Easter was weird. I’ll just start with that. We started off normal, feeling positive and excited. Little easter baskets left out for the kids, fresh clothes to wear to church. (I’ll round up all the info on the patterns/fabric at the bottom of the post)
Hawthorne couldn’t stop taking over the world with his cuteness in this lion shirt.
Clover was fluttery and sweet in her rayon challis sundress
Violet was in octopi. So her.
Daddy held the kids prisoner while I hid a bunch of eggs in the grass outside. They were unleashed like running bulls and swarmed all the little bursts of color peeking out from their hiding places.
The whole time though, my mind was kind of adrift in worry. That morning while I was getting Hawthorne dressed for church, I realized that the “scab” that had been on his thigh for however many days was actually a deer tick. Having heard enough times about how prevalent the Lyme problem is in our area, I felt a sudden crushing worry.
Monday morning came eventually, after a night of me doing the anxious mom thing. I made an appointment for him to see a doctor. He’s asymptomatic and seems totally unbothered by everything aside from the three time a day torture of taking his 3 weeks of antibiotics. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to give prescription medication to any of my kids. I’m not a pro by any means.
Tons of people were praying for my baby boy on Easter and the days following. It really filled my heart up whenever I heard that somebody was looking out for him. I was praying hard too. There’s a sad symmetry to my heart being utterly thrown at God on Easter sunday. You can try to carry the weight of life in a broken world with a family you love like crazy and want to protect with all your ferocity. But I hit the end of my strength on Easter Sunday, and was propelled into rapid and repeated and earnest prayer.
I think I was prime for a meltdown anyway, and the thought that my precious, soft, affectionate and charismatic little boy might have been infected with something that would make his life miserable……it was just too much for me to contain. It wasn’t just that either.
Fully feeling the weight of uncertainty and helplessness – where you really KNOW that there are things you just won’t be able to protect your kids from. Things that might happen to them, or to you, keeping you from being able to care for them.
If you know us at all, you’ll know that we specialize in running wild and free in nature. I take the kids to beautiful places to explore and come into contact with creation, to fill their lungs with fresh air, and to feel wind and sun on their skin. And to my utter dismay, I suddenly and violently feared going outside with my kids. One tiny bug that you can barely see, and it could be everywhere. Waiting to grab on and strike any of us down.
I’ve always been prone to bouts of anxiety. The kind that sets your heart racing and keeps you awake for hours, drawing you into a smaller and smaller place till you can’t see anything but the big scary. And not just that scary, but all the scaries. Once I opened myself up to the idea that I was basically helpless to the winds of misfortune and pain, I saw all sorts of scenarios and felt tortured by them.
Do you know what I usually do when I feel the weight of the world crashing in on me? I usually pack the kids up and go someplace beautiful and peaceful. Out into the forest or fields. The place Hawthorne is standing up in that picture is one of the very places I’ve taken us to so that I can try to shake off some of the weight and get my joy back.
The difference between that time and this is that during this trip, I was scared of it. Every tuft of grass and tree and bush made my heart start to pound through my chest. It felt like a Shakespearean twist of events, in which the very thing which breathed life into our days was elegantly switched with something that repulsed me.
It probably sounds ridiculous on paper, but to me the terror was/is very real. For whatever reason, this is a Lyme hot spot where we live. I’d gone through life pretty blissfully ignorant of how small ticks were, or how common here. So my underreaction because an overreaction. And a week of emotional yuck of an unprecedented kind for me followed. Despair. It’s the only word I can think of. My world was inside out.
Still, knowing that keeping the kids locked inside forever was clearly not an option, I forced myself to shove it down and take them out.
Things got worse before they got better. I spent a lot of time crying and having panic attacks, and staring at all my kids with the loving and creepy gaze of a parent who is feeling way too sentimental towards them. And I prayed. A lot.
It’s getting better. I’m doing my best. Trying to balance a healthy caution for the real risk that’s out there, and not let disabling phobia get the best of me. I’m not sure where the line is between living without fear for your family, and living recklessly. I’m now a person who seems to be ok with her kids running off and climbing on rocks/sitting on cannons, but fears the local bug problem.
I don’t want my kids to be fearful of nature. Cautious yes, just like you have to be cautious with the power of the ocean or the unpredictability of a wild animal.
I think the only reason I’m sharing all of this is in case it helps someone else out there feel a little more normal. If you’re struggling with anxiety, or the weight of parenthood on your shoulders, you aren’t alone. Life is hard. Even when you don’t have a hard life. I don’t. My life is awesome, and we life with comfort and ease most of the time. And yet I still have the capacity to feel crushed.
Parenthood is just what they say. Your heart living outside of you. It’s a joy and a misery.
I’m extra soaking up all the sweet times snuggled up with my family these days. Hawthorne loves reading this little Airplane book I put in his Easter basket.
I’ll close with the total radness of Violet owning the opportunity to play this huge bass at a musical instrument “petting zoo”. She’s so bold and fearless, charging into life with such abandon and enthusiasm. Sometimes that results in big wipeouts and injuries. Quite a bit, actually. But she lives hard and feels hard. I’m hungry for some of her abandon.
Dresses: Zephyr sundress by Figgy’s
Dresses: Blue cotton and steel rayon challis, cotton and steel octopus voile, and solids all from Finch sewing studio