The fleas have upped the ante on the already sky-high stress level around here. Things have just been hard. Nothing big has gone down, thank God, but the little things just keep wearing us down like sandpaper. I watch the money leak out of our accounts despite our recent bare bones budget formation. The girls have both been picking up on the tension and for that and other reasons we’re seeing a rash of really difficult behavior, especially from Little Miss. Husband and I are trying to approach life together as a team again, but the work we are doing together and individually heightens everything.
I’m trying to keep a level head about it all. I’m trying to ask questions and keep lines open between God and I. I keep asking “What is going on here?”
The fleas, I have found as good fodder for reflection: How do they mirror the idea of being attacked? Of darkness trying to squeeze out the light? (I know–heady terms for a flea infestation, but I’m trying to take it to a metaphorical level and learn).
The forced cleanliness of the house has proven to be a lot of work for both Husband and I, but has also bolstered Husband’s spirits. That’s a good thing.
And I find as an overarching theme in my heart, that though I’m stressed, and tired, and angry, and frustrated, and at times feel utterly helpless with the fleas+money+family stress scenario that I have this one underlying feeling when it comes to the work of ‘defleaification.’
It’s something Husband and I are doing TOGETHER. It’s a progress that we’re taking on TOGETHER. We’re both needed and essential. He is HERE. It is not just MINE to deal with. I have HELP. And as awful as it is to do 100 loads of laundry a day and vacuum and vacuum and vacuum and clean and clean and clean, something feels so good about doing it TOGETHER.
The fleas gave me the opportunity to flex my developing muscles of not overcommitting myself. Not insisting on doing everything. Not thinking I am the answer to every problem and that there is no wiggle room to my commitments. Today was supposed to be my ‘helper’ day at Little Miss’s preschool. I bought the brownies to make last night. I thought over scenarios to get everything done this morning and to still be gone for those 4 hours. And at 8 p.m. last night I cried uncle, and called another parent to trade days. I am learning to put my sanity first. This is good.
And best of all, despite the fleas and the stress and the knot of tension that has been lodged in my belly with ropes pulling against my shoulders… Despite that suffocating feeling that I could just give in to, on the way home from dropping Little Miss off at school, I was called by the sea (or the maker of it) to draw close to the water’s edge and breathe. And so despite the list of things I wanted to get done this morning, I took the turn to the beach instead of the turn to our house. And I sat–just for ten minutes–and watched the crashing of the waves. They were incredible today. Filled with fury and as much tension and intensity as the stress of things right now. But they unwound me. For a brief time this morning I made just breathing my priority. It was a very good choice.