the messiness of it all


I watch the hubs roam around the shop searching.  We spend a good portion of our days; our lives, searching for something lost.  He happens to be searching for a pipe to hold the steel as it rolls into a machine.  I see the grease beneath the machine oozing.

I ignore the red number by the Fakebook icon on my smartphone.  If I am tagged by someone; I glance quickly at the newsfeed at the exciting lives of my other hundred or so “friends.”  2013 was coined the year of the selfie; the pics people take of themselves.  I, myself, enjoy when people share pictures.  But more than one selfie in one day seems a bit much.  I mean, really?  And how many people take countless pics of themselves; editing to profile their better side.  Yes. I am also guilty.

I wanna know the nitty-gritty real stuff.  Most people seek escapism in social media; to portray themselves in a better light with the deluge of likes to validate their day.  To be seen.  I can’t relate to all that stuff.  I’m too busy unloading a dishwater, making school lunches and looking at the dirty bathroom mirror I had just cleaned a day ago.  I see my children’s clothes littered on the bedroom floors as my ire begins to rise at 7:03 AM.  After three calls to ‘wake up’ in a sing-song voice; the sound gets tinny and hard.  We have 25 more minutes until we walk out of the door and I need fully clothed, washed and fed children with all your gear! 

I have been awake since 5 AM and have returned from my early morning walk.  Instead of feeling revitalized I am disgruntled.  This doesn’t include awakening the hubs who continues to burrow beneath the blanket shutting my voice out.  To  my fellow people out there whose mornings begin like this, most days…I am with you.

The youngest wipes maple syrup (not high fructose corn syrup) on his face and shirt (his napkin).  sigh.  The eldest can’t find his phone and when he does; it’s uncharged.  The middle son grins happily at his other two brothers’ harried routine and demise.  The taunting and shoving continue as we back out of our garage.  I turn the radio up.

And Sara Bareilles’ song , “Brave” plays loud on my car stereo.  The bickering ceases as I crank the volume up.  Does it have to be so loud Mom? the youngest shouts.  The better not to hear you argue.  I respond.  The car becomes silent as I finally lower the volume.

I kept it on repeat as I drove into work; reflecting on our weekend.  I cringed.


Our Sunday morning brunch at my in-laws became more than we bargained for.  Still in church clothes and heels I began plucking broccoli, spinach and lettuce from my in-laws’ garden; shopping LOL.  If I pick it, I can keep it.  My retired father-in-law is now gutting his trailer and rebuilding it; his wood working tools in the garden.  None of us knew my dear hubs decided he would use the saw to cut wood for my middle son’s science project.  That is; until this son came to share that blood was getting all over the wood and his father was at the sink.  My father-in-law ran up the garden incline.  I took a deep breath.


I glanced at the bloodied wood and hazarded a pic of the deep cut the saw blade made.   I can barely look at the finished project; the blood stains still on it  The son wants to keep it there for character.  The father-in-law offered his paint brush and paint.  To my astonishment the grandfather and father taught this 11 y/o how to wield the tools safely; building this trebuchet all on his own (minus the cutting).  The mother in me cringes at the thought.  The son wants to keep his project plain to remember the blood and sweat put into it.

I stand beside the hubs with the torch; grimacing at each popping noise it makes.  The Sara Bareilles song is playing overhead throughout the shop and I think of how the intense heat makes the hard steel malleable.  It transforms before my very eyes.  And strange as I hear the lyrics, once again, I think of my girlfriends.  I quickly return to my computer and email; the song like the lit torch making me see.

Show me how big your brave is.

It is in revealing the messy, unpretentious lives that we lead that allows us to be brave.  To know that we are not alone.  It is being brave that gives us our voice; to discover the person within.   Because of my friends I see the diversity; how everyone struggles to keep it together.  Some carry their burdens alone as it festers with resentment.  Others try to hide it with various masks: overeating, drinking, overcompensating by doing too many things.  All people want to be validated.  I am guilty of the latter.

validate: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of ~www.merriam-webster.com.

There comes a point when, in taking on too many things, that my finished product is mediocre.  It is an empty feeling knowing you are spread way too thin.  I now compartmentalize and take baby steps.  I see the long view; the result I want.  But to get there I need to do it one step, one day at a time.


That’s easy to type but much harder to say.  To be brave and say what I mean.  It’s hard to acknowledge our flaws but harder to lay them out for others to see.   Fear of judgment.  Pride.   But once the torch is lit it’s hard to remain hard and unforgiving.  With the heat and the blows of the hammer steel can transform into a thing of beauty.  I have since learned to appreciate the artistry in bending metal and creating useful things of worth.

And with that I turn to my books as I number crunch for the end-of-the  month tax filings.  Overwhelming.  But I will continue to plod through and be brave in the messy.


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