The need seems obliquely insatiable, and I don’t know what’s missing, really, only that I can’t focus and things seem fuzzy and without detail—lumps of matter that block the way of making sense of it all. I guess I write to sort the thoughts and anxieties and worries out, and the single sentences (but mostly adjective-ridden fragments) nightly in my journal just aren’t cutting it.
Tonight seems one for the books. But that’s how all nights are these days. I remember a few short years ago when people would say, “Just wait.” And I get it now—I get how the kids are so busy you can’t handle it and you long for the exhaustive physical labor of little ones, whom you bathe and tuck in at sensible times, whose pains are cured by kisses and Band-Aids and the latest hardback from the kids shelf at the library.
I told my sister that seventh grade was easier the first time around, and that the second time around, especially when it’s not you but your baby girl, is awful. I told her too, how I took my 10-year-old to school late because he was sobbing and couldn’t control his emotions—because he still “misses” me. I told her how I hold back tears, I swallow lumps, I try and stay brave, but how at night there is no control and I cry myself to sleep.
Then I tell them, the kids, how heartache is real how the atonement covers these tears too, how the Stripling Warriors emerged from battle severally wounded. I tell them, over and over, “We can do hard things.” I tell them mostly to remind myself.
And we pray a lot.
I went to the store alone a couple of days ago, all my children caged in classrooms covered in Starry Night renditions and flanked with cursive alphabets, giant calendars. While they studied rocks and Indians and Spanish, I took the aisles at leisure and contemplated the man around me, somewhere, who yelled into the warehouse abyss. A man I couldn’t see; just hear. He was nonsensical, loud. Something was different about him and when I saw him, his doe-eyes and mop of black hair proved he was but a kid in a man’s body, and I felt tenderness at the way his winter jacket was only half-way zipped, and slipped off his sloped shoulders. I knew without need to even recognize the emotion: his needs were known on high—his presence down here of utmost importance, his mission certain, divine, just for him.
And I knew that it was the same for my kids.
I’m just here to love them.
And so tonight I take comfort in that thought: God knew I could do this.
Only maybe I need to write it down to remember that, and more: to make it matter, to make it make sense.