Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Waxing and Waning

**Warning** This one is long and not as interesting as I like.

So when each of my children was born there was a always a period of adjustment. In the days right after each birth, it was just about sleep and healing, then my mind moved on and it was about figuring out how to get things done with one more person in tow.

Taking a shower, going to the store, getting ready for church, making dinner, everything felt more complicated and exhausting but each time, I was determined to get back to some kind of normalcy and so I would plow through.

No matter what, as each of the children arrived the goal was clear and easy to understand.

The best advice my mother gave me as a new mom was this, “Give yourself 6 weeks, by that time you should be feeling good, your nursing will be established, you and your baby will know what to expect from each other and by then, you will be able to see what you are or are not able to do.” It was great advice and I was pretty successful following that advice. By around 6 weeks I would have my routines down, I was feeling better and I would have a pretty good idea how things were going to work. By then I would have fallen in love with that baby too which made all the adjustments easier to take.

When my 5th baby, Sara, was born, it was the first time I had to sort out my life with 4 children at once. Paul deployed to Hungary the day I got home from the hospital and although I had neighbors and ward sisters who took great care of me, I was mostly on my own. That adjustment period was the toughest but like the good army wife I was, I was resolute; I was going to adapt and overcome as quickly as I could.

My friend’s son was getting married about 6 weeks after Sara was born and I had agreed to make the wedding cake. The big day came and the cake was done several hours early. I was shocked when I had time to clean the house get myself and all the kids bathed and presentable and was still going to be delivering the cake 2 hours early.

I was so wonderful! I couldn’t believe it. “Rachel, you can do this! You can do 4 and you are going to be great!”

Feeling so proud of myself, I loaded the cake and kids into the car, grabbed my purse and then looked for my keys, and I looked and looked and looked. The keys were nowhere to be found! I looked for over an hour. By this time of course, my bored children were out of the car, the baby needed nursing, and Daniel had something sticky all over his hands. On top of all that I was starting to panic I needed to deliver that cake!

I ended up borrowing the Herndon's car and the cake was delivered just in the nick of time but the entire drive to Heidelberg I so angry and upset, I was in tears. “Rachel, this is a mess! You are never going to be able to do 4! This is horrible! What are you going to do?!”

. . . rapidly rising panic . . . hyperventilating . . . calm down, Rachel, breath . . . it is going to get better.

It did get better after that, Paul came home from Hungary, he left command, I was released as R.S. president, we moved to Hoenfels and all the adjustments needed were again made, but to be quite honest, I don’t think I ever got back to the level of normalcy I had with 3. I just always felt a few steps behind, never quite where I wanted to be.

I am thinking about this right now because although Robin is still heavily on my mind, I am back to 4. 4 wardrobes, 4 schedules, 4 appetites . . . etc. The logistics of my days have become suddenly easier. My house is cleaner. More of each day is mine. And there is another adjustment.

This time the adjustment is more about me and what I want and need. It is strange to have so many choices in front of me and nothing external determining my next move.

So I have some decisions to make. Do I let myself take it easier, taking more time for myself or do I keep up the pressure. Do I fill the extra time with service and volunteering or school and moneymaking? How can I best prepare to serve missions with Paul? What do I want to be when I grow up?

The goals are different now and not so clear because there are so many possibilities.

I don't know that I am expecting a clear answer anytime to soon. Maybe I shouldn't be expecting one at all but these are my thoughts these days.

Thanks for the free therapy. ;)

1 comment:

Nana Donna said...

Great blog! I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes I feel like I haven't accomplished anything....then I look at my kids and some of the things I have done in the past and I have to remind myself how grateful for those times. I am happy for this season of my life and I look forward to John's retirement. I can't see you slowing up.....keep up the good work.