Thursday, December 15, 2011


Today I was talking with a friend - and before you imagine us sitting near a fire in a tidy home with a hot tea Chardonnay in hand and awesome leather boots on our pedicured feet, take note that I was on the street, getting tangled up and manhandled by the 95-pound puppy when said friend happened to drive by.

My delayed point is that we were chatting about how busy our week seemed to be and I said, with full conviction, "I mean, it's already WEDNESDAY!". She gave me a blank look with a half smile and said, uh, it's Thursday. I looked down for several seconds as if the real answer to why I'm crazy was written on the side of her car.

This happens to me a lot. Not just the day of the week thing, but other things too. I consistently feel like I'm on a raft, swirling around inside my own head, with all my jobs and tasks and things I'm forgetting to do rushing at me trying to capsize my day.

Even when I try to compartmentalize things, which I'm pretty good at, the compartments tend to open up and spill over and everything slips into each other's way.

For example, I have a day job, and I work from home a lot. But I'm still a Mom, with a husband who travels so much in the month of December that I pretend he's not coming home even when he's supposed to. Which means that when I get home from dropping the girls at school, I have a puppy who wants to play (read: eat poop outside, and don't act shocked, I've probably heard your kids talk in my back seat about how your dog does it too). Laundry that isn't going to wash itself. Errands to run. Dear friends I'd love to catch up with. Breakfast dishes to do, lunch to consider and a dinner plan to make. 

So as the minutes turn into hours, I try to slip other things into quiet work moments. Take a break in the action to check personal email, or look up that recipe I was meaning to try. Text a friend or my husband. Add to my "to-do" list. Some people might call this multi-tasking, and on some level I agree. But when it happens more often than it should, you end up being the equivalent of a quarter of the way through 7 books at once, and mixing all the characters and story lines up.

I'm working from home today, in full view of The Jesus House. This is a little barn with a loft that my parents used to pull out every Christmas for my brother and I to fight over play with. Granted, in my childhood home, Christmas=gifts and Easter=chocolate, so The Jesus House was a treasure, but we didn't fully understand the meaning behind it. Now my daughters love to play with it too. In fact, a couple of years ago, as they set it up, I learned that Ariel, The Little Mermaid, was present at the birth of Christ. I told you they are smarter than I am.

Moving on.

Each character was always wrapped in tissue and my brother and I would take turns choosing; whichever ones we got, we got to set up. We tried to feel around for the baby, or his bed, because it was cooler to set up baby Jesus than it was yet another sheep. And we always tried to get "Gloria" - the angel holding the banner that says "Gloria" on it, who hangs on the tiny nail at the roof's peak. What? It says her name RIGHT THERE.

My second delayed point is this: look at sweet Mary. If any of us find stress in our day, let's ponder hers for a minute. The woman gave birth in someone else's barn, after walking around for hours on end begging for help. I called for the epidural guy for a while from the comfort of a clean hospital bed and thought I had it rough until he showed up and turned dark into light.

Back to Mary. There she kneels, by the baby's little bed of hay, hands gracefully crossed at her chest, head tilted to the side, peace written across her face. I'm pretty sure she had more to deal with back then than I do today, and yet, I can't remember what day of the week it actually is.

I don't know the trick you use to keep it together, even when it's all obviously slipping through your fingers. The best I can do some days is stop. Take a deep breath. And while I feel the rise and fall of my ribcage, and my shoulders releasing my ears and settling down my back again where they belong, I remember that this breath is a gift. And my chaos is a gift, as is this day, and these thoughts, and my able body, and the friends I don't have time to talk to, and the husband who is gone, and the daughters who fight with me every morning about the same things. 

And there it is. A tiny sliver of silver lining. I told you it was in there. And it was hiding under an Ugg boot. Not anymore, however, because the puppy has now eaten it in it's entirety. 

It's going to be a great night.

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