11/29/09

Plates


Sunday~November 29, 2009



I pass by crusts of peanut butter sandwiches, the ones strewn about the table, pushed off the sides of small plates by small hands. I don't have time for the mess, so I head from one room to the other, attempting to quiet bedtime demands. Back and forth I go through dark doorways, one I need more water and I'm scared at a time. I try to calm anxious thoughts about what it means to move house, yes you can bring your bed and even your poster, yes. Now please go to sleep, child.

Our plates are so full, we're watching half of our bounty roll to the floor for the dog. Blessings and curses together, spilling over for the much. Then we panic and clench our fists and our jaws and we scramble to make sense of the mess on the floor. We are trying to prioritize what to keep and what to release to the slobbery canine jaws. Sometimes it feels like we're getting it all wrong, hastily scooping up dusty and rotten things rather than the food we need to keep us going.

Show me a grown person whose plate is not piling high, food rolling off the edges, and I will sit with them and ask them to teach me. I'd say, show me how to gobble up only what's healthy. Show me how to find the time to slow down and sort through, less careless and more present. Show me how to strip it all away so I can relax just a moment or two.

Because the peas are rolling and the bread crumbs are sticking to my feet. I'm having grown up hissy fits that my children are seeing and I'd like someone else to clean my plate. Or to at least show me how to take the time to feed myself without creating such a mess.

My kids aren't sleeping enough and I'm too scattered to make good meals. I haven't started packing for the move and I still don't know where Miles will go to preschool. Speaking of Miles, I'm silently wishing he wouldn't feel everything so much, that he wouldn't react out of his sensitivity, the way that I do.

But he does. So he is erratic and emotional and irrational and scared, throwing childlike hissy fits like mine over broken Lego creations. They are the kind of fits I can't calm because it's not about the Legos at all. It's about having too much on our plates.

So my heart is breaking for both of us, for who and what we'll miss when we move, but there's no time. I need to get boxes and pack boxes and make plans. I need to pay this and call them and show proof of this and fax that. All the piles of paper are getting higher and the to-do list too long. I need to mend my husband's fences, the ones I've trampled down while frantically trying to keep the bounty from spilling over.

So I get sick, I mean really sick. The kind of sick that means I can't stand up for very long so I'm in my bed all day.

I've been slowed.

Physically, I feel pretty disgusting right now, but I'm thankful to be here in this bed. Because I can think. I can breathe and I can snuggle small bodies up close and warm, hoping not to share my ugly bug with them. I can see the bigger picture as I'm forced to rest, the goal on our hearts and minds to simplify. It's coming closer. I can believe that all the small things will work out because that's what they do, these hundreds of small things. They pile high on the plate and then we gobble and gobble, and sometimes we can't breathe and we lose things over the sides. But even so, we'll look up and we'll still be together. Then we'll slow down or be slowed, and we will breathe easier and fill our bellies with just enough.

49 clicked right here to comment:

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

oh, Heather, i hear you. I run and run until I am spinning and the only thing that stops me is being sick or so overwhelmed I cannot take it a moment longer. Then i wind down, and do it all again in 6 months. Is there an end? I am certainly glad to know it is not only me...

Lindsey said...

I find it's like clockwork that my body screams: STOP! and just collapses, forcing me to stop with everything and just lie down. I imagine that is what is going on here - and I agree, in a way it is its own kind of relief ... for me, the relief is to think, wow, my mind and my body really are in conversation, and someone, somewhere, is taking care of me.
But do I feel this on a daily basis? No. And do I think it would be better to take care of what's on my plate in a more methodical and ongoing way, rather than wait until it all falls apart and my body does too? Um, yeah.
At least you write about it so poetically ...!

Jen said...

I'm sorry you're sick. And I'm marveling at your ability to write so beautifully while you are sick. The small things do pile up, HIGH, and then they do work themselves out. It will all get done. But, oh, I feel for you. I hate the hissy fits (parental and sensitive kidlet kinds) and the frantic feelin of having too much to do, too much on my plate. I hope that thinking and resting while you're snuggled in bed will help you.

Manic Mother said...

What will happen if you slow down??? Try it.

Heather of the EO said...

You know, the first thought that came to mind with that question was,

"people will help me....I think."

It's probably yet another trust issue, that I don't want to be bothering people to help, worried that they don't really want to...

Lame.

You'd think I would have learned during Asher's surgery. People were so kind and giving, not people-pleasing, just genuinely helpful.

Like I said, I think I get all revved up every now and again to continue learning how to pile my plate with less, just enough to be a healthy kind of full.

april said...

Just take things one thing at a time and don't forget to breathe. You'll make it through. I just know it. {{HUGS}}

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I hope you're well soon. I just went through the sick, and found that what you do is you take that plate and you just THROW IT AWAY. It's amazing how many things you were trying to balance on there that you won't miss. It's just hard to let it go... so you get sick and are forced to dump it all.

And start over. Smaller piles next time.

It gets easier.

(Please say it gets easier?)

Love bunches of love,
Steph

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, I hear you!!! I'm not sure advice is what you want...so I won't offer any. Rest, mother. Rest and think. Make lists and plan. And get well.

That's not advice..those are orders. *grin*

Chief said...

Beautifully said. You are in the middle of it right now, for sure. There will be a break in the madness, it is inevitable. Now is the time to take a deep breath and decide what absolutely is most important and what HAS TO GET DONE that second and what can wait.

Miles is my Spencer (Bud), at 13 there is improvement but they just tick a bit different. I love his sensitivity and yet it would be so much easier for him sometimes if he could toughen up a bit.

You will make it through (because you have no choice). The way you do it is what you can control.

Good luck...if I was near, I would come over with boxes and Diet Coke and get 'er done!

Angela said...

Brilliantly written...I so understand...I think I can do it all and pile it high and then sometimes drop the whole darn thang.

Ann's Rants said...

I'm so glad that at the very least you are getting some rest.

When I feel that kind of overwhelmed-ness I like to remind myself "Ann? It's going to get done. It always does"

xo

Terresa said...

Raising our children is all about learning to filter. What we think. What we say. What we do. Hissy fits on all sides are part of life, I guess (at least in our household)...

Eight years into this thing we call parenting I'm still knocking my shins against it and cursing. But with repeated lessons (I'm a little slow), I might be getting it.

PS: Are you guys moving? If it's overwhelming, try packing a box at a time. Pace yourself. Eat chocolate. Ask friends for help, even if you think you don't need it. (And all that other good advice that I should've done the last time I moved with our young children and didn't.)

Glorious possibilities. You. Life. Your family. You can do it.

Corinne said...

I second whoever said it's amazing that you can write a post like this while sick! Seriously, I can barely put together sentences and I just have a sore throat ;)
Life can be so overwhelming. I've made a conscious decision recently to not be overwhelmed. Granted, we're renters, don't have anyone in preschool right now, and are not currently in a playgroup or anything. We have playdates with friends, go on outings, but I'm trying to keep it simple. And I'm so much happier than when I was running around like my head was chopped off. I'm just not good w/ schedules, and have to's, they stress me out (hence my love of being a stay at home mom, most of the time). So when school starts I will be singing a different tune.

Get better soon Heather. And while I'm not happy that you're sick, I'm happy that you've had time to stop and take a few minutes. Timing might not seem good - but it's probably perfect.

Anti-Supermom said...

You will make it through. Moving, the holidays, just being a parent some days is enough to make you feel overwhelmed.

Breathe.

Your body is telling you to slow down, but it looks like you know that already.

This too will pass.

sara said...

Heather, moving is never easy. Having moved 5 times since my kids were small, I would encourage you to start each day and look to what is important. Ask God to show you what needs to get done and what can wait. And ask Him to help you not put the insignificant-but-seem-important=at-the-time things in front of the family.

you will look back on this time one day and smile....I promise.

(((hugs))) and prayers!

kirsten said...

I read a silly little blurb somewhere this weekend about "The 9-Inch Diet" - how modern plates are too big to fit in old-fashioned cupboards, and how if we all switched back to 9" plates (instead of the new standard of 12") we would automatically eat so much less we'd all be healthier.

The parable there escaped me until I read your post. Our LIVES can be put on the 9" Diet: we may never be able to throw the plate away, but we sure can control the amount we're choosing to put on it, and control the size of the plate we want to juggle.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Can I come help you pack boxes one day? Really. Our boys can play (or watch PBS) and we'll pack and clean.

Or you could not move. :) Phew, everything solved. I'm a genius.

Lara said...

I really think that all of us feel this. My plate is definitely overflowing, and I don't know what to do with it all, either.

As usual, beautifully written, and I so feel for you. A few months ago I was in the exact same place...so overwhelmed with having to move and everything else. One step at a time. And please don't hesitate to ask for help. Give people an opportunity to be blessed through service. Even though it's hard to let yourself be served (believe me! I know!), be happy you have the chance to bless others' lives like that.

Roban said...

I pushed my overflowing plate under the couch this week and enjoyed being home. I knew the feeling of panic might creep back in on me, but I left work in the work bags and, other than ironing clothes today, didn't do much of anything related to work.

Hang in there! Enjoy the benefits of the bug that let you snuggle little ones close to you.... and as you said, it will all get done. Deep breaths.... and again.

Hugs,

TKW said...

Ummmmm, girl? How are you writing this awesome stuff instead of posting a NyQuil-infused bunch of Gobbledygook?

I am soooooo sorry you are moving. Moving blows. And if you have to mend your husband's fences at the same time? Fie! Tres' Impossible!

And my heart just melted, hearing about Miles. A child who wears his heart on his sleeve is, indeed, a trial and a worry for his Mama. But such a wonder, in spite of it all.

Wishing you a speedy recovery (and some freaking rest).xoxo

5thsister said...

Even while ailing you are able to produce a profound post. I pray you will be feeling better soon and that you are able to get your much needed rest. Heal my friend.

Blessed said...

I'm sitting here with a little one asleep on my lap because she woke up crying. I have so much to do that I thought about settling her on the couch now that she's back asleep so that I could get up and *work* but now I think I'll simply sit here with her and think about what is most important instead of all the things I have to accomplish to keep the world from ending.

Thank you and get better soon!

Aidan Donnelley Rowley said...

Plates are so much more than plates.

Moves are so much more than moves.

We are all coping with precarious piles and transitions, with trying to weed the necessary from the excess, with trying foolishly to keep our cool during the unrelenting mayhem.

You capture something very universal here. I hope you are feeling better.

Tawnya said...

Heather I just wanted to let you know that I sent Carter adn now Aedan to Andrea(Schmidt) Oman for preschool. She is awesome!!! She does so good with the kids. I'm pretty sure she has openings. You should give her a call, 796-6105

deb said...

Hugs to you , Heather.
I get like this because I need to process things slowly and hate going from big thing to big thing. Throw in all the kids emotions and needs , met or not, and it's certainly a recipe for a crash. Or forgetting a child at someone's house because I'm already two steps ahead in what needs to get done. :)
Ask for help.

Jen said...

I keep thinking that my full plate will empty at some point in time and it does but there is usually something bigger to fill the empty spot. I just that is just life.

Becky said...

Wow! Beautiful post.

I know just how you feel. Isn't it funny how our bodies sometimes MAKE us stop.

Here's hoping that you feel better soon. Both physically and mentally.

Debbie said...

I worried about you having to move this time of year. It is stressful enough without all that extra work! Please take care of yourself. We love you!

Deb said...

oh my wise little sick owl... how you are always able to see the forest, even among those pesky trees is such an inspiration.

thinking of you while you pack and pile and eat and purge. this is an exciting time and will be worth all the hassle in the end.

Graceful said...

I think someone already said this, but "It will all get done" has become my manta in recent months. That and, "This too shall pass." I used to get so ticked at my husband when he would tell me, "Honey, it'll all get done," and then roll over and start snoring while I stared at the ceiling obsessing. I was so bitter, thinking, "Of course it will all get done...because I will get it done, no thanks to you!" I hate to admit it, but he's right. It does get done, and yes, largely by me. But what doesn't probably didn't need doing anyway, and I have learned to let at least one or two small things go. Start small, friend. Start small.

Get some rest, too!

wendy said...

That was beautifully written and from the heart. I love it when bloggers can talk from the heart because it helps all of us grow. To think/ponder ---learn.
I know you plate is heaping right now---a move is no easy thing especially when young children are involved.
BUT I KNOW you will scrape off you plate one morsel at a time and find only the tastiest of foods my dear.
Keep breathing, praying, loving
and soon all you'll have before you is Lovely meals on Lovely plates ------sometimes we just have to endure the leftovers

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

I absolutely understand this! Motherhood is a very demanding job especially when your children are so young. I will be praying for you to feel better soon.

Melanie J said...

We're moving to a bigger house next summer but I have no idea where. Even thinking about it makes me feel vaguely ill but it must be thought about. I can't imagine having to be in the middle of it as you are, and yet I know I will be. So I think I'll just start right now with putting one foot in front of the other and not running before I can really walk. Otherwise, I don't think I'll be much good to anyone.

Kristen said...

Heather, let me join this chorus of well-wishers thanking you for your words and sending whatever strength one might transmit through these wires.

It sounds like your Miles has inherited his mother's sensitivity. How fortunate this world is for such thoughtful parents and feeling kids (even if they give us a run for our money when they're small).

Sabrina said...

I'm sorry you aren't feeling well Heather. Please call me if you need anything!! Okay? Did you hear me? IM YELLING NOW! PLEASE CALL IF YOU NEED ANYTHING! :)
Love you! :)

Billy Coffey said...

Seems like the only time I get sick is when I run myself into the ground and my body says, "Fine, go ahead. But you're doing this without ME." One of these days I'll learn without having to throw hissy fits. One of these days.

Hope and prayers that you'll feel better soon, Heather.

Becca said...

"just enough" is as elusive as it is precious. Well-wishes for you. Hope it feels better, in all the ways!

Kimberly said...

Just enough. How very, very elusive that is! Rest well...and may contentment and simplicity await you on the other side.

Jessica said...

So sorry that life is so crazy and now you're sick! There is grace in sickness, too. I pray you are well soon, and that life balances out!

Carrie said...

Wow, what a great analogy. I know just what you mean about those fits that can't be calmed because they're not about Legos. We are preparing for baby #2, and I'm stressed & uncomfortable & crampy & tired...which makes my son grouchy & stressed...today as I was stressing over opening the double stroller box & he was excited to see the new stroller where he & baby will sit, I made him cry & I just sat there & looked at him, and ended up crying with him & hugging him. We will be alright. And so will you.

warmchocmilk said...

When you get better, we should walk and talk....and stuff. Text me....

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I don't think you'll find many takers for that teacher job. I don't know anyone who has figured it all out... Hope you're feeling better soon!

Hänni said...

Hello, I'm here from A Design So Vast. Your writing is fantastic, even if other things aren't going so well for you right now. I will be going through a move myself in January. I can sympathize. Feel better!

Life Laugh Latte said...

Chills...you give me chills. That's a good thing. Love how I think I'm reading one thing and then realize you mean something so much deeper and richer. The fact that you are in the moment, feeling these things, walking thru it with eyes and heart open, is so honest and compelling and beautiful. Even if it is hard too. Hope today it feels lighter and easier with a little bounce to your step. Holly

Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Oh I'm so sorry you are sick. I hope you are starting to feel better. You said it all so very well...I really felt this post! I find myself piling my plate much too high all too often.

Rach@In His Hands said...

Everyone else said things I was going to say...

So I'm just sending a BIG ol' hug.

The Marketing Mama said...

I hope you are feeling a million times better today.

2 weeks ago, my plate was so full, and my coping so poor, that I left my family.

I haven't blogged about it, and I won't. Because it sounds awful. But I'll tell you - I left! I needed quiet. I needed to not take care of my kids for 24-48 hours. I needed to sleep through the night. I needed to not fight with my husband. And I needed to grieve, my grandfather had died a week earlier and I was not doing well.

So Friday night I told my husband what I needed to do, got his blessings, and I went to a hotel. It was probably the best thing I ever did for myself. Ever.

It can be done. I hope you are feeling better. If not, maybe you can run away too. As long as you come back. :)

Mammatalk said...

Deep breaths!

Much love and healthy good wishes sent your way!

mama-face said...

Oh, my heart goes out to you. Moving stinks. Being sick stinks. Getting the kids to bed when you are so exhausted yourself doesn't stink, but is super hard.

I totally get the sinking feeling of knowing you've passed on your sensitivity over everything to your child. I face this challenge everyday. But I do believe the sensitivity is a good thing; just wish the rest of the world did...(or at least the kids at school)...

xoxo

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