Up until this weekend, the weather has been gorgeous. Gorgeous weather means that planting runs smoothly. Planting that is running smoothly means that I don’t get to see my husband much. He’s been working at least 18 hour days this last week, and though we do talk on the phone and bring food out to him, our conversations are short an to the point, with several interruptions. I do what I always do and stay up at night just to see him, and also because I have a tough time going to sleep when he’s not home. I’ll stay up until 11:30 or whenever he walks through the doors. I want to give him a kiss, and then go to bed. He however, the social one of the two of us, has not had many conversations all day. He’s eager for conversation and listens to too much talk radio in the tractor and loves to tell me all the ways the world is ending. He is starting to listen to sermons podcasts, and that has been better. He doesn’t come home angry at the world then.
Basically what this means is I have been staying up too late, because I haven’t been able to just cut him off and go to bed. I just miss him. We are both running on little sleep.
Saturday night he came home, and we sat on the couch as he tried to unwind. He said he’s just so sorry but he hasn’t had a moment to go shopping, and he doesn’t have anything for Mother’s Day for me, and he said he figured it was the kids’ job to do something anyway. I told him I knew exactly where he had been the last few weeks, and I didn’t have any expectation. I just wanted some rest.
He said that actually, he wanted to ask me to watch the kids after church so he could take a nap. He said he didn’t want to do that to me on Mother’s Day, but he just had to sleep. As tired as I was, I knew he was getting up in the morning a good 2 hours before I was every day for the last 2 weeks, and he must be exhausted. He was icing his back before bed and I knew he was wearing thin. I hate the idea of him returning to heavy machinery unrested.
I hated that reality. I didn’t blame him for it, but I was sad about it. I had mentioned to the kids that Sunday was Mother’s Day a few times last week. But they don’t go to a school where the teacher coaches them to make gifts for their mom, and thinks up a really fun Pinterest-y craft to be a keepsake. I hate making that sort of stuff with the kids (this may surprise you all, but I’m not really a crafty kind of mom. I’m too much of a perfectionist and it’s best if I just keep to my own crafts.)
I realized, that without even Knut around to coach the kids, and with him not getting me anything, it was very well possible that nothing would happen for Mother’s Day this year. It doesn’t always matter, but this year I felt like I needed the Mother’s Day. I’m a big words person, and I live off of verbal encouragement, as well as gifts (probably my 2 highest love languages), and I sometimes feel like no one in my family gets that.
I barely slept that night, or the night before. Ingrid kept wanting to come into our bed, but whenever we let her she just thrashed in her sleep, so I kept bringing her back to her bed multiple times. She was awake at 6:15 and literally pulling at my arm to get me out of bed, and I started getting up because Knut seemed incapable of moving, which is not like him. He’s normally the morning guy who sweeps the baby out of my arms and hangs out with her downstairs when he makes coffee and breakfast.
He groggily asked what I was doing, and I snapped at him first thing: “I’m going to make my own Mother’s Day breakfast, because no one else in this family cares.”
He hopped out of bed pretty fast then.
Yeah, that’s how my attitude of the day started. I’m just a peach in the morning, aren’t I?
Knut went downstairs ahead of me, and told me to go back to bed. I sat in bed, crying on and off about the fact that I would get no rest today, and no one was doing anything for me to celebrate Mother’s Day. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t even get a last minute scribble picture gift. I was also playing “Candy Crush” on my phone. I was the picture of pathetic sulking.
Well, neither Knut or I knew that before Ingrid had woken me up, Silje and David were awake, working hard at breakfast. Silje made a coffee cake, and David brought out the fine china and wine glasses and filled them with cold water. Silje ran outside in the cold rain and picked some lilacs about to bloom and arranged them in a vase.
Look at this coffee cake Silje made. It’s it gorgeous? I have no idea how early she got up.
I wish I could tell you the day just turned around and got fantastic from there. Silje and David really knocked this gift out of the park. I was so touched that the kids had remembered. I was so happy that I got flowers, and lilacs are some of my favorites. I didn’t feel forgotten and alone. I couldn’t believe the kids had accomplished such a yummy breakfast so quietly.
But I was still bone tired.
Getting off to church was actually pretty good. Not much crying or wrestling there. While we were there, Silje and David started to bicker, and I told them before we got in the van to go home, “All I really want today is some peace. I may not get a nap, but I’d at least like some quiet. Please, just please, don’t fight with each other. If you can just not fight that would be the greatest gift you could give me.”
I thought that would inspire them. However, the classic: Silje giving quiet jabs at David that she thinks we can’t hear, and David having a royal freak out over it went into full play for most of the afternoon. It just got bigger and louder. Those two just wouldn’t stop yelling at each other.
Knut lit a fire in the fireplace for me to just hide away by as he dealt with the kids for a bit in the kitchen.
I felt like I was literally hiding from them and their loud, repeated explanations of why it is perfectly justifiable in their minds to treat each other badly. I cried as I sat their listening from the other room. Every stinging comment they through at each other I felt from both sides.
Silje came stomping in to the living room to try to plead her case to me, before Knut noticed that she had come to talk to me about it when he expressly told her to stay away from me so I could have some peace.
I just looked at her and said, “You know Silje, you guys are making this the worst Mother’s Day ever. I wish you guys could see how your constant fighting is spreading hurt all over this family.”
Her face fell in shock, and hurt.
I immediately regretted it, but I didn’t apologize right away. (Though I did apologize.) I still felt too weak and raw. And tired. I was just so tired.
After I said that, Silje made up with David without any prodding, and as the house quieted down Knut was able to take a nap before we headed over to his mom’s house for supper.
This mother’s day was so humbling because my kids made me this delicious coffee cake for breakfast without any prodding, and even did the clean up in the kitchen, and I’m really not super mom. Really, I had an attitude all day worse than they did. I really say hurtful things sometimes. They got that from me. Silje and David are 15 months apart which is usually plenty to create a good solid sibling rivalry, but honestly, they are both dealing with some weary issues themselves right now.
Silje is at that age where friendship = drama, and it’s hard to watch her go through that. I hate the age of mean girls. I wish we could skip it. Oh there’s so much I want to say about preteen emotions but I won’t.
David continues to deal with some health stuff, as he was recently diagnosed with alopecia areata. (Basically he’s getting a big bald spot on his head.) It’s just another rabbit hole of doctor appointments. We plan to see a dermatologist, but because I know that the treatment for this will involve steroids, and I know he is super sensitive to drugs, I want to take him to a homeopathic doctor first to maybe brainstorm some ideas of things we could try first. I really wonder if all of his issues are somehow connected. I need a big-picture brain to consult with.
There’s just been a lot on my plate as Knut has been planting the fields. The days are really good, but sometimes my attitude just ruins it.
This mothering thing doesn’t get easier, and you don’t get Mother’s Day off. You don’t get any day off. Even when you get a day off, you are thinking about them, and brainstorming new ways to approach an old issue. I don’t feel like I have it anymore together now than I did when Silje was just a newborn in my arms. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned and grew so much as a person, but my kids seem to be learning and growing faster than me and I’m trying so hard to keep up with them. I feel like they are getting faster and I’m getting slower. They learn things faster than me, and catch on to things faster than me.
At the end of the day, I said this prayer. It’s a prayer for grace:
Dear Jesus. I know you had a plan when you made me these kids’ mama. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I deserve that honor. Jesus? Thank you. They are the best job you gave me. I have fears, though. I fear that I’m completely messing them up. I fear that I’m too hard on them all the time. I fear that they will grow up and hate me. I wish I could see how this all turns out. Some days I’m just face to face with my inadequacies and it hurts me to see my kids struggle with the same things I struggle with. I read this morning in 1 John that “perfect love casts out all fear.” My love is so imperfect, but your love is perfect. Wash me in your love, and cast out all my fear. Grab hold of my children’s hearts. Comfort them in a way only your Spirit can.
God I pray that where I am weak, you will be strong in their lives. Where I fail, pick them up. Cover my sins with your love. Use every mistake of mine to grow them in ways I couldn’t imagine. Take control of my mouth when I lose control, and help me to say things that encourage and uplift. Let this whole parenting thing be less and less me and more and more you. Use me how you want. I’m sorry I threw a hissy fit a few times today and I’m sorry I have stained a beautiful day you have made. Thank you for washing that too.
And God? Thanks for the rain. The fields did need it, but I think Knut and I needed it more. A day or two of forced rest because of the rain that keeps him out of the fields would be appreciated. But, you know, don’t go totally overboard. He still has a good 2 or 3 days of planting left. So just a little, but not too much that it will push them back. Maybe, like a slow two inches, or maybe…well…you know what you are doing. Who am I to tell you how to grow plants? Your will be done. And whatever it is you decide to do,