Where will you be when you wake up? Have you ever had a dream that felt more like a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, just running to keep up and never ever feeling like you can get ahead? That has been my life for the last three and a half years. Someone put it best when they compared it to running a sprint, but a marathon of sprints. There's never any rest, and as soon as you put out one fire, another one is popping up. It's exhausting. At some point, you begin to wonder if you'll ever get off or how this all ends.
I am preparing to tell you a story; a long story, one we can't possibly cover in one blog post. The past few months of my life have by far, been the hardest. On December 10, 2016, my mom went to be with Jesus. Christmas came and went and most people, including my own four children, didn't feel the huge hole in their heart that I did. We rang in the new year, 2017, with cupcakes, party hats and noisemakers and we prayed for a good year, one that would bring our family peace and resolution. Just the past week, the kids celebrated their third birthday (I still have a birthday update post coming), and yesterday, I achieved getting one year closer to the big four-oh.
As most of us do when we start to near middle-age (geez, who ever thinks of themselves as middle-aged), I've started to step away and look at where I am in my life. How many more struggles must I endure before I enter a period of peace and calm?
When we found out I was having quadruplets, once we moved past the initial shock and panic, I grew ecstatic. From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of nothing more than being a Mommy and having a family of my own. I wanted a husband and babies and lots of animals and a big, pretty house with a kitchen where I'd cook and serve my family amazing meals (hey - it's my dream, don't tell me I can't cook). My kids are the culmination of that dream. I'll admit, I never dreamed I'd have four at once, but after battling infertility and one failed marriage because I wanted nothing more than a family, when my dream came true, my heart was full of excitement. My Mom talked to me over and over again about how excited she was that I would finally have my real-life baby "dials" (I had some trouble saying "doll" as a little girl). Those four have truly brought so much happiness to my life and I am forever grateful for the prayers that got them here and got them here safe.
What I didn't know is the trade off that I was taking by seeing my dream come true. Even though I'd always secretly kind of hoped to be able to stay at home at least for a few years with my children, I didn't know that I'd end up having no choice but to quit my career and my job that I loved to serve as a full-time, around the clock nurse, nanny, cook, and mommy. When I was told how little moms sleep, I had no idea that it would mean that for close to three years, I'd get by on just 2.5-4 hours of sleep a night on average (not due to their lack of sleep, but due to having to find time to fit my life in somewhere). I didn't know that most of my friendships would start to exist solely online and via text messages. I had no idea that I'd eventually go almost an entire year without even once having an actual date or night away from home without my children. I didn't know the struggles that my marriage would face. Nor did I ever expect that I'd soon lose my Mom. I never expected to have to make some of the toughest decisions in my life under some of the most intense pressure imaginable. Knee-jerk reaction, after knee-jerk reaction has been what's sustained my family for the last few years. And I'm tired.
I have a story to tell. It's not pretty. It's not the kind of story that gets circulated in viral Facebook and YouTube videos. It's not the kind of story that gets GoFundMe pages dedicated to saving a family and it's not the kind of story that gets you on Ellen for a trip to Hawaii. It's the kind of story that gets hidden deep away so nobody will know the real struggles one faces. It's the kind of story that a Christian woman goes to great lengths to hide out of fear of stigmatization due to the very real truths that she keeps inside.It's the kind of story people whisper about but nobody wants to tackle and face head on because someone might judge them. It is the kind of story that you never think you will become a part of. It's the kind of story that you just don't understand, until you're living it.
In the coming months, I plan to open up. I plan to slowly peel away layers of this facade I've built around myself and my family in order to protect us. The truth is, I'm not really sure what I'm protecting us from. Our world has become so full of chaos, anger, and fighting, that it seems like there can't possibly be much more I would even want to try to protect myself, my husband and my children from. It is said that the truth shall set you free. Well, after three years of feeling like I'm living tied to a rope that's slowly hanging me, I'm ready to be free. I hope you'll stick around to hear it but I'll understand if you don't. We don't like messy. As a culture, we've learned to run from messy. And that's okay too. Messy may not be for you. But somewhere out there, there's a woman just like me, fighting a similar fight who needs to hear she's not alone. And to that woman, sharing my story will have been worth it. Also, if you are that woman, I love you. Don't forget that.