“On the last day of a golden summer…”
I remember with a smile those words, which began a Winnie the Pooh video (on VHS) that I used to watch as a child.
As a youngster, the end of summer was an emotionally intense time for me – fraught with both melancholy and nervous excitement. Though summer was over, the fall would bring new experiences, responsibilities, and opportunities.
To process these feelings, I would slip away by myself. I grew up in a house at the end of a long country road, which diminished to a set of tracks beyond our driveway turn-off. The only ones who ever ventured down those tracks were the farmers who owned the land where they ended, the odd vehicle that had lost its way (or was up to no good), and myself. If I were lucky, the farmer had made a few hay bales and left them laying around. They were challenging to climb, and a conquest to sit on. From the top, I could see across the fields. The pasture had a few small rolling hills, which were odd and beautiful to my prairie-accustomed eyes.
There, atop the bales, beyond my parents’ property line, I felt independent and free. Free to think, write, or imagine anything I wanted. I loved the solitude.
Now, at the end of my 35th summer, I wish I could go back there. Just for an hour or two. I miss being able to retreat to a solitary place whenever I want or need to. As a mom of rambunctious boys, it can be hard to deal with my introverted nature. The inescapable, dawn-to-dusk clamour of children, as wonderful as it is, has the potential of driving me to madness.
Today I have mostly sat, drunk coffee, watched my children play, broken up fights, prepared their meals, and fetched things for them. Somewhere in between, I put in a load of dishes and helped to pick up toys in the basement. I read a chapter of the Bible, broken up into several sections of about 5 verses each (because of constant interruptions), and journalled a short prayer. I have not been industrious in any way. I’ve done the minimum.
It sounds like I’m being lazy. But in my mind, I’m just trying to stay sane. Sometimes when I have work projects on the go, I need to stop every 2-5 minutes to tend to something with the children. Hours or days of this will leave me feeling frazzled, at the very least.
So every once in a while, when I feel that I’m starting to get batty, I allow myself a day of only just getting by. I complete the necessary duties, and let the others fall by the wayside. In between the children’s events, I attempt to settle my mind, and process my emotions. I know that at any moment, my stillness could be disturbed – and that needs to be ok. However, each interruption will delay my ability to switch back into “work mode.” (I suppose this is why it usually takes an entire day.)
As an adolescent, a friend once told me that I “think a lot.” I tried to explain by likening the process to cleaning out our desk drawers at school. After sorting them through, organizing them, and throwing out the junk, we are able to work more efficiently.
And that’s what I’ve been doing today. Writing this post, actually, is a part of it. As I complete these paragraphs, I experience a sense of relief.
Can anyone relate? Are there other severely introverted moms out there? How do you cope?
I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below.