seeking solace in the home and in His heart.
The days are long right now.
I feel it wearing on me. It. It.
I hate that this somehow dictates our life, that something terrible tells us, tells Florence what she can’t do. It used to be different. We had more freedom, and less worry. I took a lot for granted, I guess. And try as we may, pushing past it just isn’t in the cards right now. She is very sensitive, fragile and yet full of life she can’t seem to express. She seems to be painfully aware of what her body can and cannot do these days.
I’m feeling a bit weary, and I guess that comes with the weather. Grey skies are like a great frown. The days are getting shorter and darker. I am not welcoming the rains.
Try as I might, living a “normal” life is hard. On my own, yes, I can do whatever I like. And I do have my alone time, and Jay and I have date nights once a week. But during the day, when I can hear the invisible clock ticking, waiting for the hours to shrink until Jay comes home…well those days are long. For the most part, I am happy being here. I am happy. I love my home, even with it’s rental downfalls. I love the vintage blue of the kitchen, the way the southern light hits it throughout the day. I love the windows, and my lace curtains. I love clean dishes and the cheap plants I bought four years ago, still thriving in the light of the kitchen. I love my milk glass vases, my fridge full of food. The way the kettle whispers, then roars.
I love lighting candles, sacred and sweet smelling. I love looking at my row of books, blues and yellows and vintage Nancy Drews. I love “Call The Midwife” on BBC, documentaries, and forming relationships with people all across the world. The sheepskin, the thrifted marigold blanket, the feather down pillows and twinkly lights. All of these are gifts, and they are worthless, for they really mean nothing. But they are gifts nonetheless, little blessings that make my house a home.
But…I miss going for walks, easy walks with Florence, where I had time and peace. Nowadays, she lasts about ten minutes in her bassinet stroller, and I don’t blame her. I get frustrated, not at her, but at it. She can’t seem to sit up without choking and sputtering, but she’s not comfortable lying down in this stroller…what am I supposed to do? What can I do for her? How do I take her out, change the scenery? We are waiting, always waiting for equipment. Things changed so suddenly, and her stroller no longer gives her the support and comfort she needs. So she’s in a newborn bassinet.
She gets extremely frustrated when she can’t hold a small, nearly weightless toy, and I sigh so deep, I feel myself unwinding. Unrolling, fast like runaway toilet paper. I have to stop myself, I have to stop and tell my mind what to think.
If I don’t, I will cave in, and I will unknowingly call out to the dark knights of depression and welcome them. They are hounding me, always hanging around, knocking at the door, waiting for me to answer them.
It’s true. I am happy. But I have battles to fight everyday, like we all do. It’s just that sometimes I can see mine so clearly, clanging swords outside my windows, hiding behind the berry trees.
I want to protect her, and I want her to play like a child should. Instead, she spends most of the day watching Sesame Street or Tinkerbell, and playing games on the iPad. And I hate this. I am hard on myself for this. It looks as though I am lazy. And my perfectionist mentality tells me this is wrong and I’m not doing enough.
Again, the knocks are at my door.
Sometimes when Florence is having a tantrum, upset because she can’t get her hands to do what she wants, frustrated, unable, teething and struggling with her drool, I simply fall to the floor, lay my head beside hers, grab her damp little hand, hold the her pudgy palm between my fingers, willing her to squeeze me back. And I look right into her eyes, and I tell her how my heart sings these songs in the midst of the firestorm: how I’m her mama and I’m fighting for her. But I also tell her I’m frustrated too, and she’s brave and she’s perfect and she’s my dream.
And silently, I tell her, I don’t know how to do it either, and I’m weak, but He’s strong too. And one day, little one, one day…
I know, I say, I know baby girl. But you can do all things through Jesus who strengthens you. I declare this over her when I feel myself breaking, and I know it’s time for another round of Elmo. I declare this Biblical truth, and suddenly the roar turns away from me.
These are “just” words, and yet they are more than symbols and sounds and letters. Words can hold us captive and words can set us free.
These words are the weapon I choose, each day. I fight with thanksgiving, and hope. I fight with stories and wonder. I fight with laughter and love. I fight with painted walls and freshly mopped floors. I fight with friends over tea and books that feed my soul.
I fight. And I rest on these long, long days.