I replied to an email of Heather’s last night and admitted that I was at Barnes and Noble because I’d run away from home. Not in a dangerous, abandon-my-family kind of way—Daddy was home and I was 20 minutes and a phone call away—but in an I can’t do this anymore and I have to get out of here kind of way. Convicted by Ann Voskamp’s recent Relevant recap posts, I told Heather that I almost felt obligated to blog about it.
To quote just a little bit of Ann’s wise words:
And when you sit down to your keyboard, and you write a blogpost — you are writing for me. You are writing for messed up me, and the messed up woman next door, and the messed up woman sitting beside you in church and messed up You. We need your messy stories. And you need your messy stories.
So here is my messy story.
I’m a peacemaker at heart—yelling, unkind words, and aggression make me very uncomfortable. My kids have gotten into a habit lately of making mean but idle threats to each other, back-talking, and disrespect. After pulling over twice to talk to them while driving home from the store last night, I realized that I just couldn’t listen to another word. I had to get out.
I drove home, put away the groceries, called my husband and verified that he was almost there, and left. We met in our neighborhood and exchanged vehicles. I didn’t vent about specifics; it wasn’t my goal for him to go home and get onto the kids. There had been enough talking, and I just wanted them to think about their behavior themselves.
I drove through Chick-fil-a, ate in the car, and then went to Barnes and Noble where I spent a peaceful two and a half hours sipping Hot Cinnamon and Spice Tea (I want Harney & Sons to sponsor me; I could live on that tea), reading, writing, and answering emails.
By the time I left, the stress had melted away.
What did I find at home? The kids had cleaned the house; my oldest daughter—a Gussy wannabe—had sewn me a wristlet (she knows I want one); and even my husband had hung pictures and checked some things off of my honey-do list. Three of the kids were in bed, but the other three apologized and were very sweet.
Tonight the kids started to argue and fight when we went to buy the turkey and do our Thanksgiving shop, so I loaded them right back in the car—yes, they were surprised—and went straight home. After supper I made the shopping trip alone.
I think they’re starting to get the picture.
No family is perfect—mine certainly isn’t. The important thing is to realize when there’s a problem and deal with it. Parenthood is all about doing hard things. Not only realizing that you need a break but actually taking one can be one of the hardest. Honestly, it felt like giving up.
Thankfully, no one seemed to feel that running off their mother for a few hours was any form of victory. Apparently it was a sobering experience, although that wasn’t my intention (which didn’t extend beyond the need to just get out for a bit).
Ann’s right. For the writer, there’s healing in the writing of the words.