Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"I don't know how you do it..."

I still am not sure if it's a statement of pity or praise. I've heard it during a few different stages in my life and have never really felt I had an appropriate response. Is it a question? Statement? Exclamation? Are you supposed to say, "Thank you," or set about explaining exactly how you do whatever it is the person is baffled about?

There was the stage when I was an incessant overacheiver. Last semester in school, just graduated with my Bachelor's in Elementary Ed and began my teaching internship (which is a full time job), while taking my required graduate class, and coordinating a collegiate level international missions history course, and serving in a leadership position at my church, dating a boy who took up all my time it seemed, AND to top it all off I decided to train for a marathon. "I don't know how you do it," people would tell me. I do. I was crazy. I was sick all the time, exhausted, and had a nervous break down after the second time I ran 10 miles (which was supposed to be 13). I'm not sure why I needed all of those things in my life. I just know at that time in my life I did. Accomplishment, praise, maybe a little bit of all those things, and yet I don't think I ever felt fulfilled. I didn't have time to, except to relish in the fact that people seemed amazed at all the balls I could juggle at once. Or were they?

Or how about when Aidan was a toddler and I was big and pregnant with Alec (they're 16 months apart). I remember nursing Aidan, sprawled out across my pregnant belly, and waddling around after him during those hot summer days at the splash pad. I would desperately try to nap when he napped. Then, once my little man was born, I frantically toted two babies around town (as well as I could juggling the varying nap schedules and diapers), determined to lead anything resembling a normal life. I knew I had to figure out how to function on my own with two littles while their dad was at work all day, so I just did. "I don't know how you do it," my friends would say. What else was I going to do? Hire a nanny so I could get my grocery shopping done?

And later, as a single momma, living in an apartment on my own with my littles, working full time to support our sweet family, I heard it a lot. I would overhear my friends at work sharing their flustered emotions on the days their husbands were out of town and they had to get the kids ready and off to school on their own and attempt to squeeze into work on time. Then they'd remember that I do it every day, look at me, half shake their heads and say, "I don't know how you do it."

How do I do it? I don't know, how do you crawl to a phone to dial 911 after your legs have been lopped off in a freak accident? You just do! Because you have to. Because if you don't, you die. If you do, you live. Maybe without legs, but you live. And you have a story.

And now, engaged to a wonderful man, inheriting 2 more gorgeous children, juggling visits and schedules, work, bills, and that sweet man having to travel for his job so often. "I don't know how you do it..."

I don't know either. But I can tell you this, I'm not wonder woman or supermom. I'm not perfect and God help us all if I ever decide to write a parenting book. Or crafting, home decorating, spirituality or cook book. Seriously. I don't know how my friends live their lives either, because I'm not them! We all have our successes, struggles and challenges. That's all there is to it. No judgement, only appreciation and graciousness for all that everyone of us goes through to make it through another day and smile on the other side of it.

I'm incredibly thankful for my messy, haphazard life with all its unfinished projects and spontaneous adventures. At least I'm living. Legs or no legs. I've said it before and I'll say it again, life won't get in the way of my living.

I'm still not sure if it's a compliment, question or statement of compassion, but I'll take it. I'm also going to try to think of a phrase that could be put in place of it, because I don't know how I do it either, except by Grace, and a lot of help from my friends, family, and my Love.

Life is what you make of it, kids.

College, probably close to that crazy semester I almost
killed myself attempting to run a marathon.

Big pregnant momma haulin' around my other baby.

Trying to teach that baby not to maul the littlest of the two.

The six-pack fondue night (one of them).

My Love.
Make some honey tonight kids.


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