrupted shower for crying out loud? I do need to go to work this afternoon....and really, do you have to get me up at night because of a bad dream or a late-night feeding again? And every night? And then, I'd like a weekend for myself, and maybe a month to travel, and on and on it goes. My mind just follows that well-traveled path over and over and over again. The hard part is just that--putting aside my needs when yours are greater. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I feel so incredibly angry, and sometimes I feel like I'm going to break. But I never quite do. Someone greater than me is lifting me up and carrying me through, even though I only seem to notice in retrospect. That's why I'm still here, living between your needs and mine. Every day.


  1. you put this so beautifully Melissa. I am so familiar with these feelings, since we do the same- I'm with the kids all day and run out the door to do tutoring as soon as Bernadin gets home. It is the best of both worlds, and I wouldn't trade being with my kids for the world, but it's also very isolating. I often feel like I can never completely relate in either role. Anytime you want some company during the day maybe we can get the kids together to play. Give me about a month- I just had back surgery and am laid up on the couch but hopefully we can get together over the summer!

  2. Praying for strength and joy in the difficult moments. It's hard what you are doing but you're doing great.

  3. Yes, in retrospect is when we notice and appreciate. The irony of this time in your life is that it is so exhausting and seems interminable, but in retrospect, (from my point of view, of course) it seems to have been such a small, brief part of my life.

    That "count it all joy, brothers and sisters, when you suffer trials" stuff sounds much better on paper than it plays out. But never fear, the joyous times will far outweigh the trials!

  4. Your love for your children shines through, even as taxing as the days may be--so do not worry about those times when it doesn't seem like there's enough of you to go around. Love will see you through!

    I know that the following does not address the issue of how to do it all AND see your personal needs fulfilled, but I thought I'd share anyway. It's one of my favorites, a poem written by a lady named Ruth Hulbert Hamilton. I posted the poem in full on my post tonight, but here's the final few lines:

    "The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

    Love you...

  5. The time does go by quickly. The endless nights of no sleep will soon give way to little ones who put themselves to bed. I remember always waiting for my boys to get to the next stage, and now that they are almost 3rd graders, I wish I could go back to that baby phase even if just for a day.
    The role of the "working" mom, and "stay at home" mom is complex. You never feel like you are doing either job well enough. Just do your best, and know that when you look back on your life you will remember the time you spend with your children, not the time you spent at work.
    Hang in there!

  6. Melissa, the words you find and are able to pin, help me find myself or should I say my "lost" self! I feel so embittered with the constant "WAR" that the sweet has died or is forgotten with faded memories. Hope did not go thru what moms call the terrible 2's. But this 3 year old-age has been a battle for who is in charge. It is such a battle that as soon as she opens her eyes she is whining about something.
    I know its me not Hope! These are areas of patience and love that I am not where I need to be. I am seeking GOD for these areas to be filled with HIM!
    I love reading your post. Call me!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Melissa, your post is great. Reminds me of a wise saying "Raising a child takes a village". I do think modern society, cities, have been terrible for moms. In a village, women would spend the day together, children running around outside, being hold, spoken to and educated by uncles, neighbors and grandparents. Now, women are expected to deal with it all by themselves, isolated, sleep deprived, socially deprived, nature deprived... it's outrageous, it's not normal, this modern world is crazy. Why don't we trust others, gather together, raise children together? Isn't community and friendship, and love what God has taught us? But we are now used to individuality, it's hard to build a village in the middle of a city, with modern-minded people, with children that have never wandered into a forest unsupervised, with friends. I think it'd be better to build a village, and seek support with other women, if you can, if you find others who want to. Cook together, take turns with children, build community. Let kids open their minds by dealing with other people. Motherhood, and life, wasn't meant to be a lonely journey. God bless you.