I have this recurring sense that my life is constructed of extremes.

Some days, this is what I think:

*My time and opportunities are awfully, horribly confined by the needs of my kids.

*My energy is perpetually sucked away by the nature of the disabilities in my house.

*There is so much we can’t do as a family.

*Our house is like a racquetball court, taking constant hits from sensory-seeking children and, incidentally, their bodily fluids.

At these times I feel blue. I’m mad that Jack can’t speak, that it’s unfair how many abilities some people have and how others struggle to just be alive. I’m mad that I clean up urine and poop from random surfaces every day, that my house is broken and smelly. That things just are as they are.

And then, strangely, some days it’s like someone has wound up a tiny little buzzing toy inside me. It’s as if all the strange hardship turns from something nebulous into a laser-focused vibrating nugget of clarity.

It hummed in my center after I decorated the house for Christmas. All my pretty decor went the way of all things everywhere that Jack manhandles. What remains is a felt Merry Christmas banner I bought for $3 at Target last year, and a Christmas tree with felt and fabric (read: unbreakable) ornaments.

My tree, a fresh cork bark fir my dad planted and grew in Idaho, shone from the corner this week. I looked at it and saw that it is unmatched, naturally lovely, with charming (and durable) ornaments. No one’s tree looks just like mine and I like it.

That little humming wind-up thing buzzes in my head when I think about my life…

*as a mom

*who teaches writing at a university

*who instructs a Sunday school class of twelve-year-olds

*who sits on the school community council

*who writes things

*who goes on dates religiously with engineer husband

*who drinks Cherry Coke and doesn’t care if that bothers you

*who is rich in friends

*who is over the dumb idea of being defined by one’s stuff

*who feasts on books and movies and stories

*who has learned a lot about stress and imperfection and grace

*who really just wants kindness. And naps.

Here’s what the humming thing helped me understand:

My life is exactly what I always wanted.



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