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Towing the Line

I am a single mom towing the line.  The kids get fed, showered, dressed, chauffeured and loved.   And then it's off to work 36 hours a week and of course, let's not forget the ever present and building housework.  So what gets done, gets done and what doesn't, doesn't.

It's been a big lesson in time management and prioritization.  It's as if life is a big puzzle; how do you balance it all and make all the pieces fit?  Well, sometimes they just don't.  And there are choices that have to be made as to what's going to be a priority, what's going to get done.  For me, that has been a struggle.  I so badly want to be able to do it all, and to do it all well.  But towing the line is a tall order, even if it is just scraping by.

And just as there are all these tasks and chores that need to be prioritized, I'm finding that I have all these stressors and worries that I need to balance as well.  They're all heavy and big and worrisome, but I have to pick and choose which ones to work on and which ones to let go.

These past couple of weeks I've been worrying about my son.  He's been struggling in school and is having a hard time focusing.  That's how his anxiety plays out.  He is by nature a deep thinker and he internalizes what's going on around him and tries to make sense of his world in his head.  We've rocked his world yet again and he has a million thoughts swirling around and it's as if his eight year old brain just doesn't have enough room to deal with everything going on.  And on top of it all we're asking him to focus and concentrate on school work for 7 hours out of the day; it's a tall order.

So, the task-oriented side of me rose to the occasion and went into overdrive trying to manage my son's anxiety and help him focus in school.  And I think I did stumble upon some strategies that are going to help.  But in the end, I've realized that this worry - although big and huge and important and worth every ounce of my time and effort to support Henry through this - is one of those worries that I'm going to have to let go of.  Because it is what it is.  Henry's world has been turned upside down.  He's eight, he's stressed, he's confused, and he's overwhelmed.  I'm going to have to leave this one in the healing hands of time and trust that one day it will be better; all in good time.

So we'll take it one day at a time, and one unfinished assignment at a time... and in between we'll do bike rides, root beer floats, puppet shows, play dates and all the other things in life that Henry loves.  Because while it's hard to let go and try not to manage this issue for Henry, I really do believe - not hope - but have a firm belief grounded in faith that it is going to get better and Henry will make it through this storm in his life.

This summer the kids and I went to church camp together.  I grew up going to this camp and it's a special place to me.  I was the camp nurse and had the girls with me all week, but Henry stayed in his own cabin with boys his own age and had his own counselor.  I tried to give Henry his space throughout the week and be there without intruding.  Thursday night there was a communion service and the girls and I had gotten there a little early and when Henry walked in, he chose to sit with us.  (Not going to lie, my heart sang a little when he did that!)

The camp dean was telling the communion story and his message was "love conquers all".  I think if I had heard that same message in another place at a different time, I probably would have been cynical, or at best thought, "what a nice church-ism" - love conquers all - really?

But, there was something about that particular moment; sitting with all 3 of my kids leaning into me, in a place where I had grown up that was holy and sacred to me, bathed by the light of the late evening sun - that made those words speak to me.  And I knew in that moment - not hoped, not believed, not prayed - but knew deep in my soul that truer words have never been spoken; indeed, love conquers all.

I remember looking at my kids snuggled next to me and seeing how content and peaceful they were  and I felt my heart swell with love for them, and I knew they felt loved.  And there was so much peace, and promise and hope in that moment and in the message because I knew that in the end, it's love that will carry my kids through this season of their life.  Love from me, love from their father, their family, friends, teachers, counselors, therapists, whomever.  My kids are loved, and because they are, they will  be okay.

So, yeah - I'll tow the line.  I'll do what I can do and work on letting that be enough.  And I'll love my kids with all my heart and soul and find rest in the promise that love conquers all... even a spacey, distracted, overwhelmed eight year old brain.





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