Matching Furniture

Like most moms, I have good days and bad days.  There are the days where I'm happily mixing up a batch of cookies, (or this time of year, pumpkin rolls) fixing dinner, helping with homework and climbing into bed happily exhausted.  Then there are the days where I'm not.  In no way do I feel cheerful, the last thing on my mind is making cookies, and the kids are lucky to get a sandwich, much less a hot meal - unless they warmed it up in the microwave.  I climb into bed grumpy and tired and wake up the same.   

I was having one of 'those' days last week.....well, more like one of 'those' weeks.  Just before the kids were due to come home from school I picked up the phone, more or less let gravity plop me into the couch and called my husband. 

Now, for those of you dads who have to deal with us moms having one of 'those' days, you can feel for my husband when he had to patiently sit and listen to me and all the reasons why I was a) tired, b) tired, c)overwhelmed, d)cranky, and finally, e)tired.  My final phrase, after coming to the end of my diatribe, was "And I want matching furniture!"

It was a quiet moment before the full-bore laugh came out of the earpiece.  I said it out of desperation, but I quickly found as much humor in it as my husband did.  Right then I knew I was simply complaining just to hear myself complain - I was having, what I frequently told the boys when they were toddlers, a fit and falling in it.  (or as Bob likes to say "blowing snot-bubbles")  

After breaking the grip of bleakness with our freeing laughter, it was time to take a nap to fortify myself and get back in the game. I managed to be despondent, yet know that I had my fill of staring off into the deep abyss and was backing away from the precipice.   So why do I go through this every so often?

Well, for starters, the easy answer is deceptively simple:  hormones.  I say deceptively simple because yes, that's a pat answer, but my, oh my, they are full of their own little special tricks and prizes; Like jelly bellies, you might pick the tantalizing pink one, pop it in your mouth in sweet anticipation, and chomp down on a Pepto-bismol flavor. 

And yet, there's more to it than that.  Parents are pressured to pack too much into our days, leaving little for rest and fun in our culture.  Economic strife has hit most every home in the America's.  Simply existing in lower middle-class is a daily struggle.  We fall prey to running here, there, and everywhere without even realizing it until you, I and our friends are looking at eachother with glassy, tired eyes, too busy to have more than a 3 minute chat. 

And still, there's more to it.  Our souls will never be rested until we are resting with the Lord.  I may not have ever understood that before, when I was young and full of energy.  Or older, raising such exhausting toddlers where I could fall asleep in a grocery line. I can now appreciate a fuller meaning, especially after my snot-bubble episode:  Nothing anyone could have done for me at that point would have made a single difference to how I felt - up to and including matching furniture.  I know in my soul that I would have still have come up with something else to complain about had I been sitting on part of a matching ensemble.

There's a small satisfaction with that understanding.  It's a comfort - soothing to my psyche - to accept that I will never find perfection in this life; to renew one's knowledge that things go bad.  Plans go awry.  Kids make dumb choices.  Married couples fight.  As much as plans go well.  Friends reach out.  Kids make smart choices.  The Sacrament of marriage is upheld as married couples work it out.  Life here is less about bills, ball games and bread, and more about preparing for eternity.  

Good contemplation includes staring into the abyss along with stepping back; reaching inward at the deeper parts of our soul and reaching out to others mesmerized by the inky darkness; remembering there will always be an element of unhappiness, restlessness.  So I will work, in this life, to prepare myself for the next. And I bet (hope, pray, beg) there will be a sunny beach with a matching set of furniture waiting there with my name on it.

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