I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Every time someone has said to my exhausted face “You better enjoy this season - it flies by!” I have said (out loud or in my head) “I’m going to write a letter to myself ten years from now because I need THAT GIRL (2029 Shea) to hear from THIS girl (2019 Shea).
So here goes.
Dear 2029 Shea,
Look, I know you. So I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably lonely and looking back now that all the boys are graduated and likely have all moved out. And you’re wishing you had done a better job. You’re thinking you should have embraced more of this season that I am in right now.
You’re thinking you should have NEVER missed a game. You should have made more home made Mac N Cheese. Forced more conversations. Had more patience. Been more concerned about discipline. Read your Bible more. Prayed more. Cheered louder. Been more involved. Dressed cuter. Worked out. Gone to all the meetings.
Hindsight is 20/20 mama.
Here’s what I want you to remember. Here’s the reason I’m writing this letter.
This 2019 mama is so tired.
And this 2019 mama is doing the best she can.
Right now the boys are 12, 14 and 16. Today, 2 of them stayed home sick. Well, one didn’t make it to school at all. The other one texted me throughout the morning telling me how miserable he was until I caved and picked him up. We got Chick-Fil-A. He told me all about 6th grade and how he’s so excited about pre-AP Texas history next year because that rockstar teacher Mrs. Garth convinced him to take it. (Don’t worry, I got her a good Christmas gift.) As he spoke, I did my best to listen and not think about all the things I needed to get done. I put him first. And I got him polynesian sauce, added cheese and cut the pickles. He knows he’s loved.
I worked from home all morning while responding to his texts about being sick. I washed sheets, I put tons of laundry away, cleaned out the refrigerator, and the last load of towels are rolling around in the dryer as I write this. I’m already trying to decide which boy will be asked to get them out and “fold” them and put them away. I’ll probably do it myself because it’s easier. And because 2 of them are sick and the other one is at basketball practice.
There’s a big tote by the front door of packages/products that need to be delivered and taken to the post office. I hoped to do that today. It will get put off one more day. Because I put the boys first.
I dug in the deep freeze to find “dinner” because we are saving every penny right now. We have one boy who already needs a car and 2 more on the horizon in the next 4 years. Our goal is to buy all three of them cars and pay cash. (I hope you’re cheering right now because we met our goal. At this point it feels far fetched and crazy.) So with that goal in mind, the deep freeze diving happens a lot. I figure we save between $35-$50 every time we eat at home. Don’t forget that part of this season.
This week we’ve had 2 track meets, 4 basketball games, and more meetings to attend than I can count. We’ve dealt with stinky shoes and acne and stains on favorite shirts and one brother wearing the other brother’s favorite sweatshirt. We ran out of clean socks and I’m pretty sure today’s laundry had about 2 weeks worth of clothes but only a few pair of underwear for each boy. They still don’t shower enough. Yet somehow we survive.
I’m doing the best I can. I’m praying the best I can. I’m asking God to grow them in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. He is faithful. He is doing it.
I’ll be honest, I don’t enjoy all the things. I don’t enjoy every moment. No normal human being would. This is not easy. It’s an amazing season of life and I LOVE IT but it is hard.
Side note: I don’t know when I’ll stop SMELLING the clothes that are on the floor to see if they’re clean. I learned that lesson the hard way today again.
While I may not enjoy every second, or “soak up” stinky laundry days, I am doing my best to find joy in the mundane. To love them with everything I have. You can be confident of that.
Beside me on the couch in this very moment is my calendar laid open to reveal the full month of April. It’s not color-coded. You know I’m not that girl. But it’s FULL. Terrifyingly full. And yes I’ve done my best to edit our lives and only commit to the important stuff.
I’m currently staring at the calendar trying to figure out how I’m going to be gone for 4 days next week then come home to craziness. By craziness I mean I get home Thursday night at 8:30 if my flight arrives on time (that will be a first) then I speak 3 times Friday morning at MOPS and Jacob and Ty have basketball games Friday night. Then Sunday, Ty, Kyle and Sylas leave for Leadership camp. I got sheets and toiletries ready for that today too. See? I’m so prepared. Remember this part.
Tonight when I go to sleep I will sleep about 10-15 minutes and wake up suddenly thinking of something I meant to do today but didn’t do. Someone I forgot to respond to. Someone I let down. I will probably be awake another half hour. I may go switch out the laundry. And then try to go back to sleep. I may open my Bible. I should. I’m always feeling like I should do more of that. I’ll see posts on Facebook about how I should make sure I’m living my best life, not forgetting to take time for myself, calendar blocking, meal planning, outfit coordinating, and Dave Ramseying. At some point, hopefully, I’ll sleep a little before I wake up tomorrow morning with new mercies and new lists and new lines around my eyes.
All day as I’m doing all the things, I promise I am telling myself to soak it up. To be grateful for the stinky shoes and the missing socks and the leftover trash on the side of their bed. I’m doing that. I’m doing my best to enjoy it. I’m telling myself “One day you will miss this.” And my self thinks “One day I will sleep again.”
But I won’t stop pushing through the exhaustion and choosing gratitude for their lives and their growing bodies and their needs that I really do enjoy meeting. I really, really do enjoy it. I don’t get tired of hearing them say “Mom” - even it’s followed with “I’m hungry.” And it often is.
There are countless moments where I see them throwing the discus, dribbling the ball down the court, or passing the football and I sit in awe of the way their bodies are growing. Sometimes it literally takes my breath away because life is FLYING by. They are becoming men.
I catch myself staring at them and telling God I never knew I could love like I love my kids. I have a lot of those moments. Teenage boys don’t love those moments but this mama does.
And just in case you forgot…we really ARE saying yes as often as we can. We are making as much money as we can. We are being as wise as we can be with it. We are giving these boys the most opportunities we can, fixing their eyes on Jesus, keeping their hearts open to the least of these around them, and telling them daily how much we believe in them. All of that takes ALL of us. And we are exhausted.
We are doing the best we can.
So, I just want you to know all of this. I want you to stop looking back and wishing you had done better, done more, soaked up more, embraced this season. Because I am doing that. I’m doing the best I can. And I do love it. I’m just tired.
Take a nap for me today and sleep good. Sleep with gratitude knowing you did the best you could ten years ago, and it was enough.