Dear kids, I don’t want a break from you, but I need one.
You see, I never want to leave you wondering where I am when my eyes gloss over and you can tell I have stopped listening to you telling me about your new favorite thing.
I don’t want to rush through your bedtime so I can take a shower to try and wash off the heaviness of my day and collapse into an exhausted pile.
It’s not fair you have to be quiet and cut our games short because my phone rang and another adult needs my attention for the next hour.
Or that I get stressed over work demands, and homeschool demands, and scary world events.
I want to be present for all the moments but I feel split in 10 different directions, and I know that is not OK. Yet, I can feel myself becoming overwhelmed and needing a break. And worst of all, I know you can feel it, too.
But I need a break because here is the truth: When it comes to you, there will never be balance.
You will always outweigh the other areas of my life. I will think about you at work while I am doing reports or meeting clients. I will be thinking of you when I am having a bad day. I will push my tears and my screams aside and hide them from you and I will play games with you anyway. I will rush home from work and cook your meals, remembering to add and take out all the things you love or hate and when you argue and refuse to eat it, I will make you cold cereal just so you don’t go to bed hungry.
I will be late on work projects because your school projects are due and I have to make three trips to the stationery store to get all the supplies we need. I’ll watch you as you build it, and my heart will swell with pride seeing what you are capable of, and then while you sleep, I will stay up the rest of the night working on my own project.
I don’t want to take a break from you, but I need one.
I need to sleep fully and deeply even if it’s just for a few hours. You don’t know this, but I get up often at night to see if you are OK. I check your breathing, then I re-check it because I wasn’t sure you were breathing normally.
I need to spend some time laughing and playing with Daddy as we did before. I need to eat a meal when it is hot and not have to stop continuously to beg you to eat a hidden piece of carrot or explain how food becomes poop. I need to sit in silence and pray for the parts of me that need work and ask God to keep making me more like Him.
I want to think about nothing and make no plans at all because between work and home, I am all planned out. I need to read a book or watch a movie or do a crossword or sing a song from my youth. I am tired of singing your songs, they really don’t make a lot of sense to me even though it makes me smile to see you singing along.
It’s not what I want to do, but it is the only way. The only way I can remain who I am to you.
I want to be your cuddle buddy and the pretend zombie monster chasing you around your grandma’s living room. I want to cook with you and re-read the same book about that dog with you. I want to hear all your random questions, and I want to always know your favorite things and how you feel and be the first person you want to tell your secrets to.
And to do that, I need to recharge.
You are my priority and deserve the best of me. I know how much you miss me because I miss you just as much. But being my best requires doing what is best for us both. And I know I am a better person and a better parent and, one day, a better friend to you when I am rested and rejuvenated.