Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lows and Highs: Traveling, Surviving, Forgiving, Dancing, and J. Kirk Richards

I really need to get my thoughts down about this past week. I've had some deep feelings and experiences and I don't want to forget them. Weird that I want to make the public, but there you go!

Brandon was gone for work (in Florida for five days). This usually means my routine is broken up a bit; I don't have a desire to cook a real dinner (since 4 of my 6 children are super picky eaters, anyway, and nobody really appreciates the home cookin' like my hubby), nor do I feel the need to keep the house as clean. Why is this, dear reader? Why would I feel that my house should be less clean for me, but more clean for him? Truth is, it's just exhausting being a "single" parent. Things have to go. Priorities don't include clean houses.

Soccer season had begun. That meant that on Wednesday, we had two soccer games --and the middle school's open house. It meant that on Thursday, we had Pack Meeting and two soccer games. It meant that on Tuesday there was practice, on Monday there was practice, on Friday there was practice...

It worked out. It was tough, but we did it. It meant that #1 only had #2 cheering for her game and #2 only had #3 cheering for her team, and #3 went to Pack Meeting alone (where he got some awards that I didn't know about --*sniff, *sniff!). It was a lot of juggling, but I did it. The kids were great.

I had some crazy meltdowns. The worst one was on Monday before and after our Easter FHE (which was pretty good, actually!). By Tuesday, I was an exhausted mess. Come Friday, it was such a joke. I was still getting up to go walking (a must, a need) but because Brandon was not here, I wasn't going to bed at a decent hour. Sidenote --why is that? I actually sleep better when he is not here (nobody waking up and moving the bed, thereby waking me up) but I NEVER go to bed "on time" when he's gone. I stay up later and later, watching TV or reading. Anybody else do the same?

The exhaustion was exacerbated by the 3AM start on Friday morning --#6 had gotten really sick. I was positive it was RSV again. Positive. I spent the day in my pajamas, rubbing his feet and chest with oils, hanging out in the bathroom with the bathtub running hot water, holding him while he slept, and feeling just tired. So. Tired. The kids had all kinds of activities and I had signed up to bring dinner to a family. Once again, my kids are great and it all worked out (thanks to some ward members who did some shuffling for me!).

Brandon came home that night and then things were not as great.

I don't believe in airing dirty laundry on here (don't laugh --it's true. Have I ever made my husband look like less than the amazing man he is? Our relationship is sacred. I don't take it lightly) and I don't want to throw my husband under the bus, so just understand this: it was a tough reunion. Expectations of the house and of attitudes heightened by two VERY exhausted adults-acting-like-children did not make for a very good evening/night/the next morning.

Anger is not good. Hurt feelings are not, either, especially when coupled with simmering anger. I spent Saturday (yesterday) morning working like a fiend --cleaning any surface I could find (trying to channel that anger!). Since #6 was still sick, I sent Brandon with the kids to the neighborhood Easter egg hunt and the BYU football spring scrimmage game.


My hurt feelings and anger fueled the folding of laundry, the cleaning of bathrooms, the mopping of the laundry room. My house loved it! But my soul didn't.

Luckily, Brandon was feeling as awful about it all as I was. This meant a moment where he extended a peace offering, and even though I was stubborn about taking it, I finally did. And then my heart's defensive walls cracked and melted. There was apologies and kissing and promising. It wasn't anything as dramatic as a romance novel, but it was healing. I learned that my husband's expectations are realistic and not demanding. I learned that my expectations are realistic and not demanding. We both learned that we loved each other and need to give each other some slack and mercy when it came to those expectations we assumed the other was demanding. And the timing couldn't have been better because the rest of my day (yesterday) just kept getting better.

The house was clean, the kids were playing/happy, the hubby was in love with me again (okay, he always was), the baby was (is!) actually getting better (it's probably not RSV as I thought. He's getting better way too fast!), and then my buddy Rebecca texted and asked if I wanted to go to an art signing by one of my favorite artists of all time --J. Kirk Richards! How could I pass that up? For two hours, she and I got to talk with J. Kirk, watching him paint, getting things signed, talking to him about his family, his art, his current projects, etc. Rebecca is a pretty big fan/groupie of his (I don't blame her!) and so it was fun to see her excitement (I just hid my own nervousness a bit better). Truthfully, I've always been a fan of his since I discovered him years ago.

I bought prints of these paintings:


Although what I REALLY wanted was "Son of Man":

After getting home, Brandon and I got dressed up in our finest finery, because we had somewhere to go. The BYU Traditions Ball! We've been once before, so we knew what to expect and we were excited. We spent three hours dancing, laughing, talking, eating, and we got to watch some amazing floor shows and Noteworthy perform. We danced the tango, the waltz, the foxtrot, the swing, the samba, and although we weren't that good, we had SO. MUCH. FUN! I love to dance, and Brandon knows this and made sure it happened. Did you know, dear reader, that when we were dating, he took a social dance class at BYU simply because he knew I loved to dance? Such a great guy!

Quick unflattering photo of us via cell phone!

It was so wonderful to see a ballroom full of couples, all with dates, the women wearing amazing dresses (seriously, that's one of my favorite parts --seeing all the gorgeous and different gowns!), every one having a great time, happy, smiling, in love... It was wonderful! And honestly? I just loved that Brandon's arms were wrapped around me for so long. :)

We got home late, loaded up the Easter Baskets and hit the hay. It was a long day, but it was amazing. I told Brandon --while we were dancing --that I found the opposite experiences I had felt that week something akin to what Alma the Younger experienced. Although it wasn't as extreme, it was similar --both the sinning (our anger, our hurtful words) and the repenting (the forgiving, the sweet joy of reconciliation and determination to do better).

And now it is Easter morning.

The kids have opened their baskets (they got some candy in eggs, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and new Church outfits), Brandon made breakfast, we're listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing about Christ, the sun is shining outside our windows, the testimony of Jesus Christ is in my heart. I am feeling content. The dirty kitchen, the dirty children, the schedule to keep today (choir practice at 11AM! Church at 1PM! What to do with sick baby?) aren't bothering me. We'll get ready, the kitchen will get clean, the kids will have their pictures taken in their new Easter awesomeness, and we will go to Church. We'll partake of the sacred ordinance of the Sacrament. My daughter will sing with the choir (as I accompany) and praise Christ for His Atonement and Resurrection. We will pray in gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His gift of His Son, as we do each day, but today it will mean just a little more --especially in light of our crazy week.

Happy Easter, dear reader! May the Peace of the Atonement of Jesus Christ rest in your soul.

(J. Kirk Richards)


FoxyJ said...

I have spent the last 18 months struggling with cooking and with sleeping, for the same reasons. Without another adult around, I'm left with three little kids who are kind of picky and don't eat much anyways. I try hard to still cook real food, but we do end up eating a lot of stuff like macaroni and cheese and fish sticks. I also stay up way too late and have for the last year; I really need to get better at going to bed on time.

Yesterday I heard J. Kirk Richards give a talk at a Conference and it was really good--he seems like a cool guy and I love his art. That sounds like a really neat experience.

Amanda D said...

I'm the same as you -- when Bryan is gone, I stay up until all hours of the night and regret it in the morning. I don't cook much either...unless it's tacos or pasta. We all like those.

Glad that you are feeling contentment. I need to take a page from your book and do that too.

Diane said...

My husband always offers peace first, and I always clean like a mad woman when I am mad (I should get mad more often).

You must tell me about that Ball next year. I know my husband would love to go.