I don’t have time for this, yet when my mind is full of wind and aching, the only option is tapping the craggy bark  and letting the sticky, messy sap flow. The last few days have not been kind to me- and I have not been kind to myself- or to anyone around me. My patience is short and I have been sharp and curt with my kids, and then when they fall asleep and inevitably look like angels, I weep and am plagued by guilt.

Jeffrey asked me tonight if I could have any wish in the world right-this-minute what would it be. I stopped, wary of ways I might inadvertantly hurt my child with a quick, quip answer full of adult cynicism and pain. “I would wish I was done with school so we could have a normal life again…” I offered cautiously but sincerely. My shoulders burn from tension and my gut aches from stress, but I want my child to sleep well tonight.  “I would wish for a billion billion dollars and some Legos.” I nod solemnly, agreeing that would be a good wish.

Mo told me once that our kids are like mirrors. There is no way we are not going to mess them up slightly, scratch them a little- the trick is not breaking them. This terrifies me. Every time I look at my kids right now, I see my shortcomings reflected back. This was never the plan- this lone mother with three kids thing- and they have the right to look at me and ask “Why, mama?” as I push them off again, hit the books- short on patience, time, hugs, bubbles, homemade bread and picking strawberries in July. Instead it’s midterms and yet another paper that I doubt the professor even reads. But I steel myself against the wheel, damn my tears, and push on. Midterms are tomorrow.

I pray to God this is worth it. I plead and put my hopes in a leaky mortal basket that my shortcomings are forgiven and bridges are built in my children’s hearts and souls from finer things than what I have to work with currently, and by finer hands than mine.

14 thoughts on “Tapped

  1. What a great post. You’ll look back on these days and be able to breathe deep and say “I did it.” I think us moms are a lot harder on ourselves then the kids are on us. You’ll remember a lot of what is going on now, but the kids won’t. Pretty soon your life will be back to normal! Hang in there!

  2. Amen to posts 1 and 2.

    Angels are abiding you and erasing all memory of the stress for your children. They won’t remember any of it other than the feeling you were working very hard.

    I wish I lived near you. I would totally do some reflexogy (fancy foot massage) on you and help you relax.

  3. Traci,
    Your voice over the last year has become so poignant, so rich, so TRUE. I know I’m a mostly lurker, but you make me cry.

    You have a beautiful soul, which I’m sure is why you have such precious children. May your heart heal, may your life find a rythym and a peace.

  4. This post spoke to my Mama heart. I wish I could come and love on your kids and it would be as good as if it were coming from you. I wish that I could bottle up all of your studies and pour them into your brain. I wish that I could clean your house, give you a massage and fix you a delicious dinner. Every day.
    But since I can’t, I will pray for your strength. I will pray that the Lord will compensate your children because you are doing something to make their lives better, even though it’s hard for you all right now. I will pray for those in your ward to be inspired to lend a hand. I will pray that those precious children will be attended by angels. I will also thank the Lord for you and your family. You have taught me so much. Carry on.

  5. It is worth it. My mom was once in almost your exact same circumstance. I was once in the same place as your oldest child. It was hard, to put it simply. But I knew how much she loved us and I burst with pride thinking about her sacrifices and endless work (often thankless) to make the most of a crap situation she had no control over. It will get better and your children will be just fine. I turned out okay, just ask my mom. 😉

    This may sound pithy, but I mean it in good faith and sincerity. All the best.

  6. I wish I could give you and Jeffery your wishes, I wish I could come and make things better, bake bread and blow bubbles with your kids and give you the time to study and write papers. I pray someone will come and do those things but if not I also pray that you are able to carry on doing what you are doing. It may not be ideal but it is working and you are getting there. Slowly but surely getting there ….

  7. Children’s memories are amazingly forgiving… at least until age 11 or 12. Someday your kids will be old enough and wise enough to realize what you are doing and how much of it is for them. They’ll be in awe, I promise.

  8. Tracy, I have been reading you for a long time now, and I am always struck by your complete honesty and your bravery. You are brave, and strong and wonderful. You are a great mama, and your kids, no matter what dings or scratches they may suffer will only flourish and blossom because of your care. It is hard right now, with school and juggling your home life and being on your own. But trust me, in years to come, your children will be lauding your accomplishments, and creating fantastic lives of their own, because “Mom did it, and sacrificed for us, so we must do the same!”
    We are all praying for you, and rooting for your success out here in “internet land!”

  9. I don’t know about Tracy, but that video made me cry. Thanks for sharing it, Cynthia.

    Tracy, I ache for your pain and your burdens. You are doing a phenomenal job with unfathomable challenges. You are doing better than you think you are. There will come a day when your children will thank you for being there and loving them when their world fell apart. They will thank you for helping them put back the pieces into a different, but still blessed, world.

    Endure well enough for now, my friend. Just well enough for now. One breath, one step, one paper, one question at a time.

  10. Tracy,
    I do not know you personally, but I know how it is to be putting all you have into just getting through school and raising children on your own. Time is carefully spent and each moment counts with your children. Many times I would have a paper to write and one or more of my children would just want to sit near me while all my energy and thoughts were into getting just the right words and and flow, and all the rules of APA into the paper. There were projects, practicums, student teaching, and finally the day when it all came together and I was able to walk onstage and receive my degree. Nobody or any circumstance can take away what you are doing for your family right now.
    You are setting an example that education is a major stepping stone to what will get you out of difficult situations. You are building a future, it may not be the future you envisioned when you became a mother, it may not be the present that it seems that ‘everyone’ else has, but it is yours. While you are going through it, you are building memories for your family as well, things that do not seem very significant now will be brought up later as funny and a fond memory.
    Heavenly Father has you in his protective embrace and is helping your whole family as he is witnessing you do what is best at this time in your life. I have no idea what a ‘normal’ life is, I know what I thought was normal, and after having gone through my particular journey, I prefer the life I have.
    Remember to breathe! Pray and once in a while actually get some sleep. =]
    You can do it and it is way more than worth it in the end.

  11. I’m mostly a lurker too, but I so much enjoy reading your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them, and God bless you in this stressful time. I know what it is like for months at a time to try and put on a brave face for your kids, to keep on keeping on when all you want to do is escape from it all. And I know the feeling of snapping at the kids, only to feel awful once they are in bed and resolve to be super mom tomorrow. I agree with the other commenters who feel that your kids will be just fine, and that your sacrifice now is teaching them so much. Best wishes.

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