Oatmeal

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April 20, 2017 by Heather

My head is buzzing with everything I should be doing besides this.  Writing a paper, folding/putting away laundry, making the bed, painting the front door, clearing the kitchen table, washing my face.  As you’ll notice, everything after the first item is procrastination disguised as productivity, one thing I am super good at.  Maybe even the best at.

But I feel the need to write in this space, even just briefly, because it’s been what?  Four months?  Three months?  A lot of life has happened in that time — Oliver has grown, Andrew and I both resigned our coaching positions, I ran a half marathon, and Parker started asking questions like if his testicles are storage receptacles for poop and why do we have to live and does God breathe and how did heaven get there?  These are the days of our lives.

I also feel the need to confess that I’ve been a little… off… for about 6 months, probably longer than that.  Disconnected, discontent, shaky, unstable, doubting, apathetic.  Off-kilter in the worst way.  As is typical, I’ve used humor and sarcasm and makeup and food and exercise (see: half marathon) to skirt the issue, feign ok-ness.  But I don’t feel like doing that today.

This past Friday I was at the store with the boys and we passed an elderly woman while turning into the next aisle.  She had on gray dress pants with a pink shirt and I started to tell her I liked her outfit but decided to just keep walking in my attempt to get out of there as soon as humanly possible.  Parker and Oliver were being, well, Parker and Oliver.  I had noticed in the window’s reflection when I shut my car door in the parking lot that the bags under my eyes were extra deep and extra dark, so I had Weary Mom written all over my face.  I wanted to be excited for Easter weekend, to feel the hope of the holiday, but it just wasn’t there (see previous: shaky, doubting).

The tiny, well-dressed woman stopped her cart, looked me right in my tired eyes, and said, “You’re going to make it, mama.”  Of course I laughed and made some funny comment (humor deflection!), and she told me she herself had boys and that everything turned out just fine.  We smiled and went in different directions, and on the next aisle I realized I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

Oliver and I have started doing this thing I like to call Oatmeal on the Couch.  Real creative, I know.  I change his diaper and give him his milk, carry him to the kitchen.  He sits on the counter while I make a bowl of oatmeal with flax and coconut and bananas, then I give him the spoon and I carry the bowl into the living room and he hauls himself up onto the couch and we sit there, passing the spoon back and forth until the bowl is empty.  It is a simple act of communion, nothing extraordinary.  But this shared breakfast has brought a hope to my morning that, to be honest, has been a little foggy for a while.

So maybe, just maybe, the old angel lady from Walmart is right.  Here’s hoping.

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