I think I already understand what those sweet yet obnoxious parents of teenager or those starry eyed empty-nesters are trying to say. They say that the little years were so sweet and treasure every moment and they would give anything to go back. Usually, I smile outwardly and roll my eyes inwardly because I know that they've forgotten all of the hardest parts, and that it's mostly hard parts with a lot of awesome thrown in to keep you from giving up.
For the last several months I've been talking all big about feeling called to ministry outside the home. I'm beginning the process of applying to graduate school, and I've talked about looking for part time work somewhere. I say that I'm learning that moms shouldn't be expected to stay at home alone with their kids all day, that it's emotionally unhealthy. I say that women need to get out there and show their kids how to live a life that they enjoy. That they need to use their gifts and passions to change the world.
All of this is true, but I'm also saying it to hide something - I feel like a total failure.
All that I ever dreamed of for my family was to be a full time at home mom. I wanted to home school them all the way through high school. I wanted our home to be a wonderful place full of learning and hospitality and the smells of good food cooking. I wanted lesson plans and chore charts and cleaning schedules. I want lists and order and smiling little best friend children.
I love my family. I love the idea of making all of the above happen, but I hate that it's not enough for me. At the same time, it's way too much for me. I can't ever keep up. I hate being at home alone with my children. It's just so overwhelming, trying to take care of two toddlers and a preschooler by myself. If I can get help and the occasional respite, I love it again. It seems unrealistic to expect those things, though.
Mostly, I just hate it, to be honest.
So, we have embarked on a journey to get me back out "into the world". I sort of start back work tomorrow. (Its complicated, if you're following our journey, you'll understand. If not, well, just know that it's complicated.) Izzy starts preschool, and the other two will go with Dennis and I to work at the shelter that is letting us live in it's mission house for this six month term. For the next four months, my kids will go to child care, which I'll sometimes be in charge of, and Dennis and I will work for the ministry.
I'm grieving the family dynamic I always wanted but seems to have eluded me. I'm grieving all of the time that won't be spent with my kids, because I have already forgotten all of the bad stuff, like those silly parents I talked about rolling my eyes at earlier.
I'm scared that I'll also fail at this, that I'm not good enough for anything, really.
I think I want this? More importantly, I felt positive I was called to this, but tonight I'm just not so sure.