Today I met my husband for lunch. It was only noon and we both looked exhausted. Too exhausted to even give each other much of a pleasant greeting and I am pretty sure that we both knew it had nothing to do with how much sleep we got last night.
We're worn out. We're tired of the roller-coaster ride the our country and its families have been on the past weeks. We are thankful that we are not a lower income family struggling to make ends meet or closing in on retirement. We are grateful that the only hit we took financially over the past week was a 43% loss in our 401k. While losing thousands of dollars that we could potentially put towards L.'s future or our own enjoyment in 30 years or so, we do know that we are blessed.
But still...the presidential election, whatever "side" you are on, is just so filled with deceit, falseness, and unhealthy competition. One man has cornered the market on the word "change" and unkind attacks and the other has told the same story over and over, but with the most important part based upon pleasing the audience to whom he's speaking. At this point, I am surprised anyone can passionately endorse either candidate.
All over the world, people are dying, struggling, enduring famine, war, disease, abuse and other realities that we can only begin to imagine. But, we as average Americans do endure the pain of the world via the media bombardment to which we are exposed. I watch very little TV, do not read the newspaper, and literally only get my news when I sign on to my email account and see the top 5 stories of the day flash by. Yet, I feel overwhelmed by the negativity around me.
During our lunch, we discussed how we both just need to "get real." We need to adopt positive attitudes- a kind of "fake it til you make it" position on emotion. While we both were wallowing in the discontentment that we seem to have let overcome us through the outside influences that even the most detached and electronically disconnected American faces, we realized that our reality is quite good. Sure, we may not love our current jobs in the way we did 3 years ago due to changes in position, leadership, the economy, etc. But, we do still have jobs. And, sure, we may not be able to head out on a date on a whim; we have to secure a babysitter and the knowledge that L. will likely not go to bed as peacefully as if we were home. And, yes, we have had a lot to deal with over the past year...my illness, the normal challenges of becoming a family after just being a married couple for a while. But overall, we can know that God provides for us, we are all healthy and should be content.
Okay, so now before you accuse me of getting all smarmy (is that a word?) and Pollyanna about things, let me share the other side of the coin. Things aren't great right now. My hubby and I have not connected intimately (emotionally or otherwise) in a while. I have yet to accomplish being both a good mom and wife simultaneously (if you know how, please email me the recipe). My brother was living with us for a little while and we haven't talked since he moved out...I am a little concerned for him and missing our chats. M.'s sister's family has faced several life-changing challenges recently. We are both experiencing a transitional time in our work and trying to discern what God wants us to do in our differing roles. Our financial position has also changed some due to my switch to part-time employment.
Parenting is not easy for me. Don't get me wrong; it's really easy to love a cute and funny boy like L. But, the everyday duties required of a parent, some of the same ones I struggled with in the first two months postpartum, are still hard for me. It's not always easy for me to get excited about chasing L. around the house a million times a day now that he's walking. I'm not always joyful when he wakes from a nap much earlier than expected. I don't really like having to wait until he's in bed to do projects like cleaning a cupboard or organizing my fall clothes. I truthfully can't stand to have to buckle and unbuckle the carseat just to get the dry-cleaning (sorry, N., last time for that analogy).
I cannot even begin to imagine life without my son now that he has been in it for more than a year. I adore him and would literally die for him. But, if I am being perfectly, gut-wrenchingly honest, I don't know that parenting is inherently easy and ultra-joyful for me. But it doesn't mean I don't feel guilty about that sometimes. And, it certainly doesn't mean I don't love my family. It just means I got real.