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I’m really just trying to stay alive.

Through writing.  It’s this one little piece of me that’s free and available and makes me come alive and–

“Mom! This one is a diesel engine and this one is a STEAM engine! See? Mom? Mom?”

So I try to keep writing and thinking and exercising the one muscle that matters most to me for my entire life, my brain, and–

“Mom! Mom!  Isaac took that train and I have this one and he was mad but he said it’s ok because he decided to SHARE! Isn’t that cool? Mom? Mom?”

So, writing is how I try to hold on to me and not be completely consumed by motherhood.  I owe emails to at least two friends right now, and they are friends I really love and value and want to keep in touch with so–

“Mama I need dis. I need dis! I need dis! Can you get it fo me, Peeeeaaase!”

“Mom, can you pull up those things on the window?? I want to practice my bow and arrow.”

“Dat’s mah bankie, Mommy, dat’s MAH bankie!”  two year old pulling fleece blanket off my shoulders. “I need dat thing. It’s MINE.”

A long string of snot is running down Isaac’s nose like a slug, so- “Ben! Go get a tissue, quick. No, not toilet paper, there’s a blue box of Kleenex on the counter. Quick, before Isaac wipes it with his fingers.”

Where was I?  Email.   Oh no, Susanna spit up on the floor. I better clean that before I forget.  No, that’s right, I was going to email and I promised my friend I’d get to it today. Ok, I’ll put my empty coffee cup over the spot so I don’t forget where it was.

“Mommy watch my tain go. Mommy?  Mommy?  You watch my tain go, see? SEE MOMMY?”

Denuded of the blanket, sipping the last dreg of cold coffee, I survey the enormous octopus-like pile of clean laundry piled on the loveseat, sporting sock arms like tentacles in every direction. Do I have time to email?  Yes. Yes, I said that I would.

I pull up my email inbox.  A recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Muffins from a food blogger is waiting.  Mmmm… muffins. Did I eat breakfast?  The kids had scrambled eggs, but there wasn’t enough for me. Let’s see, I had coffee and water, I took my Zyrtec allergy meds… Did I actually eat anything?  Maybe I could make this recipe today.  Let’s see… nope. Too many ingredients, too many steps.  Someday  I’ll get back to baking those kind of recipes.  Speaking of recipes, I never did make my meal plan for this week.

No, email, EMAIL.  Isaac enters the room with an offensive smelling diaper and another slug of snot and I close the computer. Check the coffee pot. Empty.

Because sometimes mothering just feels like smothering. It would be all too easy to let the precious ones in my life snuff me out completely, until my identity is all Mommy.  Two-year-old Isaac recently learned my name was Ashley.  He puzzled over it, practiced the name several times, like it was a foreign language, then just decided to call me Mommy Haupt instead.

Friends remind me who I am; they pull me from all the chores and duties and responsibilities and remind me to dream, think, share, reflect.

I remember the email I promised.  But I’m still hungry.  I get hungry people something to eat, even if that hungry person is me.

Discarding the last thought of those muffins, I go to the kitchen and find a Tupperware container of cold brown rice in the fridge. I toss in a spoonful of sugar and sprinkle some cinnamon liberally over the brown grains. Microwave for 25 seconds.  I grind some beans and make a fresh pot of coffee.  Return to the computer with my rice and a hot cup.

I won’t disappear into the role. I love the role, I love my life, I love my kids, but I also love myself, the one God created me to be.  And my kids don’t need just a mommy, they need a person who loves herself AND them. Someone who knows how to dream big, believe bigger, and love to the moon and back.  I take a bite of rice, and it tastes like memories.  My mom used to make me this rice for breakfast when I was the child, the one cared for and cooked for and cherished.

I’m still cherished.  I just need reminding. Because sometimes, before I can find the desire to be like the Beloved, who is Christ, I have to BE the beloved. I turn on cartoons for the now-clean, snot-free, blanket wrapped Isaac.

And open my email with a smile.

This post is a part of a series called 12 Days of Spring and the Spirit. Visit here to read more.