retreat

by bam

ha. in a million years i would not tiptoe up the stairs, climb into bed, pull up the covers and check out. not while the sun was shining, anyway.
i barely muster the whatever-it-takes to do that when the moon is out. when the night is all around. when lullabies are wafting in through open windows.
i am not wired to seek retreat. not in the middle of the act.
but, oh, how i long some days for a pillow under head, for some excuse, pure and simple, to call time out. to shout, “this mother’s done. she is wholly spent. she seeks retreat. do not attempt to find. not ’til dinner time. when she’ll be back, foisting chops onto your plate. worry not, she’s no deserter. she just needs a little break.”
i don’t know about you, but lately, the days are dragging. the overdrive is wearing down my gear shaft. i seek something deep and full of sustenance.
yesterday i launched full-scale refueling program. i called a friend. i cried. i went outside, hoisted hose. watered thirsty plants. imagined my own roots gulping what they needed. i lay on grass, watched puffy clouds scuttle by. put myself to bed at least an hour earlier than usual. heard the sound of the little one calling for his papa, calling for a drink. but i rolled over, went to where my aching tired parts would find their solace. i dreamt so deep i cannot tell you where that was.
i awoke, still achy, but not quite so very much.
it is time, my friends, to admit that there are spells when the demands of every day might make you feel as if you are under water.
the month of may, we’ve mentioned, is a tad on the over-scheduled side. but i am coming to think that it just might suffer from the famed seasonal affective disorder.
it is, sometimes, plain old sad. the leavings are piling higher by the hour. so, too, the hard goodbyes.
as one of the wisest teachers i ever knew once told me, when the subject was a young child’s birthday, every change of year brings with it as much longing for what’s being left behind as it brings joy for what is coming. do not miss the sadness, she counseled, behind the blowing out of candles.
so too, it seems, with end of school year. which in this little house this may is, you’ve heard before, end of kindergarten, the year that teaches you all you need to know (a much-passed-about book once told me so). and end of all of grammar school.
egad, i can see like yesterday that little pink-cheeked boy trotting off to limestone university castle, brand-new, bright-red backpack strapped around his shoulders. one day, in the door of kindergarten, now, whole lifetimes later, a wise man-child walking out another.
do not underestimate, a wise friend told me, the power of the 8th-grade graduation. you might think for a week or two that it’s just that you are busy. or tired. but suddenly, she said, it will dawn on you that moving onto high school exacts a heavy psychic toll.
perhaps it’s that, in part. perhaps it’s just the unrelenting daily grind. or holding down two jobs, one i do for love, the other for which i’m paid. and on top of those, the motherlode of jobs that come with being the mother.
whatever is the cause, the end result is this: i’m bushed.
and i know i’m not alone. which is why i say so here.
we can all be perfectly adept at getting along just fine for most of every year. but within each calendar, there are days and weeks where the climb is uphill all the way. and the air gets thinner with every lifting, falling foot.
it is, i am coming to believe, only deeply human to honor the fatigue. to admit that there are times when pillow, tears or time-out will not pump up the flattened tire.
it is times like this, i think, when you reach across the table, take the hand of a very tired friend, squeeze tight, and pray with all your might for a blessed wind to carry you until the load grows lighter once again.
which, i think, is what i just did.

as if my achy, tired self much mattered….yesterday afternoon, as i sat down to sink my teeth into a sandwich, i found myself staring at the front page of the chicago tribune. there, a photo of a beautiful iraqi teenage girl. i started to read, and barely kept from crumbling. the girl, dragged in a headlock into a circle of angry men, was beaten to death. gruesomely. for the sin of loving the wrong man. whole thing caught in cell phone images. i wept. i weep still. for a world that beats its women. i ask you to pray for her soul, the hearts of those who loved her, women and men. and for those whose stories we do not know, but which would leave us more than broken if we did. my silly load is nothing compared to these. God have mercy.

please, share your load….