Little-Bigs (and no, that’s not my new rapper name)

The other day Braxton peed all over the floor, 3 times. Kid can’t aim. Hayleigh was having a complete meltdown because she had swallowed her gum and it was the last one in the pack and I hadn’t gotten her new gum when I went to the store like I prrrooooommmmiiiissssed. Royce had decided afternoon naps were for the birds, or for Paisley who always takes advantage of having zero responsibility (because she is a dog), and naps for a good 3 hours on our bed every afternoon. I had made pb&j for lunch again…much to the dismay of everyone but Paisley who ate Royce’s whole sandwich off the floor after she threw it there in toddler rebellion. I went to shower but Braxton fell down the stairs just as I was about to take 10 minutes off. By the time I consoled him, Royce was up from her non-nap (read she had been screaming long enough I was afraid someone would call CPS), and the opportunity had passed. I had a sinus infection that I had been fighting for three weeks and speaking of fighting someone must have told my kids to try out for WWE because some of the moves they were trying were a little bit cage-fighter-esque. My brand new phone decided to stop working, then start working, then stop working again. That evening it was bath night…actually it was 2 days past bath night. For some reason 2 out of 3 of my kids hate baths. Don’t they realize how lucky they are?! At what age do we start viewing a bath as an oasis? As we were wrestling one kid into the tub I noticed the other two were throwing raisins at each other in the upstairs hall…which they said they found up there. I was just praying they hadn’t gotten left up there as grapes.

Most days I can take the little things in stride. But when bigger things are weighing heavy on me it is amazing how the littlest thing can open the flood gates. I have been known to cry because I forgot to buy cheese at Wegmans. Yes, cheese is that important…I am starting to see that Hayleigh comes by her gum meltdowns honestly. I can take a whole crap pile of…well…crap. I can carry that load for a while (no pun intended). I keep adding to it. Then one moment it just becomes too much. I guess that is where the saying the “straw that broke the camel’s back” came from. Some times Peter will look at me from across the room as I am freaking out that a shirt isn’t clean, or that I dropped and broke an entire jar of olive oil, or that the throw pillows are arranged wrong. I can see by his slightly bewildered, very much terrified look that he is unsure whether to give me a hug or just run as fast and as far as he can in the other direction. At least he is learning that it is not ever about the shirt or the olive oil or the throw pillows…well maybe sometimes it is about the throw pillows. There can be a pile of laundry sitting in the dining room for…more days than I would like to admit…rivaling Mt. Everest but if the throw pillows aren’t arranged right, something in my brain just tweaks a little. But really, Peter is learning that it is about 10% throw pillows and 90% something bigger.

It is those darn little things that set me off and open the flood gates.

I know I am not alone in that. Peter has actually joined a support group of men whose wives have taken a little ride on the crazy train. He is finding it very therapeutic to find that these other poor saps husbands think their wives are a teensy-tiny-lotta-bit nuts. I am pretty sure they actually just play video games the whole time in someone’s house where the throw pillows can get thrown all out of whack and all over the place. No, I am kidding. There isn’t a support group…I don’t think.
Maybe there should be a support group for us hoarders of emotions. If there was a support group I would have a lot to say. I am sure most of it would not be profound or helpful. It would probably be mostly spewing, but I might also say this: it is hard to focus both the big things and the little things. How can you chose? You can choose to be consumed by the big things and then you miss the little things happening all around you-you know the things life is made up of. You can be blinded by the giant crisis, so wrapped up in managing that big thing that you overlook the every day things that really matter to the people that really matter. Or, you can be caught up in the little things that you use it as an escape from the big looming reality of a situation you are not dealing with. Ugh!

I am trying to find a way to balance the big and the little. Most days I think I do okay. I chip away at the big thing/s. I schedule emotional time for it. I leave room for when it comes up unexpectedly. But I also don’t want to miss the little things, because to me the little things really are the big things. The little things string together to make up a whole life. So, as I split my energy between big (good and bad) and little (good and bad) I try to let the little-bads roll off my back. But sometimes (okay more than I like) one of the little-bads doesn’t roll off so easily. It gets caught in the load of big I am carrying. And it is little but it is just big enough to tip the scale. It is just big enough to make the big load too big. I don’t like that this happens. But at the same time I would rather this than to shut out the little entirely. I don’t want to miss all the little-goods. I want to be present. I want to be immersed in my life. So, I am learning. I am learning to balance the big and the little. I am learning to carry His lighter load. I am learning to forgive others for the their little-bads that try to tip my scale. I am learning to forgive myself for letting my emotions comes out sideways at the little-bads. And I am trudging on, through the eschew throw pillows and raisin piles of my life. I am not doing awesome at it, but I can laugh at myself some now. As the tears flow down onto the kitchen floor and the 6th Great Lake (which is made out of olive oil) I am able to say “Okay God, cool. If this is what it took to get me to break down, okay. If this is what it took for me to come to you about the big stuff that is going on and admit I can’t do it alone, okay. I am ready for your lighter yoke now, because clearly I can’t even handle spilling olive oil.” (For realsies though, how hard is it to clean up oil?!)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30
(There’s that verse again; it keeps coming up!)
After my day as Alexander in “Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day”, and after a very pathetic pity party this happened: a little-good. Boy, am I thankful for those. The kids were waiting to go outside to play. It started out Braxton and Royce were waiting for Hayleigh to get her shoes on, and the light was just right ,so I grabbed my camera to get some sneaky candid pictures. Then Hayleigh sat beside Braxton and they were just…them. I am kind of loving that there is a dead dandelion in the foreground. It seems appropriate, right? I am so thankful that God gave me these incredible kids despite myself. That is a big-good.
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