When Melanie said, "I am not sure how you do what you do", I had several reactions. My first was to be frustrated that I may have, by only giving snapshots into our life (a drawback inherent to blogging), led folks to believe a storybook account of our life. The second was to think, I know exactly how you feel.
The Momma in me has to warn you explicitly about assuming too much. Don't read too much between-the-lines about the lives of anyone...especially online. I can't write about everything, and even if I could, I wouldn't air our dirty laundry in so public a forum. Case in point, allow me to ask some questions. Is my laundry caught up? Do I yell at my kids? Is my husband happy and well cared for? How does my garden grow? And most importantly...is it well with my soul?
Truth is, you can't know from just reading blog posts. I have several dear friends with whom my relationship is conducted primarily via computer. Even with extensive e-mail and phone conversations ~ even they ~ can't truly know about our life. The view from a blog is comprised of no more than multiple peeks through a fence's knotholes, and it is not a reputable source from which one may draw a complete picture. All of that is to say, I am not doing all that much. Especially now.
I am currently prostrate on the family room couch. My head is pounding, my mouth is constantly watering with oh-please-can't-I-just-throw-up anticipation, and I can only type a couple of lines at a time before I have to stop to let the dizziness subside. Meanwhile, my family is fending for themselves. My eleven year-old daughter made dinner alone, while helping me entertain the Littles. For the past several weeks, I have only been able to be up and about for (at most) an hour at a time before I feel so sick I need to lie down. This is not the stuff of Super Woman, whoever she is.
I have however, made the same statement ("I don't know how you do all you do") to many women over the years and thought it about still more. Anyone with more children than myself, at whatever number of children I currently had, I automatically assumed was handling all things well, with abundant grace and tea parties, as well. I just knew that their sinks, laundry hampers, and trash cans were empty before bedtime each night, their meals were well-balanced, colorful and healthy, their husbands were enraptured at all times, their children rose up each day and called them blessed, and since they had regular devotional times, YHWH loved them more than me. I knew it. I have been a Mom-To-A-Few, and looked up to the Mommas-Of-Many. I am now somewhere in the middle...a Momma-Of-Many, sandwiched between the folks looking to me, while I look to the Mommas-Of-Nations. The truth, which I eventually discovered somewhere along the way, was that I couldn't assume too much...although I still haven't learned to walk in this truth at all times.
As I lay here now, I am less than 36 hours away from being the hostess of a family of thirteen. While Mr. Visionary would say that my house could - possibly - use a little "picking up", my inability to see in shades of grey tells me that it is a wreck. I will need to prepare three meals a day for 22 people for at least three days. I have a minuscule amount prepared, and no great ideas for the rest. And yet, here I lay, unable to function any better at present.
The Momma who will visit is soft spoken, loving, patient, kind, beautiful and has been pregnant many times. This is not the sort of woman in front of whom I want to appear to be a sissy. And yet, even with all the self control I can muster, I am not a hero, either. Will this Super Mom of Eleven (whom I greatly admire) understand? Has she ever been laid up with morning sickness? Surely she was always prepared when company was coming, and surely her house was always orderly. Surely. I know this because I have seen knothole versions of her life. And if the knotholes look like that, I can fill in the rest for myself.
Or can I?