Moving update…if you are curious

So let’s see. What has been going on around here? Ummm Packing, cleaning, packing and…wait for it… more packing!!! I have boxed and bagged more things in the last few days than I have since October. My goal is to have only the ABSOLUTE necessities out and everything else ready for the two massive Uhauls that will fill our driveway on Saturday. I had the kids each select 10 days worth of clothes and the rest of their things have been packed (or almost packed). I have everything in the bathroom packed except for towels and toothbrushes and one tiny basket with soap and shampoo/conditioner. I have the kitchen almost completely packed as well. I may have gone a teensy bit overboard in there. I even packed the silverware and only kept out one fork and spoon per person. Not ideal when the breakfast dishes are still unwashed in the dishwasher. Oh well. I guess that the point is that it is coming. Moving day is right around the proverbial corner.

It is weird because we have literally known that we would be moving for 7 months. I have had 7 months to prepare my house and my brain for this move and yet, I am totally, undeniably unprepared for what will take place over the next week and a half. I guess that sounds about right. I am nothing if not the world’s most talented procrastinator. I am actually procrastinating as we speak. Instead of packing up my own closet right now, here I sit. Coffee and laptop in hand, decidedly not packing up my closet. But I figured that I would clear the clutter from my mind and then work on clearing the clutter from my closet.

Ok, so here is the latest. I have spoken with the principals at both the Catholic elementary and jr high schools. They were extremely kind and both of them invited me to bring the kids in to visit the schools once we are situated. I am hoping that will help to put them (and me) at ease. I know that the whole moving thing is going to be difficult for them, but hopefully this will help. Isaac is my biggest worry right now. He is really struggling with leaving his friends. I have to say that I know just how he feels. His group of friends is a really smart, funny, nice group of boys. They are just really, really good kids. And I like their parents. That says a lot. I also know that it is probably the “best” time for a move, given that he would be moving up to the high school anyway. But it still sucks. As for the girls, they both make friends pretty easily, so I am hoping that they will adjust smoothly. Gia is pumped to wear uniforms. ( Funny, right?!?) And has informed me that she can “totally rock a knee sock.” So there’s that. lol Hannah goes back and forth between being excited to move and cursing us for ruining her life forever. But honestly, that would probably be happening anyway, even if we weren’t moving. Stupid hormones… The little boys are pretty easygoing and I think that they will adjust pretty quickly. So many of their things have been packed away for so long that unpacking will be a little bit like Christmas. I made a major mistake by packing up some toys in front of Jonathan. He had a little bit of a meltdown until he realized that I was packing his things to take with us, not to give away.

And then there are my three older kids. My biggest concern is that they feel like the new house is home to them. That is why I think that it is really important that we all move together. I know that Jake was disappointed and was hoping to basically stay here for the summer with grandparents so that he could work here and hang out with his friends and girlfriend for the summer. I know that we were not super popular when we squashed that idea. But I truly think that it is the best thing for our family as a whole to go into this together. Jake will be commuting to Point Park in the fall and Coley will commute to Franciscan (duh). DJ will be the only one leaving to live at school. But he is working at the conferences this summer and has the summer to settle in.

My husband will be thrilled to not have a two hour commute each way every single day. Our gasoline budget will shrink considerably with his 5 minute commute. The little car that he drives each day will probably sigh with relief not not have to face driving through Pittsburgh each day. I am looking forward to having a husband who isn’t falling asleep at 8:00 from exhaustion. It will be nice to have him around for an extra 3 hours and 50 minutes every day.

I will miss being 20 minutes from my family. I will miss my amazingly awesome friends. I will miss our loving church family. I will miss living in my little country home and sending my kids to there little country school. I will miss a lot of things. But I am also looking forward to this new adventure. I am looking forward to settling in to our new home. I am looking forward to having more than 1 and a half bathrooms. I am looking forward to having a little bit of space in our home. I am looking forward to see what God has in store for us.

When we started out on this crazy journey, we put our future in God’s hands and it is exciting to see what he has planned for us. That is why, even though I absolutely hate change, I am 100% on board. We believe without a doubt that this is God’s will for our family. It might not be easy, in fact I can promise you that it hasn’t been easy. But in the end it will all be worth it.

Now that I have decluttered my brain and I have refocused my efforts, I guess that it is time to jump back in to my packing. Those boxes aren’t going to fill themselves. (if only…)

Please pray for a speedy sale of our home. That is the last piece of this puzzle.

Cupcakes=house and I am a brat

“The Lord is faithful in all His words and gracious in all of His deeds. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.”
I read this today and my first thought was, “Seriously?!? Is this what you want me to hear God, because while the (very tiny) logical, brain part of me, knows that it is true, the rest of me, the stubborn, sad, worn out, human part of me, thinks that it sure doesn’t feel like it.”
The human, super-whiny part of me is feeling rather toddler-ish at the moment. I want to stomp my feet and throw myself to the ground kicking and screaming at God. I want to shout out, “Faithful?!? How is it faithful when we trusted You? You get Brian this job that is 2 freaking hours away. He is ALWAYS in the car. He is exhausted and can hardly keep his eyes open past 8:30. Don’t get me wrong, he absolutely loves his job. He is so committed to the mission of the University, that it makes it all worthwhile for him. But worthwhile or not, it is taxing on him. It has taken it’s toll on all of us. So sorry if I am not doing back flips of joy and gratitude right now. Sorry God, but I can’t find it in me to praise you at the moment.”  Ok, so there is that honesty again. The really dirty, embarrassing, I can’t believe that I actually said that out loud, kind of honesty. The dark weight of this stupid depression is making me very mouthy at the moment. 
While I am being so super honest, I must also admit that I lack, in a very huge way, patience. So the bratty, toddler-ish part of me that would like to throw a huge tantrum, is unwilling to give God half a second to allow things to fall into place. I am acting like a child. Holy crap, I am acting just like one of MY children. Now I see where they get it from. In fact just today, Jonathan wanted to eat a cupcake for breakfast. I told him that he would have to wait until after lunch and he could have it as a treat then. He threw a fit. Actually his exact words were, “You don’t even care about me! You won’t even let me have a cupcake! I really want a cupcake! ” The (borderline) responsible parent in me calmly replied that it was not time for a cupcake yet. He could have a cupcake when it was the right time, for example after  lunch. It didn’t mean that he couldn’t ever have a cupcake, just not right then.
So, to recap, I am mad and raging at God because He isn’t making this whole moving thing happen the way that I want it to, in the time frame that I want, just because I say. My four year old, on the other hand is mad at me because I won’t give him a cupcake when he wants it, the way that he wants it just because he said….hmmmm….I am starting to see the family resemblance. 
While I know that my reasons for making Jonathan wait until after lunch for his treat are totally right and in his best interest, he doesn’t see it that way. He thinks that I am just being mean. I can see beyond this moment in a way that he can’t because he is a child. As his parent, I will allow him to throw his little fit and move along. I just let it go, knowing that as he grows, he will learn to trust me more and realize that I make these decisions in his best interest. Not because, I don’t care about him, but because I do. I also realize that he just can’t see it right now. He is too immature to understand why eating a cupcake for breakfast isn’t the best idea. So because I love him, I will forgive him for his little outburst. He will still get the cupcake, but he will need to practice a little bit of patience first. When he finally takes that first yummy bite, he will realize that it was worth the wait. 
Sooooo, I guess that I need to get a grip and instead of yelling at God, I should probably just trust that things will work out in our best interest, because they always do. I just need to practice a little bit of patience and allow God to do His thing. You would think that after all of the things that I have gone through, that I would finally realize that He, my Father, knows what is best for me. He wouldn’t line up this amazing job for Brian and find us a perfectly Hough-sized home exactly where we wanted to be, if He wasn’t going to work out all of the details. I need to stop yelling at God that He “doesn’t even care about me.” I need to just shut up and trust Him, just like I expect my kids to trust me.  
The teeny-tiny logical part of my brain knows this. That part of me is ready to praise Him and be thankful for all of this. There is a lesson to be learned here and I need to calm down and figure it out.  That teen-tiny part is unfortunately a lot quieter than the bratty-toddler side of me. But as every toddler does, it will eventually wear itself out and need a break. I think that I am almost to that point. I am ready for a break. That is when the tiny part of me will finally take charge.  I will then be able to thank God not only for the blessings, but also for the crosses that this move has presented. But until then, I will be content to know that He loves me even when I am kicking and screaming at Him. He will mercifully forgive me and my bratty behavior, because that is what a father does. That is what the Father does. 

I just typed and posted, no editing…

When you are super busy, as in packing a house full of 11 people’s things, trying to keep said house clean to sell it, and trying to be a wife/mother to the people that own the things in said house, it is easy to pretend that it’s not happening again.

I have been feeling it creep in again. It is sneaky and it is a thief. It takes your peace. It takes your joy. It starts out slowly and then all of a sudden you realize that you are sitting in a room full of people, people that you love more than anything, more than yourself and you feel utterly and totally alone. That realization is it’s own kind of sadness. It is a sadness that comes with disappointment.

I have been through  this before. I have felt the overwhelming dark. The dark that just sort of settles over you like a cloud. I felt it before and I managed to climb out from under it. But each time, it gets a little bit harder.

When I finally realized what was going on, I thought back. There have been many signs that the darkness was coming again. It started months ago. I stopped running and then I stopped exercising. I was too busy. There were too many things going on. The house needed to be packed and cleaned and put on the market to be sold. The kids had sports and school functions that they needed to be driven to. There were just so many things going on. There is still so much to be addressed. It can be overwhelming. So of course the first thing that I let slip is the time for myself. I would like to think that it was because I wanted to do what was best for my family. But in the interest of complete honesty, it was really because I was just too tired. Once I let the exercise slide, other things started to be placed aside too. I stopped taking the time to paint my nails and tweeze my eyebrows. I know that sounds silly, but it just signified a lessened value of myself and time for me. I found it harder and harder to focus, to write, to pray. My already limited patience whittled away to being almost nonexistent. I tried to be the mom that I wanted to be, but failed at that as well. The combination of my short temper and my perfectly normal, active and noisy kids has been, well… less than good.

I also noticed an increase in a few things. An increase in computer time, be it Facebook or Pinterest, was one. An increase in the amount of ice cream I was eating. An increase in the amount of wine that I was enjoying. An increase in my waistline. And an increase in my guilt, the crushing guilt that accompanies the darkness.

Why am I not content with my beautiful family and my handsome husband? I should be more than content, I should be thrilled.

Why can’t I be the mom that I want to be? Why can’t I be the patient, kind and loving mom that my kids deserve?

How in my plummeting self worth, have I become so wrapped up in myself and my sadness, that I have allowed everything else slide too?

It is rather ironic that in the attempt to get away from myself and my ever growing list of faults, I have become so self-involved that I can’t get out of bed in the morning? I wake up every morning and I pack my husband’s lunch and make his coffee. And then rather than taking that time of beautiful, sweet peace to focus on a routine prayer time and then allow myself the time to exercise, before starting the day with my loves, I don’t. Instead I crawl back into my bed because the thoughts of starting another day under the weight of the darkness, seem to be too big, too heavy. And that is of course followed by the guilt that I can’t do my job as a mother properly. I am once again, letting my kids down. I am letting my husband down. I am letting myself down….again.

It is also not lost on me the irony that when I need to feel the closeness of God the most, I feel the farthest away from Him. I am so good at posting the uplifting memes on facebook. I lead the Lenten Rosary page on facebook. I preach to my children to read the daily readings and pray the rosary, all the while I am struggling to finish a decade on my own. At church when I pray, I know deep, deep down, that my prayers are heard, but I also struggle to care either way. Wow, how is that for honesty? I know that I want to feel connection again. I want to feel the connection to my husband, to my kids, to God, even to myself. I do I want it, but it seems to be so very far away. I feel so very far away.

That is when the weight of the darkness really feels crushing. That is where I am right now. I am pretty good at putting on a good front, so most people wouldn’t even realize the secret that I hide. But the truth is that it is there. It is always hovering right over me leaving it’s shadow to show in my eyes. But it will be ok. I will be ok. How do I know this you ask. Especially when I am so clearly stuck in the middle of this mess. I know because it has happened before. I have felt the disconnect, the loneliness, the darkness before. And I fought it and I won. I put myself first and focused on my health, each and every aspect of it. I exercised and I started to run. I felt fit and healthy. I loved to feel the strength of my new body. I felt good in my skin. I also focused on my spiritual health. I had a devoted prayer time each and everyday. It was amazing to feel that connection with the Lord. I was really aware of His presence in my everyday life. With these two key things firmly in place and a little bit of medication, I felt a balance that I hadn’t known in a long, long time.

I also have a family and friends that never fail to show me that they care. The support that I need is there. I just have to allow them to show it. That is the hard part. It is really, really hard to admit not only to yourself, but also to those that you love, that you are not ok. You want their help, no, actually you NEED their help.

This is how I know that I will be ok again. I have all of those things. They are all right there waiting for me to just take them. I have made an appointment with my doctor. I have opened up to my husband and a few close people. I have realized that starting to “ugly cry” just because it is raining, well that is not normal. I want to feel balance again. I need to feel balance again.

So there it is everyone. It is my truth. My truth is out there in the big, bad internet for everyone to see. But I think that the truth is what we need. We need to know that behind the smiles, there can be pain hiding. We need to know that in the darkness, we CAN find a light. Sometimes the light comes in the way of having someone to talk to, to vent to, to share a glass of wine with. Sometimes the light comes in the shape of writing and writing and writing until you write it all out. Sometimes it comes from a doctor throwing you a lifeline in the form of a pill. Sometimes it comes in the shape of the outstretched arms on a cross. In my case, it comes in all of these shapes. It comes wherever you can find it. So my friends, if you are fighting this battle as well, look. Look for your light. It is there, I promise. And please know that you are not in this battle alone.