I’ve done this cycle so many times it’s almost comical– my life gets overwhelming, someone in my house cries STOP, I cut out as much as possible and we bump along the road of life until it happens again.
Just one day after Ben talked me into photographing a fall wedding, “Because we could do it together; it would be so much fun!” he came back to me with, “I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t want you as a business partner; I need you as my mom. I need you to be calm and steady and available. And everyone else around here needs you too.”
Maybe I could choose to be offended by his words, but I felt complimented and relieved. I said ‘no’ to an inordinate number of requests and felt especially grateful the next week when more stresses landed in our family than I could have anticipated.
I’ll protect my childrens’ privacy and refrain from detailing the events of that awful week. But I was so very grateful I’d already made the decision to simplify, cut back, retreat.
We never know when disaster will strike. I remember when my mom was dying and I wrote, “Why do I get so damn busy? And that’s exactly the right word because I block or damn myself from happiness and the people who matter most.”
I know I’m not alone. The pull in and out of our homes remains a constant struggle for women and men. We have so many ways to fill our hours. But I know how I want to fill mine this fall: planning the wedding, teaching Mary, making dinner and bread and cookies, answering the phone whenever my children need me for quick requests or long conversations, paying attention, visiting all my loved ones in Provo, writing and posting photos right here.
That’s another request/criticism from Ben, “You need to write on the blog more.” It might seem strange that my children love this space so much, but it builds our family and provides a window home for Hans in Madagascar (he should land sometime tomorrow after 48 hours of travel). While I feel guilty and sorry about retreating from the world, I’ll be right here. Some of what I share might be useful, some purely selfish (like finally creating a video of our 2013 trip to Italy). Hopefully I’ll write with more authenticity, rather than just the highlight reel that emerges when I’m here only once a week. But first, I need to address those wedding invitations. And that’s a very happy task.