I drag myself out of bed at 6 AM and start putting together breakfast for my eager toddlers. Hubby is out of town for business, so its just me lately. The days seem so much longer when he isn’t around. I find myself forgetting to talk as much. And why bother making a whole dinner since he won’t be here to help eat it, I guess we can have cereal again. At least we have a birthday party to go to this morning, that will kill part of the day, and give me some adults to talk to. The gift is already wrapped set aside with the little homemade card. This should be fun.
I have plenty of time, it’s only 7 and we don’t have to be there ’till 9:30. So I curl up with the laptop and poke around blog world for a bit. Suddenly I realize an hour has gone by, goodness! I better get everyone ready! I make sure the diaper bag is packed and quickly dress 3 little people and myself. Pulling down the driveway I am stunned to realize that its only 9, we are going to get there way to early if we go now, how on earth did I get everyone ready so quickly? Probably because I forgot to nurse the baby! No wonder she is
squeaking shrieking in her car seat. So I pull over into a parking lot and climb into the backseat to nurse the baby.
This is good, it will kill a little time and everyone is confined to their seats, so we should still get there on time. Baby girl stops crying the instant I pull her out of her car seat, big tears still quivering on her cheeks. She seems very interested in nursing at first, then she discovers that she can peek around my arm and flirt with her sisters. So that’s the end of that moment. She spends the next 10 minutes giggling and “snacking”. I bundle her back into her car seat (much to her dismay) and climb back into the front seat. We should still get there in plenty of time.
As I lurch out of the parking lot and onto the street I realize that every light on my dashboard is on! Not only is the check engine light on (it has a habit of popping on mysteriously every now and then) but so is the battery light, and 2 or 3 other lights that I don’t even recognize! I must have come off that curb harder than I thought! Why does this always have to happen when Hubby is gone? I am overwhelmed with a panicked desire to stop the car right now, I mean what if the car blows up? Or what if all the tires go flat at once? (Not sure how that’s related to the dashboard light turning on, but that’s what I was thinking!)
Then the sun goes behind a cloud, and I realize that the sun reflecting off the dashboard makes it appear as though every light is on, in reality none of them are. I breath a sigh of relief and we continue on our way. Thankfully the baby has fallen asleep for her morning nap by the time we get to the party.
My kids do pretty well, they share for the most part, nobody throws a tantrum, everybody eats their cake nicely.
Its me with the problem.
What am I supposed to say? My few attempts at starting a conversation fall flat, why has this always been hard for me? I listen to the other ladies talk, hoping that I will be able to join in with something intelligent.
But I can’t think of anything to say. Everyone is talking about how they are done done DONE having kids, and can’t wait for their kids to go to school. I don’t want to be the only one saying that I’m probably not done, and that I am not looking forward to sending my kids to school at all, so I stay quiet. Then the conversation changes to vacation plans, a cottage on the sea, a snowmobiling trip through the mountains. Again, I can’t think of anything to say. I busy myself with my kids so I don’t feel so awkward.
When its time to open presents I feel embarrassed. I knew I should have spent more than $10, our package of 8 matchbox cars that looked like so much fun in the store, looks rather pitiful next to the remote controlled car, or the cash register that really works. I’m grateful that my children are just as happy to be giving the gift regardless.
As the rest of the gifts are opened I find myself feeling jealous, my kids don’t own a fraction of this child’s toys. What if I am not stimulating them enough? There are toys that teach colors and words, whole sets of pretend tools and kitchen items for make believe play. Are my kids getting enough? Maybe I should be buying them this kind of stuff, what kind of mother am I?
I’m almost grateful when its time to leave. After the ride home, we eat some mac and cheese and settle in for quiet time. I’m disappointed with myself, my outings don’t tend to be all that amazing, but this one was a bit worse than usual. I call my families house to see if I can chat with my mom and get some encouragement, but there is no answer, again. She said that she’d call me back the other day, but she must have forgotten, again.
Depression creeps in slowly. Its something I’ve battled with before. When I was a teenager. Or after we miscarried our first two babies. Even that little bout of blues after moving so far away from family.
Maybe it’s because baby girl has been marathon nursing all night lately (to make up for all the times she is too busy crawling during the day to bother eating). Maybe its because the the sun hasn’t peeped around the gray soggy clouds for what seems like weeks. Maybe its because Hubby has had alot of extra work lately. Maybe its because we have caught every cold, flu, and cough that has surfaced in our area this winter.
It’s easy for me to ignore at first. Oh I just had a crummy day (or week), I’ll get back on track tomorrow. But when I find myself starting to feel hopeless, as if there is no point to doing anything, when it starts to feel as though I don’t matter to anyone, that I shouldn’t bother to engage because it doesn’t make a difference, when everything starts to feel overwhelming, I know something has to change.
I am so grateful for a Hubby that spots it right away when I am feeling down. Despite my protests that everything is fine, “I’m doing great”! He knows when I am shutting down, and pushes me to address it before it slides out of control. So instead of being passive and letting myself fall deeper and deeper into the blues, I have someone to gently push me in the right direction.
Sometimes that push has involved making sure I get to shower (yes that can be forgotten with lots of little kids!) or get an afternoon at the coffee house with my bible and my prayer journal. Or maybe even as simple as getting a nap!
Other times it has involved limiting my Internet time. It’s not that the Internet gets me depressed, but I tend to retreat into to much time on the Internet when I am feeling down.
When I fight off the blues, instead of telling myself life is pointless, I find myself remembering how life is worth it.
And time is our friend.
Eventually the sun comes out from behind the clouds. The busy time at work is over and we have more family time again. Health improves and we are no longer battling colds and flu. And that baby that wakes up in the night grows up all to soon into a baby that sleeps through the night.
Depression is a strange enemy, you are fighting something invisible, something inside yourself. And someday I hope to be so good at remembering, so consistent in resting on God, that I won’t ever have times that I start to slide into depression.
But for now I am thankful that I have learned how to shift focus quickly before being dragged down. I am thankful for my Husband and children who love me. And for a God who is ever present and never lets me go.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58