Remember how I was going to spend a few days by myself in Vail?
Well, I did.
I rode my bike. I painted. I got bored. I took some pictures. I read. I slept. I walked.
I didn’t learn much about myself, the way I had envisioned and hoped. I left Vail with an impressive bike ride on my Strava profile, some beautiful pictures and a not-quite-but-almost empty art journal.
But I also left with a longing for more time alone.
And that’s a first.
When I got home, I took the parenting baton from my husband, who was on the way out the door for his four day, border-to-border bike ride.
While he was gone, ballet started.
And then soccer started.
Then he got home, we both jumped back into work, and two days later his parents came to stay with us for a week.
Then AWANA started.
And a long-planned concert at Red Rocks.
Today is my daughter’s birthday.
Also her birthday party.
Also my nephew’s birthday party.
Also a friend’s birthday party.
You guys, have you ever had those times when you JUST CAN’T? Like your temperature limit switch has flipped from overheating?
My emotional reactor has reached a critical level and started melting down.
I was grabbing my keys to go out the door to party #3 today, bawling, tears running down my face and dripping off my chin, when my husband said, “When’s it going to stop? When will YOU stop? You cannot keep going like this.”
Then he said, “Call Tiffany and cancel. She’ll understand.” Then (we were in our bedroom) he said, “Don’t come out of this room. I will make dinner. I will bring it up. You stay here and rest. Stop. Managing. Just stop doing.”
I know I write a lot on this blog about the hard parts of our marriage.
Sidenote: I’ve often wondered whether I’m crossing the line into over-sharer territory. (I hate over-sharers.) And I think the line is a super fine one between “being real” and airing your dirty laundry for the world. Please, someone, tell me if I cross that line.
Much of what I write here is driven by difficult stuff we’re in the midst of. I write to process my thoughts. I write in hopes that someone will connect with something I share and bring some meaning to the hard or painful parts in our journey.
But tonight is different.
Tonight I’m writing because I recognize the beautiful gift that I’ve been given in Chris. This gift of balance. The gift of steady waters and clear thinking. The gift of boundaries and the strength to enforce them. The gift of wisdom.
After he quarantined me in our room, he went downstairs to run our family and I wrote in my journal, trying to understand my emotional storm.
Here’s part of what I wrote:
When I’m stressed, I’m hyper-critical toward others and even more toward myself.
Even now, when I try to think of a list of the good things about me, my mind is blank. I know there are good things but I can’t think of one. Not one.
All the insecurity, all the confusion, all the doubt and despair and self-judgment overwhelms me and drives me to Chris with an emotional need the size of the Atlantic Ocean. I bring him Hurricane Florence, raging at Category 5 level, and ask him to sail his little one-man sized sailboat out into it.
No man could survive that.
A few weeks ago our pastor was talking about people of grace and he said “the calm waters are the deep waters.”
He was talking about people like Chris. There is a calmness in the depths that not many get to see. But is it deep and peaceful and beautiful.
And that is the gift God gave me in my marriage.