January 2011 was a strange month for us. We returned from a week and a half of Christmas-time travel and settled back into life – but definitely at a more hectic than usual pace. Matt has 4 shows up around the country right now, and he needed to frame and ship 2 groups of works soon after we returned. Another 2 pieces had to go to St. Louis around the middle of the month, so those also needed to be framed. And the beginning of February would see the opening of his biggest solo show yet, so he needed to finish up a few works and finalize all of the framing and packing in preparation for driving them out to the east coast. Add to that an elders + candidates retreat in the middle of the month (during which Miranda and I did our first solo traveling, going to St. Louis to spend the weekend with some of our good friends from Chicago, who were in town for their son’s volleyball tournament), Matt’s spring semester starting, and ever-increasing needs for child-proofing our house, and you’re beginning to get a sense of our month. It was intense – and insanely expensive – to say the least.
February began with a historic snowstorm, closing I-70 and making it virtually impossible even to leave the house – on the same day Matt was planning to start his trek east in a moving truck with all of his paintings, drawings, and prints for his show at Gordon College, just outside of Boston. Fortunately he was able to get on the road the next day, and after 2 incredibly long days of driving, he arrived at his destination with all works largely intact and so enjoyed the show and the rest of his experience out east. I had a friend here to stay with me for 2 nights and then my mom here for the rest of the time Matt was gone, which was such a huge blessing. And of course that also meant that my mom was able to be here with us to watch the Packers pull off a great win in last night’s Superbowl – so awesome. All in all, it was a pretty good weekend 🙂
I’m not really in the slightest bit interested in having a blog in which I simply name our daily (or monthly) activities, so I’ll leave my lists at that. However, I have been somewhat reflective over these past few days and weeks, and many of my thoughts are directly related to all of those experiences. I have yet to do any systematic reflection related to the fact that we’ve begun a new year, but I have at least collected a few random thoughts 🙂
For one thing, I am extremely grateful for my job. I do sometimes (often) yearn for even just an hour of totally free time – the chance to spend one of Miranda’s naptimes reading a book with no interruptions instead of working. My job – and the amazing flexibility my company gives me – is such a huge blessing for us, though. During these months when our budget is completely sunk, I have the opportunity to work a few extra hours and try to help us recover from the hole we’re in – and even during the good months, I can help us move toward paying down that college debt more quickly. And honestly, it’s also nice to have one area of my life in which there are actual, concrete things that I accomplish. So many of the tasks I spend my days doing – laundry, dishes, cooking – are so cyclical. I do them one day only to return to find them needing to be done again the next. With work, I accomplish something, check it off my to do list, and it’s done – and that feels good.
One of the biggest realizations I’ve had over this last week is that I miss being able to be more directly involved in Matt’s life and passions. He was so excited about his show and his whole experience at Gordon College – and I wasn’t able to be there with him. I ordered his plane ticket for his trip home, packed his suitcase, helped him plan traveling logistics, made sure he was well stocked with snacks and an emergency stash of gloves and scarves and blankets for his drive, and prayed for him, but in the end, he was there, and I was here, over 1,000 miles away, and that was really hard for me. I want to be part of his life, part of his calling, part of his passions, part of his adventure. I got glimpses of what his experiences this past weekend were through what he reported to me and the pictures he showed me, but I wasn’t able to be there alongside him, experiencing it with him, and I am sad about that. I miss that togetherness aspect of our life and ministry and mission that we’ve been able to have more at other times.
It can be hard, this dance of being both a wife and mom (and of course fulfilling many other roles, too, but I’m thoughtful about those two in particular). My marriage comes first, but my child relies on me throughout the day (and night) for food, sleep, safety, teaching, and comfort in a way that Matt obviously doesn’t. I’m definitely still working out how to love both Matt and Miranda well, and I’m sure that will continue to be a process for me for years to come.
I do love being a mom. This is what I feel called to. My little Miranda Grace is so incredibly precious to me, and I’m looking forward to someday hopefully adding more children to our family. I’m sure I’ll have more to share on that topic another time, too 🙂 For now, though, I think I’ll leave you with a picture of my sweet little girl and sign off. Another consequence of the crazy January and February? I am so, so tired. Goodnight.