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So, there was a time (in land far, far away) where I think I remember I used to contribute to a blog. This blog. And it was fun. And on the very rare occasion, fun-ny. And even if it wasn’t, the eight people kind enough to follow along (six of them blood relatives), in generous acts of morale-boosting solidarity, kept lying to me to convince me otherwise.
And then, a kid got a stomach bug one day.
So, I delayed my next contribution.
And then, my upstairs bath was awarded Biohazard Level 8. And unless I actually addressed the pink ring in the toilet and the microscopic creatures that were just unashamedly reproducing in my shower… I mean, right THERE. Right there in MY SHOWER. Bold. I’m just sayin’… Anyway, unless I addressed this mess, the next step would be to just seal the damn thing off, mark it with yellow police tape and pray for the safety of the hazmat team that would have to deal with it eventually. (And believe me. I considered it. I weighed the pros and cons of that decision for a good 48 hours. After all, a family of four can easily survive sharing a bathroom. My mom grew up in a house of eleven. Three bedrooms. One bath. You do the math.) Regardless, I eventually “cleaned” it. This process was basically a symphony of heavy sighs, a litany of “What in the WORLD!!!” and “How… HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?” and a strict workout of curling my lip in disgust whilst closing my eyes and hoping my frantic wiping was putting an end to the bacteria’s indecent exposure.
So, I didn’t contribute anything that day either.
Days turned into weeks turned into more weeks turned into yet another eerily similar scene of me entering my bathroom and yet again screaming at the horror that had somehow returned. (Seriously, ya’ll. I have GOT to get my domestic poop storm under control.) Regardless, I’ve digressed. Reality is, I just… quit. I gave in. I bonked. I blew it. And, as we all know, the more time you commit to quitting, the further away you get from rallying. (I know, I know. Deep.)
So, that sort of brings us to the present.
I mean. Yes. Okay. There are a couple skipped pages here… the whole moving a startup from our garage, opening a retail store, trying to not (entirely) screw up two kids, running a business (… with your spouse… holy gravy… that’s a blog series in and of itself… yet again, I digress…) and in general just trying to maintain some (often times false) semblance of balance in the game of wife/mom/business owner/dog owner/home owner/tequila consumer. Those little things may have played a tiny roll in my cyber absence. And YET! Excuses, excuses. Tsk, tsk, Beth. Tsk. Tsk.
But look! I’m back. I’m back to plop down more deplorable ramblings on your screen. I think you guys (all six of you… I know I’ve lost at least two in the radio silence) will find it will most likely be as if we’ve never skipped a beat. The contributions will be just as awkward, mediocre and ambiguous as before. I’d love to be able to tell you how this recently concluded sabbatical has a neatly packaged “moral to the story.” Something that you can open and “ooh” and “ahh” over and then swathe yourself up in the quilt of “here’s how I have emerged stronger and wiser” that I wrapped up for you.
Nope. It’s just me. Same as ever. I mean… minus the whole newfound understanding that cleaning this house is pointless as long as anyone else is determined to live here. They refuse to move out. And they’re pretty damn adamant about eating… every flipping day.
Oh! But there is this. Yesterday, (it’s hot as Hades here, you guys… and I’m pretty much done with being hot, and eternally smelling of… well… horse and tea-tree oil) I decided to drop everything (yes, including bathroom bacteria bashing) and take the minions to the pool. More for my sake, than for their happiness. (Hot, ya’ll. It’s just flipping hot.) On the way, the sky opens up and dumps its contents upon us in furious haste. And I of course immediately jump into my cynical suit, emit several heavy sighs (I’ve got lots of practice with those), throw up my hands at the red light, and heave a “Perfect. Juuuuuuuuust per-FECT.” (“And the award for most dramatic emotional immaturity as a parent goes to…”) Just then, a tiny mouse from the back seat squeaks, “Mom. I LIKE the rain.”
Yes, you, the nine year-old, take the gold in demonstrating healthy perspective in the midst of your snarky-minded mother, yet again. Showoff.
I soldier on. I push the accelerator, and continue to drive through the downpour toward the pool. And guess what? All my snarky cynicism just melted. It was washed away and carried off with the gushing rain water into the nearest culvert, and I was left with a renewed spirit and appreciation for the wisdom of a child. It was beautiful.
OKAY NOW STOP.
You and I BOTH know that didn’t happen. *snort*
Right. So what DID happen was pretty cool, though. As the Jeep plows through the rain-covered streets, the clouds part, the sun pops out, and as we take a right into the parking lot, wonder of wonders, no rain. (I was still crabby, mind you. Let’s not get carried away that there was some sort of miracle. Please…) We get through the gate, the girls plunk into the deep end and I plunk onto a lounge chair. I can’t be bothered to actually do the thing I set out to do when we left the house – to actually swim. Ugh. I’m far too bothered for that. I’ll just continue to sweat and emit my barn-yard stink. That will show the world.
As I lean back and marinate, I look up. And, I miss it for a hot second, but then see the most amazing rainbow spanning the entirety of the sky. And you better know I was all, “Dude!! It’s a double rainbow! All the waaaaay!” In that moment, I succeeded in embarrassing both my pool-bobbing children. Score one for mom. However, superficial victories aside, I was enthralled. In that moment, while my kids scrambled out of the pool to get a better view, we couldn’t seem to NOT put everything aside and just stare. In that moment, it may not have completely washed away, but my cynicism did sustain a palpable gut check. In that moment, there was awe.
And, I know. I know I said there was no lesson here. But, dadgummit, I’m weak. There’s a lesson. Gosh, is there a lesson! I think you’re all smart enough to piece it together, despite the rubbish writing in which it’s been presented to you. But because I revel in the obvious, I’ll go ahead a lay it out for you.
There’s always a storm. It may be ahead of us, and we can feel the barometer dropping from where we stand. And it’s hard to breathe. Or worse, we don’t even see it coming. But it’s there.
Or, God help us, we may actually be in the middle of it. Just doing our best to stay strong… or put on a good front, at least. The storm can make us cynical. Harden us. Stoicize us. (Is that a word??) It can cause us to rationalize that life is HARD. It’s just. Too. Hard. And trying to keep up is just impossible. There’s no way we can keep up at work, at home… keep our marriage in tact… keep the kids happy, fed, clean, sane, agreeable, at peace… alive… AND continue to do other things… like writing (or, cleaning the bathrooms for that matter).
But finally, the storm may be behind us. We just may have survived. We may have pushed the gas pedal, not knowing why or how or with any faith at all that it will get us through to the end. But it does. And there are people along the way who lifted us up. And we probably rolled our eyes at them, and we probably took them for granted at the time. But they were there. And they survived with us. And we all got to see the promise that was waiting for us. We may have even tried to ignore it at first. Dismissed it. But, despite our smelly persistence to just stink up the joint with our bad attitudes and refusal to see the unabashed reality that there is a bigger purpose, and our role in life is far greater than ourselves, the good Lord never gives up on His promise. The rainbow is out there. Just waiting on us to see it. And there is awe. And it washes over us. And that shell of “life is too hard” breaks, and is carried away with the storm. And, even if for a little while, we’re back on track.
So, here’s to finding the rainbow again. Here’s to boring you again. Here’s to ignoring proliferating micro bugs and pecking out nonsense on my keyboard. Here’s to the storms, both past and brewing. And here’s to the tequila that sees us through it all.