I have this great big weight, that is life. I heave it onto my shoulders every morning and I gently lay it down at night when Daisy finally closes her eyes. It's mine to carry. For sure. It's my life and it's bigger than I thought it could ever be. I'm capable of more than I thought I was. I'm stronger than I ever expected.
But, damn it, if sometimes I don't want to throw it on someone else.
Life as a single mom is both dingy and vivid. I both wail and laugh most days. I'm covered in boogers and spilled food. I'm drenched in their tears and random cups of spilled water (there are at least 5 upside down cups throughout the house at any given time). I wrestle with what they need vs. what they want. I struggle to create the kind of life for them doesn't involve them shouldering my life burden. At the same time, I know they have to live their own lives too.
I'm messy right now, friends. I'm finding clarity - the kind that shakes my deeply planted roots. I'm sinking down a little bit and I'm listening to the sounds of truth. I'm wrestling with Jesus, gripping his hands and demanding a straight, clear, undeniable answer. He's answering with a nudge.
I don't know why life is often so shitty. I don't know why struggle is so prevalent. But this is life. We all live it. We all nod our heads and sigh a little when we hear another story of grief and loss. We all breathe a soft prayer for the people who are wrestling right now. We live our different set of circumstances, but hopefully we live them well; with humility and hearts that understand the currency of compassion.
I've been single mom-ing for ten months, friends. I've been shouldering this new life for over forty-three weeks. I've been bolstering myself against Jesus, the Sustainer, for three hundred and five days.
I'm tired. I'll bet you know the kind of tired I am. I'm bone weary. I'm middle of the night, no one else is here to get sick Daisy back to sleep tired. I'm kids are fighting and screaming and crying tired. I'm working from home, editing photos in the middle of the night tired. I'm three kids in the grocery store tired. I'm. Tired.
But, truthfully, I have this. I can do it. I'm surprised at how functional I am. I have a lot of help. I have a lot of support. I have real community.
I'm a mess though. I'll bet, most days, you're a mess too. When you're feeling shittiest, know that I'm probably there with you. Rather than grieving how imperfect we turned out, let's be glad we made it through today. Let's let the laundry pile up so we can have a second of remembering how much we like our kids. Let's forget to feel guilty when we take them through the Starbucks drive through for soy vanilla bean frappucinos. Let's heave a great sigh of relief, rather than knot our guts in anxiety, when we self-care. Let's keep moving forward. Let's keep breathing deep. Let's keep loving, and living, and hoping, and dreaming, and building, and cleaning up, and snuggling deep into warm spaces with the ones we love.
There will come a time when the burden isn't quite so big, when we aren't quite so messy and when joy is much more accessible.
We've got this.