Except there's not just one plate spinning. No... there's like, 14,264,589 plates spinning, and I'm struggling to keep up with them.
The last few months have been amazing, and overwhelming, and just... for every time I'm on my knees in gratitude, I'm also on my knees begging for a way to keep up with it.
Though we joked about it, I never dreamed I'd get our baby and our book deal in the same breath. Never. I know it's the happiest of moments, but it's also thrown my world into a tailspin, and while these changes would be tough while Jason is here, they're painfully sweet and devastating to whatever organizational system I had going.
So why am I telling you this? Because through the course of the last couple months, I've heard such amazing compliments about how well I'm handing everything, to which I'm kinda like:
I know I put our lives out here to be read, and maybe it's my fault that there's only a small snippet of the picture here. As much as I really appreciate the heartfelt messages of encouragement and praise, I have to tell you guys that in all honesty: I'm a hot mess.
When you ask: how do you do it all? Peeps, I DON'T. Seriously.
Truth is, I'm NOT handling it well, at least not handling it like I want to. See, when you see a snippet of my life here, I kind of have it all together. Mostly this is because I write when my kids are sleeping, and you can't see the numerous times I have to put down the screen during the day and say awesome things like, "No, you may not make a Princess Pumpkin sized saddle for Diesel." No kidding, this actually came out of my mouth today. Well, that and, "Yes, you can be Batman, you don't have to be Batboy, I don't care what your brother says."
This is right after I got the nasty-gram from Chase's teacher that he didn't turn in his homework today and can't find his folder. Or how about when I sat down at my desk to get some work done today and found Aidan's planner? Yeah, I forgot to sign it and give it back. Next to it? Chase's signed, but not given-back parent-teacher conference appointment slip.
I'm plate-spinning here, peeps, and they're starting to drop, shatter, and cut the hell out of my feet.
It's this tearing of my emotions: I've never been so happy, and I've never been so stressed out. I miss Jason so much that I'm ready to claw my way through the computer screen every time I see his name pop online, and yet I have this horrid... resentment. It's nothing he hasn't heard, so don't get shocked. I know he's at war. I KNOW IT'S HARDER ON HIM, and that he'd give everything he had to be here with us, but there's this small, nagging voice in the back of my head that won't shut up. It whispers awful things like, "what's the point of being married if you're going through the hardest changes in your life with no partner?" For those moments, a horrid sense of ickiness just takes over my heart until I can beat it back and remember that he might not be HERE, but he's still here, and I love him with everything in my soul. I just hate that he's missing it all, choosing cover art for the book, spending Pumpkin's first months here with us, the every day life we lead. I hate that I'm going through it alone.
I'm so thankful to have it to go through.
Like I said... my emotions are all over the place.
I want to hold it together. I want everything to go right, and get done, and still have free time to do stay-at-home mom things like quilt, or make slime, or finger paint. Scratch that, I hate finger-painting mess. Basically, I want to be like:
You know, the Stepford wife. I want to make everything flow perfectly like so many people I know do, and be all:
And instead.... I'm more like....
Everything I've been begging for, praying for, is hitting me all at once, and it's just... Messy, and I feel like I'm failing everyone I love, just one dropped plate at a time. Life here is like a Monet: gorgeous from afar, and a complete disaster up close.
Biggest point I'm trying to make, and hopefully not failing, is that this is not easy, I am not always together, and some days I have no freaking clue what's going on tomorrow, because I'm too focused on today.
Let's take last week for example.
I'm neck-deep in edits for Full Measures, and they're due back to my amazing editors Friday. Okay, well, I've only been dreaming of a book deal since I was like, oh, ten, so I'm basically charging at this like:
I'm on cloud nine, digging back into the story I love so much, and then I look at what I have to get done before the deadline, losing 4 days of that to away hockey games, and I'm suddenly like:
But it's the school year, right? So it should be easy to get stuff done while the kids are at school, except, well, it's kind of not. It takes from 6 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. to get the boys bathed, dressed, lunches packed, Pumpkin fed, breakfasts made (all in shifts thanks to their buses being 90 minutes apart), and everybody out the door with their various needed-items like musical instruments and show-and-tell treasures. After the boys are on the last bus, it's time to feed the Pumpkin and get her down for nap, which starts at 9.
One hour and thirty two minutes, if I'm lucky, is the amount of time I have while she naps before Brody gets off the bus. And sometimes, with that precious time, I like to do scandalous things... you know, like shower without a boy busting in to tattle on another brother. If not, I can slam out some writing.
So yeah, time is not my friend.
Did I mention it's hockey season? This basically takes our weekends and... well...
We pretty much live at the rink. The boys are on the ice six times a week, and when that rink is about 40 minutes away, well... yeah. I blink, and it's Sunday night.
So, we power through, and next thing I know, DSS would like to come by on Friday to do a little check-up on us (totally routine, folks). Problem? My edits are due the SAME day. All my writer friends are cringing right now, not because of the work load, but because when the edit-cave has the "occupied" sign on, the house kind of like...
Sooo, basically I'm inviting DSS into my house at the worst possible moment, which has me stressed out like:
Right, so I push through the week, to include two rounds of stomach flu for Aaron and Chase, and prep to turn in my edits early so I can recover from hurricane EditCave, make it through hockey practices, boyscouts, an FRG Meeting where I kinda feel like I have a giant target strapped to my back like:
Because let's face it, I am so underwater that things are just... slipping, no matter how hard I try. There's baby appointments, a court date for Princess Pumpkin, and by the time it's Thursday, and I've been going on about 4.5 hours of sleep a night, well, I'm kinda like:
It's like there's this giant brick wall in front of me, and I rammed myself straight into it. Repeatedly. So while I'm blessed by the amazing amount of awesome things going on at the moment, I'm also... like...
I mean, really. Who gets a baby and a book deal in the same month while their husband is deployed. WHO? What are the odds? Not complaining, I swear, folks, just... watching things burn down around me and trying to figure out which fire to put out first.
Oh, but I did remember to get Running Woman's present ordered for her birthday, so SCORE for one plate still spinning.
So Jason skypes after dinner time on Thursday, which is what we call the witching hour. Why the witching hour? Because the boys may be completely awesome all day, but in that hour between dinner and bed... well, they go from:
And yes, I just 80's referenced you. No regrets.
So Jason is online, and I let it all hit me, everything at once. Usually, when he's on Skype, everything just fades away, but right it's all taking me down like a freaking linebacker, and I. Just. Lose. It.
Poor husband. Seriously. He's 6,000 miles away, and I'm bawling hysterically because everything is happening at once, and he's not here. There's no back-up, no one to take the kids for an hour or two so I can get some editing in, no one to snuggle my insecure-self and tell me everything is going to be okay, and Pumpkin is going to stay safe and sound where she's at. I tell him that the boys are just having a rough go of it, now that it's been almost 7 months since they've seen their dad, and basically my only hope of controlling their insanity lies with finding THIS:
And he's never seen me break down crying from stress on Skye, so his basic reaction is:
And he tells me to relax with a glass of wine after the tribe heads to bed, and I tell him that we're out... yeah, I ran out of wine during a deployment. Smooth move, but I refuse to take these 5 kids into a liquor store because I may be crying, and stressed, and have a few too many plates spinning, but by God,
Right. So I calm my dramatic butt down, say goodnight to my husband, get the kids in bed, and finish up the edits so I can get them back a full day early. Booyah. Then I attack the house like an OCD chick on the set of hoarders. Everything gets back in order, DSS visit comes, Jason skypes in, and my Feels explode.
We found out that average time for Pumpkin to be with us, even if everything goes right for her Birthmom is 12-18 months. So on one hand, I'm thrilled knowing that we get to have her in our lives for what's probably going to be the next year, and yet the idea of losing her at the end of this month would be terrifying, let alone a year from now. This process just... it just sucks.
Right. Sell bows with my Killer Spade ladies, and head home in time to eat something, toss in a few loads of laundry, and then take the boys to their night hockey practice.
Forget burning the candle at both ends, people. The candle is freaking GONE. I'm a giant puddle of melted wax with not much left to burn.
Next day? Trying to unbury myself from the laundry that has swallowed the mudroom and head to Syracuse for an away game. Oh, and laundry at our house right now for the week? It looks something like this:
and we started cloth diapering, which I'll have to tell you about my hippy-mom ways with Pumpkin next time, so there's these too:
So between all that, edits, birthmom visits, court dates, hockey, FRG, and the general insanity of having 5 children during a deployment... well, I'm just kind of like:
Case in point? It's now taken me two days to write this blog. I kid you not.
Oh, and the final straw? While a friend of mine and I are in the Taskforce Thanksgiving tonight, I can't find my car keys.... where could they be?
In the car.
Three hours after we got there.
Right. I guess it's a bonus, since it's Fort-Drum-Miserable blowing snow and now my car is warm, right? Sure.
So yeah. I have a ton of half written blogs, and a counter full of dirty dishes, and DSS is coming again for a routine visit this week. Oh, and my next round of edits for Full Measures is in, so now it's time to kill it.
Ask me again, "How do I do it?" I'll say again, "I don't. I'm kind of failing here." But you know what? I wake up every day and tell myself:
And I give it my best try again. Because maybe I'm failing by my standards right now, but I'm still pushing through. We're on the downhill in this deployment. It's been a rough go, and I couldn't have gotten this far without my friends here. There's not a day that's gone by I haven't been the recipient of someone's kindness, whether it's a phone call, a visit, or a favor given. I may have lost a few friends this tour, but I find I'm making new ones, getting outside my comfort zone, taking chances and remembering to show my friends how thankful I am for them, trying to learn from past mistakes. Now if I could only learn that I really need to pack lunches the night before...
So yeah, there's a wee bit much going on here right now, and there are times I feel like I'm floundering, but at the end of the day, the kids are happy, fed and snuggled up with goodnight kisses. Edits get turned in, hockey practice is made, and my sanity is arguably in tact, but please don't think that I have it all together, because that couldn't be further from the truth.
For every moment I think I'm not going to make it through these last couple months of this deployment, there's another that has me dropping to my knees in thankfulness, tears, sappy moment and all. After all, this is everything we've been waiting for, praying for, so I'm going to carry this family until Jason can get home and help with the load. And when someone asks me if I'm okay right now, if I can handle the insanity? Well, I'm kind of like...
Yeah. I'm finding my footing once again. I got this... well, until the Littles are up screaming over who ate the last of the vanilla chex at 0530.
So if you're wondering why there haven't been more blogs? Well... sometimes you just have to choose to do the dishes instead. ;) It doesn't mean I don't love you guys... it just means these kids keep eating and stuff. Yeah.
Now back to those edits....