School starts tomorrow. Today is the last day of Fall Break.
And I feel tired. Well, not really tired, per se.
Ready to go to sleep right now and wake up tomorrow although it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon.
I am tired.
I joke that being with the kids for the past two weeks is exhausting, but what added to the fatigue is that my poor husband also had a whirlwind of a week and weekend. He started teaching BJJ on Friday nights at the gym when one of the instructors asked him to cover the 6pm adult class, so my husband agreed. Normally Friday nights are a time we can all come home after the week, collapse on the sofa and watch movies. Now, my husband doesn’t finish teaching until 7pm, so by the time he does make his way home, he is physically spent from a long day. Oh, and throw into the mix that this past week he stopped by at my former student’s art and music gathering before teaching, and you can bet that by the time my poor spouse arrived home on Friday, he was ready to throw in the towel.
But he couldn’t. Because on Saturday he helped referee and take down mats and equipment for a local BJJ tournament. Up at 6am, home at 8pm. Yes, it was exhausting. But the fun didn’t stop there. He then had to go to work today to help at a brunch. Up again at 4am to get to work at 5am. He just came home an hour or so ago.
So to say that I’m tired is one thing–to say that my husband is tired is another. He is physically ready to sleep as am I. But my fatigue is different. Whereas my spouse had no choice BUT to work, my tiredness is self-inflicted. Yes, I have a great amount of emotional fatigue resulting from being around two children who still need me to watch them like a hawk while shopping so they don’t run in the parking lot, a son who needs my physical presence in the bathroom whenever he goes to pee, and a daughter who needs daily reminders to brush her teeth and hair. It is exhausting. But it doesn’t need to be.
This may sound a bit asinine, but sometimes I forget that the things I think in my head are not known facts to everyone. It is this mental loop that results in my lying on my stomach in the middle of the living room, drooling on a pillow as my body lays limp in a coma-like state. How do my thoughts lead to this kind of fatigue? Well, for starters, to my detriment I am an OCD planner, so while driving home from grocery shopping I am mentally computing what to bring upstairs first, how to best carry bags so as to limit the amount of trips needed, and what fruits and veggies I will need to chop and prep for the week’s meals. Thus, when my daughter or husband start taking out the carrots and randomly placing them in the crisper, I am prone to irritatingly snatching it out of their hands, saying, “Let me do it! I still need to cut those!” My family tries to help relieve some of the burden I feel when ensuring that the household runs smoothly, but since their actions are not adhering to my plan (that of course only I know about since it’s all in my brain), I end up frustrated and feel like my cerebral cortex is about to explode.
You can see how these past two weeks was a bit frantic and crazy. Being around two young children who can’t read my mind and get uber-fussy and whiney when hungry or tired was enough to drive me to a mental, emotional, and physical fatigue unlike any other. No joke, Fall Break was an eye opening experience. After these fourteen days, I know that I can persevere through multiple laps around the Honolulu Zoo and that going to Costco at 10am on a Friday is prime-time shopping for the elderly crowd. But beyond that, I realized that as much as I love my children and attempt to be the most competent parent I can be, I sometimes complicate matters due to my high expectations, and in effect, make my job harder than it should be.
So what if my daughter didn’t know that in the morning I wanted her to fold her blankets and THEN brush her hair? At least she attempted getting the tangles out of her long locks herself. So what if I have to follow my son into the bathroom for the umpteenth time to watch him go to the potty? The days when he refused to even look at underwear were not so long ago, and I should be thankful that he can go number 1 and 2 on his own.
I have to cut them some slack. I have to cut myself some slack. If not, I’m going to end up even more brain dead. Body dead. Emotionally dead. Spiritually dead. When I’m this fatigued, my first inclination is not to pray for God’s strength. It is to think about that time at 8:30pm when my children are lying down, sleeping, and I too can close my eyes. It’s not a good state to be in.
After church today, both of my children fell asleep in the car on the way home. In fact, three hours later, they’re still in La-la Land. What did I do with all this quiet freedom? Rearrange the living room furniture? Clear out the closets? Well, I first ate lunch, then read some (a light-hearted tweeny book, by the way, because it makes me smile), and then I took an hour nap. Within that time when I was also sleeping, my husband came home from work. He now is currently snoring away with the kiddos as I’m typing out this post. So what do I do now? The planning, plotting, OCD side of me says to prep more for school. Clean the house. Feed the dogs. Do do do do do do do. But what I think I’m actually going to do is praise God. Praise Him that He is pruning and refining me, showing me those areas of my life where He wants control and where I need to seek His strength more. It is fitting that the scripture I have been memorizing and meditating on these past two weeks states that when I remain in Him, and His word remains in me, then whatever I ask for I will receive.
Those are great promises. Because all the times I have prayed (and will pray) for peace and strength, I can praise God knowing that He will hear me and answer those requests.
It’s enough to bring this tired body to life.
Fall Break, it has been real. If I could insert an emoji right now, it’d be the two-peace finger symbol.
It has been real. It has been good.
Until next year…