I’m lying on the couch, wishing for a little more sleep (even if it’s just half sleep) but Mette keeps climbing up next to and on me. She’s repeating, “Hi mama! Hi mama!” over and over until I respond.
She smiles and “hi babe”s back while she shoves bits of cereal in my mouth (undeterred by my pursed and unwilling lips), points her little fingers under my glasses and says, “eyes, eyes” and over my glasses, “eyebrows, eyebrows”. My face is poked further with “nose”, “mouth”, and then it’s back to the eyes again.
I’m so tired. When Hans woke at 2:00 am I brought him in bed next to me where he squirmed and grunted and remained ill content (unless nursing) through the remaining hours of the night. I managed to pull myself slowly away from Hans (tucking a blanket snuggly into my place to make up for my absence) just in time to retrieve early-morning Mette from her crib (where she could be heard – over the monitor – crying and hollering to be rescued). Mike offered to get up, but he’s been waking early with our older school kids ever since Hans’s arrival two plus months ago, and he’s currently been stuffed up and headachey for what seems like weeks, so I insisted he stay in bed.
Last night Mike found me feeding Hans in our front room – somewhat removed from the yelling of small voices and mess of a dinner not yet cleaned up -- and came to sit by me.
“What’s wrong,” he said. “You look sad.”
I began to cry – tears over the overwhelming and constant undoneness of everything -- the lawn full of enormous amounts of weed-filled landscaping needing a serious spring cleaning, windows needing washed, kids needing pushed and instructed in various tasks and chores, cupboards needing cleaned out, laundry needing put away, homework and school assignments needing worked on with Jesse, and a thousand other things that were beyond the already demanding scope of “take care of a newborn, a one year old, a two year old, and . . . six other kids, make dinner, run errands, and keep the house to some level of basic tidiness”.
“I don’t know,” I sniffled to Mike. “I mean, I know Heavenly Father doesn’t expect me to somehow magically be able to do everything, but I don’t know how I’m supposed to properly see or feel about all of the constant stuff we can’t accomplish that does need done.” I paused and questioned, “Are there people who just have everything taken care of?”
“Well,” Mike admitted, “probably so.” He mentioned an acquaintance of his. “He’s married and they have no kids. I’m sure he comes home to a clean house every day. And they go out to eat and to a movie. And they work out together.” He paused. I waited for some insight. Some truth about significance and purpose in our path. Then he said with a shrug, “They seem pretty happy.”
And then we both began to laugh. I hugged him. And through my tears, laughed some more. It wasn’t funny. But it was just so . . . unhelpful – this acknowledgement that . . . yes, it could be much easier -- that it felt funny. I think both of us knew there was some bigger meaning, some correct view in all the chaos of our current lives, but finding it felt . . . too tiring just then. And laughing was easier.
“More than once he has made us cheerful as well as strong.” – Henry B. Eyring