The other day I sat down at my computer and discovered a Word document left open by my eight year old daughter. This is what I read:
I’ve tried to be very good. But this year it’s been kind of hard with my mom being pregnant...
I couldn't read past that line. I put my face in my hands and burst into tears. I can't imagine a more articulate description of what my family has been through these past months than my little girl appealing to a merciful Santa Claus. It's been seriously hard at our house for a long time. I was on bed rest for fourteen weeks. The last six of those weeks I was taking heavy medication that, in my husband's words, made me "lose my will to live." My girls have been bathed, fed, driven around, tucked in and taken care of by hands that were not my own. Loving hands, but not their mother's hands. They were sent away for chunks of the summer, and when home they were surrounded by a revolving door of house guests. We wouldn't have made it without the love and kindness of the family members and friends who flocked to our house to help. But it was nearly impossible for my girls to feel normal with me stranded on the couch and a different "mother" in the kitchen every week.
I expected that making it to 36 weeks would instantly allow the hardships of the past four months to fade away. I was so focused on the health of my baby that I never gave a moment's thought to the day after. And suddenly he was here and perfectly safe, and we were all surprised when we didn't wake up the next morning feeling elated. It's probably more accurate to say that once we knew the baby was fine it was then that we unraveled. Evidently it takes time to come down from prolonged stress, rebuild a sense of stability, find our new normal, and to feel whole again.
|Ashley Michaelson Photography|
A few days ago I read a terrific quote by Marjorie Hinckley who describes the simple comfort that comes from the scent of dinner baking in the oven. It was exactly the kind of inspiration I need in my life right now. My body is thrashed, my soul feels tired, and almost every moment one of my children needs something from me. I don't feel well enough to take care of all these people, I think to myself fifteen times a day. I don't know where to begin. I don't know how to re-enter my life and I'm too tired to try. We missed summertime this year.
But Sister Hinckley's quote stirred something inside of me. My family needs a mother, and as overwhelming as that job feels, there is nothing that says A Mother Lives Here like the smell of something baking in the oven. So, yesterday afternoon I made Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls. It's my sister-in-law Amelia's recipe. You simply spread apple butter over the dough once you roll it out, before you sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar, and then you add apple butter to the frosting. When my girls returned from school their eyes nearly bugged out of their skulls.