If you hang around this blog for more than a minute, you’re bound to stumble on a post (or 70) about my ongoing struggle with depression. I have remained very transparent about my love-hate relationship with medications because I know that so many of my friends, family and readers have a similar story to tell. Our culture, our physicians, the entire field of psychology, and even the church (!!!) have fully embraced the idea that depression is something that we can—or should—medicate with psychotrophic (mind-altering) drugs.
One of my very best friends (a fellow military spouse) and I had a conversation recently about Christmas and how we want our kids to experience this magical time of year. My friend is a fellow Christian who home schools her 4 kids—all of whom are young enough to believe in Santa Claus.
Before I go any further, I have to let you know that this post is a Santa spoiler alert. So, if you have a habit of curling up by the fire and reading my posts aloud to your children, now would be a good time to forgo that routine. Instead, you might want to read them something a bit less scarring.
Back to my story…
So, I created this letter for my daughter, and now I’m SOBBING. I can’t even see to type. So, let’s just hope this is relatively free of errors.
I’m sobbing because:
1) our baby girl turns 2 today and
2) I was dumb enough to make a video montage to commemorate it.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV)
For everything, a season.
And it seems that our 3-year-old and our almost-2-year-old have joined together to drag us all—kicking and screaming—through the “break down,” “weep,” and “war” seasons of life. Every day feels like a cage match. Every. Single. Day.
I really would love to be one of those people who comes home from a trip, unpacks my suitcase(s) the moment I step foot in the door, throws a load of laundry in the washer before I’ve even taken off my shoes, and then creates a scrapbook or photo album entitled “Summer Family Photo Album” before the memories have faded.
If you know me or have read this blog for more than a week, you know good and well that just isn’t me.
Not even close.
But this past summer was one of the best summers of my life. Maybe the best. Despite the screaming and tantrums, the sleepless nights, the potty training failures, and my miserable attempts at motherhood, I can look back through my thousands of photos from our summer and know that I am blessed far beyond what I expected. And certainly beyond what I have earned. This has been a summer full of grace…in so many ways.
Let’s start here:
I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you guys this, but I have struggled with mild, chronic depression for as long as I can remember.
[Well, crap. That came out of left field. Isn't this supposed to be a humor blog?]
I’ve had lots of different diagnoses—from cyclothymia (mild bipolar disorder) to depression to “that time of the month” (That was once my dad’s formal diagnosis. Once. And then I threatened to kick him in the teeth.). I’ve had lots of suggestions for treatment—from medication to diet to “more exercise” (also from my dear dad).
“She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
(Proverbs 31:26-30, ESV)
When the author of the second part of Proverbs 31 “penned” these words, I can only imagine he must have known a woman like this:
On August 16, 2012, I sat down at the computer in our basement and began to type. I was in the throes of “single” parenthood while Brian was away on military business, and it seems I was starting to feel the pressure:
“I would venture to say that Martha Stewart’s
sentence vacation in a federal prison was more like a Caribbean holiday compared to the trenches of motherhood.”
But then it got worse…
This week is an exciting one for me for several reasons:
1) We’re in Georgia visiting our families.
2) Tomorrow morning, Brian and I will hop on a plane to go to Chicago and leave our kids with my parents…for FIVE days.
3) I forgot what else I was going to say.
More on that later, though…
I want to share one more story with you from our trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan, that we took earlier this month. When we learned that the resort offered childcare, we were so. stinking. excited.