There's been a bit of literal silence here too. My brother was married last weekend, and in my family, a wedding means music. The singing started on Thursday night and continued on through Saturday, when I, being the only untrained member of the a cappella choir, was promoted to the level of my incompetency and conducted the group. It's been a tradition at the past few family weddings for my siblings and I to toast whoever's getting married with some classic song slightly altered; this time it was Billy Joel's For the Longest Time, which involves a fair amount of practice into the wee hours when the singers only have two days all together to get it right. As a result, I'm still recovering my voice.
I'm recovering my equilibrium too. I love these big family gatherings, but they take a lot out of me, physically (which will happen if someone six months pregnant will stay up until 2 am three nights in a row). It took me until today to realize that's why I've felt so emotionally fragile these past few days, overwhelmed by the immensity of the tasks handed me and the sorry job I've done with them and the lack of motivation to do anything, ever. In particular, the prospect of keeping the house in some state that passes for order seemed almost impossible. Apparently I'd forgotten that it's always a losing proposition to make sweeping generalizations about life while you're fighting to stay awake. I even began crafting a sad little fantasy about how badly things were going to turn out, which I should know by now is always a sign of complete exhaustion. Here's how my mind works at times like this:
Our heroine is so worn out from pregnancy and childbirth that her house falls into a state of utter decay. Finally, in desperation, she hires a cleaning service. Sure, the house becomes cleaner, but she hate hates it, because it's a sign of her utter incompetence and failure. She feels that her husband deserves a clean house (her kids, on the other hand, can live in the pigsty they've created, for all she cares), but she can't give it to him. She is a bad wife. She is an angry mother. Her cleaning lady despises her. Her children learn nothing. There is no happy ending.And then, this afternoon, struggling to stay awake at the schoolroom table while people fretted over their math, feeling how uncomfortable it was to lean on the table over my stomach pressing up into my ribcage, I thought, "I wonder if baby's on a growth spurt?" and suddenly everything fell into perspective.
What else has fallen into perspective is that I need sources of encouragement, practical and spiritual. For years I felt I could pretty much go it alone, and that worked okay, but these days, whether it's pregnancy or whether I've depleted my reserves of stoicism, I find that spiritual reading, when I remember to do it, is a lifeline for me, restoring sanity and infusing me with the desire for holiness that I can't seem to muster up on my own. (Even my reading energy is depleted these days, which is an unusual situation.) And this afternoon, I read through Leila's series of posts on The Reasonably Clean House, which reminded me that I'm not the only person who struggles with these problems and that the housekeeping is not insurmountable even for someone with less natural aptitude for schedule and systems (and five children to help out, too).
Now to remember this tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and when I'm feeling more energetic and forget that I need to put oil in my lamp before the darkness falls.