I sent a picture of half-opened boxes strewn across our entire kitchen to a few of my friends with the caption, “This is my personal hell. Nothing has a place!” I typically take pride in an organized home where everything we own has a place. The chaos put me over the edge.
And then we had a few days where it seemed like everything was breaking. I took down the curtains to wash them and they shrunk over a foot. I sanded the wooden bars on the hammock so the boys wouldn’t get splinters and I accidentally caught and broke one of the ropes in the power sander. I mistakenly left the cap off my pen while journaling on our bed and a few drops of ink ruined the quilt. Crew got into our neighbor’s potted palm tree, spreading dirt across himself and their entire patio. He dropped my phone off the top of the stairs and it busted when it hit the hardwood. Troy went through three Kindles in a matter of days that were also dropped on the hard floors. What made all of the mishaps so frustrating is that they could have easily been prevented if we weren’t making such silly, expensive mistakes.
It seemed like every day was just a catastrophe waiting to happen. Unplanned disasters kept popping up. One morning after getting Blake off to school, I loaded up the rest of the boys to go to the windshield repair shop. A rock hit our windshield while driving from Utah to California and the crack really needed to be filled before it spread. On the way there, Nash announced, “I don’t feel so good.” I pulled over and handed him an airplane barf bag that was still in my purse from pregnancy days. We made it to the parking lot and then he lost it. I held the bag under his mouth but it was useless. His shirt and our car were covered in throw up. We eventually made our way into the waiting area of the windshield repair shop, completely disheveled. Nash was shirtless and Crew somehow made it out the door shoeless. We headed to the bathroom where as I was rinsing out Nash’s shirt, Crew was happily splashing in the toilet water. I don’t think I could make this stuff up if I tried.
While I’m learning to roll with the punches a bit more and laugh at the quirky situations that are bound to occur with four boys, I have never felt so overwhelmed, so exhausted and so inadequate in my entire life. My days of early morning seminary and all-nighters to cram for college exams don’t hold a candle to the level of exhaustion I have felt over the last six weeks.
She couldn’t have known how hard it was to release my grip on everything that was familiar to me; our dear house, our close friends, nearby family, our old life and any sense of control.
At first I was mad right back. It surprised me that someone would spend the time and energy to write a note to a complete stranger full of hatred. But then I realized that my list of challenges wasn’t really what mattered. I was reminded that I should think about what was on her plate. Maybe she was under some serious pressure at work. Maybe her marriage was falling apart. Maybe someone died. Or maybe she was just having a rough day.
I instantly thought of one of my favorite quotes: