My dearest, oldest children who are living it up in Pennsylvania and Ohio my parents,
Since you’ve been gone,
I can breathe for the first time. [source]
I have gone to the bathroom approximately 42 times without interruption, assistance, or crying. Sometimes, I go in there alone just because I can. I don’t even HAVE to go potty.
Abby is a full-on walker now. This is going to ROCK. YOUR. WORLD.
Abby CANNOT walk down steps yet. I repeat: ABBY CANNOT WALK DOWN STEPS YET.
I lost my camera somewhere in Sleeping Bear Dunes. You’re welcome.
We still have 6 baby cows. Two more are on their way… like, within hours… but they are waiting for you to get home.
My fingernail is black and bruised due to a stroller-folding incident whilst camping which we shall discuss no further lest I puke at the memory. Don’t bring it up.
Since you left, I have eaten my own meals, made it to doctor appointments on time, gone to the beach and to camp and out to dinner… no tears, no drama, no exhaustion.
It has been a whole different life.
Let me unpack that a little.
I have missed you. You make my life… our life… so much more complicated than I ever could have imagined. But, also, so much more worth it. You give us purpose. You force us to think beyond ourselves- which, actually, is really, really hard.
I needed this break. I needed you to be with family who loves you and spoils you and is not tired and is thinking only of making memories.
It may come as a surprise to you reading this so many years later, but the past couple years have taken me to edges I didn’t know existed. In my marriage. In my internal church. In my parenting. It has not been pretty.
I stopped thinking about making memories long ago. I wanted only to make dinner and go to bed. I wanted there to be no tears- mine, yours, anyone’s tears. I wanted it to be simpler and easier and more fun. I wanted the good to outweigh the difficult. I wanted something… anything… to change.
PapPap and Nunnie wanted to take you on a short vacation- right in the middle of our family vacation. I fought it at first, not wanting to say out loud that I desperately needed it. But this break has given me the physical space to seek out guidance from friends and experts, both medical and Divine, and make sure I am in the right place, on the right team, or at least facing the right direction. I should be a pitcher or catcher, really. Somewhere in the past few years I found myself in about 8 other positions, some that didn’t even exist and certainly didn’t contribute well.
A mom needs to contribute well.
And, she needs a chance to look at that, quietly, every now and again to get back on track. Clean out dresser drawers. Go to the bathroom alone. Breathe. This, I have done.
She needs to account for mistakes, take good notes, and move on. This, I am working on.
She needs to miss you, to crave the chaos that makes the sweeter moments… sweet. This, I do. I miss you. I miss your happy faces and your sad faces. I know I will see much of both in the coming weeks as we put out regular lives back together again as a family of 5…
but trust me when I say that I am in this for the Good and for the Grace. I am not, nor will I ever, give up or give out. I am in process. Both of your parents are always searching, always praying, always trying to be… to be better.
You make us want to be better.
It’s what kids are for.
See you tomorrow.