Today my body is all achy. Not sick achy, tired and stiff achy. Like I’ve had a major work out or something. But I haven’t. Therein lies the mystery. I think I need to pop a couple of Advil and call it a done deal.
Chris and I are both looking a little haggard today. I think we’ve been sifling overwhelmedness for the last few days and yesterday it just started oozing out of all our orifices. Otto has kept telling us that we’re amazing for being able to juggle so many things. We don’t like it when people tell us we’re amazing. We don’t feel amazing. We feel like two ordinary people that get up in the morning and drink de-caf and spend time on our computers and make sure people are working and that the baby isn’t choking on her own drool and that eat normal food and go to bed at 9 pm so we can get up and do it all over again the next day. I guess from the outside the fact that we do it in a third world culture might be worth something, but it’s become our norm and feels anything but “amazing” to us. And yesterday we dropped the juggling balls a bit.
Otto has basically taken charge of the project. Chris has become Mr. Support and Keep the Mission Running. I am just here. Being a mom and making food. Chris and I have had the house all to ourselves for the last two years. We’ve had it all to ourselves as a family for the last three months. We had our routine and our spaces blocked out. Normally when visitors come they stay in the dorm, but since said building is the purpose of Otto’s visit it was either set him up in a tent in the yard for three weeks, or give him Liv’s room. We of course chose the later. Initially we were going to just put a bed in there and move her upstairs and go about business as usual during the day. Business as usual has not been usual so after one day we basically moved all of Liv’s “stuff” into other parts of the house. The extra couch that was in one room is now standing up on end in a somewhat corner. Her stuff is set up in place of the couch. Her bed is in our room.
This alone is enough to send me into panic attacks. I like having things in their places. I like it when all my dishes go back to the exact place that I have chosen for them. I like it when things get used the way they are supposed to be used, in the places they are supposed to be used for. Having a diaper changing station where a couch once was and the couch on end where the dog food and guitars live blocking access to the book shelf is enough to make me want to cry. But I didn’t. I just sucked it up and told myself that it’s only for a little while. Breathe in, breathe out.
Chris and I are always acutely aware of how having visitors here can affect us. Generally it means that the routine we’ve established with our lives and our work gets shaken up and moved around. We try to be flexible and adjust, whether it’s a training class or Vision Trip or just family visiting. It gets tiring though. Our house has one bedroom with walls and a door. That just happens to be the room we’ve put Liv in so that we can have the big loft space upstairs. Our bedroom has no walls. It has no doors. It has a roof and some railings. I think the hardest thing for me when we have visitors in is that Chris and I don’t get to talk and decompress with each other. Part of it is that we’re “on” a lot more and part of it is that there really isn’t anywhere for us to go. Yesterday was just one of those days where we realized it was pressing in on us and that we needed to regroup. Sometimes it comes out sideways but we’re getting better at seeing it and dealing with it before it becomes an uncontrollable beast.
These are the times where life becomes harder. It requires a lot more stepping back. A lot more pushing through. A lot more grace with each other. A willingness to be more flexible. And I think giving ourselves room to process everything and go through the gamut of emotions that we’re feeling. Yes, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed because we have someone living in our house that we’ve only really known for a matter of days and our daughter is now our roommate and we’re thinking about her HIV tests that were done and we have so many workers running around the yard, three of whom we don’t even know the names for because they came on Monday and we’re thinking about all of the issues that could result because of that, as well as tripping over thousands of dollars of rebar and wondering how this whole thing is going to come together all while we’re mentally and emotionally preparing ourselves to go through this all over again with the arrival of a new volunteer in exactly three weeks. Oh, and until yesterday there was a possibility that I was going to have to take a trip to LA, leaving on the same day that said volunteer was arriving, to do some mission fundraising stuff. But we found out yesterday that I’m not and as crazy of an opportunity that it would have been, because it would have, the whole idea was just overwhelming me even more. And on top of that still running a filter project.
Yes, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. And yes, it’s hard to find the balance between going through all that and still being gracious hosts. This morning at breakfast I just finally said, “Hey, sorry we fell apart yesterday. We’re really glad you’re here and we don’t want you to think otherwise, we’ve just got A LOT going on right now and sometimes we’re not that great about keeping all the balls in the air.”
In the midst of all of that there have been some fun things going on. Like yesterday Liv tried rice cereal for the first time. I wasn’t sure how she was going to take to it. The first spoon got the response of a screwed up face. After a few bites she decided she’d had enough. We tried again yesterday evening and she decided this was fun and yummy and was even “helping” a few times by grabbing her spoon. There were giggles and raspberries left, right and center. And there was hand in the mouth then rub it up the face. At one point she had it all over her nose. It was really funny but we were outside and it was too dark to get a picture.
We’ve already decided we’re taking an evening out this week and going to dinner on Friday night. I’m looking forward to that just because it’ll be a nice break away. Saturday friends are coming out to their house just down the beach and we’ll be going to a birthday party there that night and brunch the next morning. Should be fun.