They’re Baaaaaack

And what a hell of a reentry that was.

They came bearing packages, bags of laundry, and lots of noise.  All of which happened to coincide with the whine of chainsaws and segments of tree thudding to the ground as we removed two more trees from our property.

The yard looks like a tornado came through, which I would think was totally fitting, if I wasn’t the one swirling around in its center.

Apparently there are findings that show people experience depression upon returning to their routine schedules after vacation.  This weekend felt like the ultimate vacation.  I was calm.  I was peaceful.  I was not done.

The moment they walked back in – in fact, even as I rushed around trying to finish things I knew I wouldn’t be able to when they came home – my stress level ratcheted up.

We showered them early because they had run around sticking to the tree sap and I looked at my husband at 6:13 PM and said, do we really have to wait over an hour to put them to bed?  Whatever reserves I had built up over the weekend had been depleted in a few short hours.

One validating point: my father-in-law, when recounting how the weekend had gone, looked at me and said,

“I don’t know how you keep up with the three of them all day.”

Yes, it was a shallow victory because it just confirms how life-sucking they are.  BUT – and this is a very big BUT – it means that there is not something wrong with me to find it challenging.  It’s a normal, natural response that many people have apparently.

That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with on a day-to-day basis . . . but at least I know I’m not some freak of nature.

So, the take-away.

  • I like alone time.
  • I crave uninterrupted creative time.
  • I respond well to long, drawn-out, meandering shopping trips.
  • I thrill in the perfect flea market find for my home décor.
  • I eat like a pig who has found the trough for the first time when I can do so without distraction.
  • A new dress does a girl good.
  • Certain physical endeavors provide good stress relief 😉
  • I suck at carrying over these lessons to the everyday; reality, if you will.

But I have to figure something out.  As I said when I lay in bed last night, in an exhausted stupor, ‘I love them.  I need to find a way to like being with them.’

Whether it’s situational depression or what, that’s not something a mother is supposed to say.

No Bubble to Burst

When I explain to my children the evolution that is pregnancy, I do not mention the stork.  I do not talk about babies left in rush baskets on doorsteps.  I explain that they grew inside their mother.  I explain the physiological changes and processes.  But I do it in terms they will understand, which means that the baby grows in a bubble inside the mother’s belly until it’s ready to come out (and yes, we discuss where the baby comes out).

For whatever reason (a recent birthday, a friend’s newborn, another friend’s impending labor), we’ve been discussing these physical wonders a lot lately.  And through the inspiration of an upcoming wedding anniversary, these wonders are helping me reframe the importance of the marriage relationship.

Floating in fluid to cushion it from blows from the outside world and allow the various parts of the body to grow evenly, without restraint; to exercise and strengthen the lungs so they can breathe on their own when out in the world – this is why the fetus is suspended in that bubble.  The symbiotic bond developed in the womb prepares both mother and child for the rigors to come once they become separate entities.

Is this not unlike marriage?  No, one is not born of the other, but for a marriage to be successful, the couple must build that bubble around themselves.  In the world they build for themselves, the couple builds protection from anything the world might throw at them, whatever challenges, insults, hurts it has.  In the shelter of their love, the couple grows as one and as the best distinct individual each can be.  In the safety of their partnership, the couple learns to develop their voice – speaking as a team and to each other about what matters most.  In this bubble, the two halves of this couple develop and strengthen the best parts of themselves and each other so that when they step out into the world, together or alone, they still feel the strength of that foundation.

And floating in that bubble is something only they can experience.  There are some things sacred to just the two people inside; they are meant for no one else.  Nor should they allow anyone to even try to permeate the outside layers.  Just as in parenting, the couple is a united front.  No outside force – or person – should pit them against each other.  And if it’s done right, no one even has the chance to.

I’ve birthed three babies.  I’ve grown each of them in their own personal bubble.  But none of them would be here if it weren’t for the special ‘bubble’ that my husband and I built in love eleven years ago – and no one can burst that.




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