She’s imperfect but she tries
She is good but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

(Sara Bareilles)

It’s a single-mama household for the next couple of days. All the balls are up in the air. we just are taking the days as they come and seek out the even rhythm of a completed tasks and small victories in the busy-ness of our week. Every year, I tell myself and my people, “it’ll be a quiet year – things will slow down and we’ll be able to just enjoy life.” I know … I shouldn’t be so naive. I swear, next year I will not claim it as a quiet year, I’ll go into it with my eyes open, knowing that the easy quiet life that I continue to think I want is not likely to happen.

I signed up for too much this semester. I took on a lot that, in all honesty, I don’t think I could have refused or declined, but I should have been more prepared for the wear and tear. My brain is tired. I’m stretched thin and I’m not giving my family the time or effort that I have had the luxury to invest these past couple of year. The sum of these pieces is me feeling insufficient and floundering through my days and our weeks. One morning last week as I walked out the door, knowing that I wasn’t going to get to campus as early as I had hoped, I snapped at our boy to put his breakfast bowl away as “I am not your maid!” I hate that those words came out of my mouth. As I drove over the Pali, I took some mindful breathing time (and a few big swigs of my coffee) and got to the point where I knew that what I said was rude and unnecessary, but the place where it came from needed to be recognized.

Accepting help is hard for me. Asking for help is near impossible. Especially from the people closest to me. Stupid, isn’t it? It should be easy-peasy for me to say to my wife, “babe – I’m bitchy. Can you help with dinner? Make the rice or figure out what the hell we’re going to eat.” But, NOOOOO. Not me, I just shoo her out of the kitchen and try to figure it all myself. and in the meantime, my tummy knots up and the stuff that I have to do, but don’t want to do swirls in the back of my mind. By the time dinner is actually on the table, resentment is seeping out of my pores. But I see those ridiculous walls and illusions of help-aversions eroding. My wife is persistent and as stubborn as I am. She has no problem telling me to go away. When she notices that I’m getting worked up, she steps in and moves me out of my, “I got it handled, thank you very much” mood. I’m getting better at asking. I celebrate those manini steps – getting out of the way when she cleans up the kitchen after dinner, asking her to make rice and get stuff for me from the fridge.

I don’t give myself much room or opportunity for continued evolution. I expect that I am the way I am and my shortcomings will forever be my flaws. Horseshit! Being 41 doesn’t freeze me in time. Manini steps are still steps. That’s worth a chee-hooo and my do-you wiggle dance (embarrassing as it is for my loves). I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. Maybe one day I’ll get there … but if not, I’m sure as hell going to get close.


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