Some days I just can’t help it.
“DON’T TOUCH ME ANYMORE!”, my head screams. (Most of the time my mouth doesn’t follow my head. Most of the time.)
My stomach is in knots and my head is pounding.
My precious 22 month old daughter just wants to eat dinner with her hand on her mommy’s arm. The. Whole. Time.
I’ve just spent a week with 22 first graders. They crowd. They encroach. They huddle.
“Back up!”, shout the police sirens in my head. I need my space, I need my space, I need my space!
Far and away, the most difficult thing about being an introverted mother is the lack of alone time. The lack of just “being”. The knowing that you are needed every second of every day, even if you aren’t with your child. By the time I get those 7 year olds out the door, my touch tank is depleted. I crave silence and space. And when you’ve got 2 toddlers, it’s just not going to happen. And it shouldn’t.
What’s the balance? How do I appropriately give attention to my students, my children, and my husband? And how do I balance that with this innate need to recharge without anyone around? If you’ve figured it out, please let me know. The weeks are endless cycles of survival. Of “just keep swimming”.
“Savor these days, they’ll go faster than you think.”
This is what the crowd roars. And I am. Oh, how I am savoring these days. From the struggles for their independence, to sweet new words and phrases, the curling up in my lap and asking for a book for the 10th time, I am savoring. But in order to be the best “me” possible, to be the best mama, the best teacher, the best wife, I’ve GOT to get alone. So I blunder and stumble, fail, and fall, and keep walking, pushing through, learning.
And what I learned today? Sometimes it’s ok to walk in the door, huffing and puffing from carrying 60 pounds of toddler up to your third floor apartment because they fell asleep in the car after swimming, change their diapers, put them down for a nap, grab some cash, and holler over your shoulder that you’ll be back. To walk into McDonalds, place your order, and respond to the question with, “Oh yes, it’s for here.” It’s most definitely for here. To sit down at a table alone and savor every last bite of your bad-for-you food that you actually got to eat while it was still hot, and YOU, just YOU got to eat every bite of. To go to the bathroom alone. To order an ice cream and then sit outside and savor every last bite. To open Facebook and read those piles of “saved for later” links, #becausetwins. To go to the grocery store for milk and eggs and walk out with a bag of gummy bears and a Diet Coke (along with the milk and eggs). To drink that Diet Coke in the car because even though they’re still asleep (including the husband), you just aren’t ready for the oppressive noise of silence that could end at any moment, the screams of toy mess, dishes mess, laundry mess, and dinner plans (or lack of). It’s just ok.
This talked-out, touched-out, loved-out phase will not last forever. One day they won’t need me like this. But it’s time I up my game. It’s time I get back to the One whom my soul waits in silence for. Even if I can’t figure out how to wait in literal silence. Oh Lord, teach me to wait in this noisy silence for You, and to allow You to be my refuge.