Saturday, July 2, 2016

Meditations on Squash Bugs and Parenting

You guys...there is an all out war going on in my backyard this summer between me and the squash bugs. They have banded together on a mission to try and kill my plants and I am not having it. I always thought I was a bit of a peace-loving hippy but these suckers have made me realize that I have some sadist in me as well. I'm not a big bug-killer usually. My rule is simple...if you are in my house I have the right to squash you, if you are in your house (outside) I will leave you alone (unless you are a yellow-jacket hive in my backyard, in which case all bets are off). I even get stressed watching my kids handle bugs because I don't want them to hurt the little guys! Anyways, all that has changed since Invasion of the Squash Bugs 2016.

Last year I didn't make too big a deal about them because they seemed harmless enough...until my beautiful pumpkin plant budding with the promise of autumn splendor withered into a sad clump of misery before fall had even officially hit. (Moment of silence). Not. This. Year. This year it is game on. You guys, I look like a crazy person out there every evening scouring the leaves for these suckers and gleefully throwing them into a bucket of water whenever I find one. It has almost become a sick game...the way some people like to squeeze acne (so gross) and I just can't stop. All I can say is, if I lose the war it won't be for lack of zeal or commitment because I am pretty sure I am currently in the running for Master Squash Bug Assassin this year. Seriously, I've probably killed close to 100 of those things by now.

On another note, Baby #3 is due in about five weeks and you'd think by this time around I'd be ready for it and feel like a pro but wow, I am freaking out you guys. I don't know if you ever feel like you have your stuff together again after having kids. At least I haven't so far. This time around my anxieties tend towards the logistics of it all. Not so much "How do I take care of this tiny thing?" or even "Will I ever sleep again?" but more "How will I be a good mama to the kids currently running around like banshees while I am sleep-deprived and trying to provide for a newborn?" "Will our kids ever work into being able to share a room and not stay up too late and get up too early?" and "How in the world am I going to homeschool my oldest for the first time while also appeasing an easily-bored two-year-old and an I'm-hungry-RIGHT-NOW-MOM newborn?

It feels crazy...heck, it is crazy. But it also feels right and good. Does that even make sense? And I know it will all work out, I know we'll find a new normal in our house and it will be a chaotic beautiful mess and I will be broken and blessed and pushed to the max. And maybe that's why I'm so intent on eradicating squash bugs from my yard right now. Not because it really makes much difference in the world but because it's something I can manage and there is a rationalized outcome. With kids, especially little ones, nothing seems rational or organized. And each time around I have to re-learn to be okay with that. To find the glory in the mundane and the messy. One thing I've learned in my few-years-that-seem-like-forever as a mama (you know what I'm talking about) is this: The more you submit to the beautiful mess, the more joy there is to be found. Pushing back and wishing for more order or time or sleep is fruitless in these early years and only creates discord and anger. Accepting the grace of this slower, more mundane season of parenting allows for beauty to blossom in unexpected places. May beauty blossom for us all in whatever season we are in, and may we give it the space it needs to wrap itself around our hearts and pull us into it's embrace.

Blessings to you my friend!

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