This last month we got all stretched out. We got out of our regular routines and now our family feels all wonky and disjointed. This last month we hosted 3 missions teams… at.the.same.time. After the “promise me we’ll never do this again” tears and the nagging lessons in how to say “NO” there came a point where I just had to hold my nose and dive under the flow of work to be done. I have surfaced now. The teams have gone. I have my husband back now… sort of. And life can get back to normal… after we pull it all together again.
Josh was gone from the family life for 24 days. For over 3 weeks he would come home after I was asleep and collapse into bed and then roll out again when the alarm sounded before the sun rose. I held the family life together. I drove the kids to school, went to work myself, picked the kids up from school, went to gymnastics and soccer and guitar lessons and youth group, made breakfast-lunch- and dinner (usually) and helped with homework. I also grocery shopped for the teams, made at least one meal a week at our house for 30 people, chauffeured the team around a bit, and made sure the teams had all the supplies they needed in the right places at the right time. (Oh and I forgot to mention, during one of those weeks I was so sick that the doctor thought I had dengue fever. Turns out it was just a virus, but it took 8 days to run its course!) Let’s just say, these last 24 days have reaffirmed my deep respect for single moms.
So now we have Josh back. I am always dismayed that we have to adjust to being a family again. Everyone comes back together and the irritations begin. We have held our awkward position for too long, and now the frozen joints creak and the over extended muscles burn when they are forced back into their natural position. The kids are naughty, they need attention. They are pushing buttons and pushing boundaries. I’m trying to muster up some patience and understanding, but my tank is empty. I’m trying hard not to treat Josh like another child, trying not to order him around with chores and routines that have been left undone for far too long. He’s tired. His tolerance for the kids is too thin. His fuse is short. Mentally he hasn’t really quit working yet, hasn’t reengaged with the family yet.
The adrenaline that has carried us for the last few weeks has left us in a spent heap. We crash. It feels like “post event depression” but it’s just exhaustion. Loose ends must be tied up, receipts tracked on spread sheets and money accounted for. Personal evaluations are processing in each of our minds. How did this go? What will we do differently next time? How did we survive that?
The Cirque du Soleil contortions are over and the wet noodle exhaustion leaves us staring vacantly at the television that we haven’t touched in 24 days. Is this a rerun of American Idol? Who cares. It’s going to take some work to get us pulled back into shape again. It’s going to take a few weeks to get through all the episodes of House Hunters International that I have on the DVR now. It’s going to be nice to be just us for a few days… then we do it all over again when the next team arrives.