Hello, mamas! I’ve missed you. I’ve been in a time of transition as I travel towards furlough/home assignment for a season, so I thought I’d share a little bit of how I’m treating myself well in the blur:
–I give myself a full two days to recover. HQ meetings start Monday? I come in on Friday night. I arrived in PDX on Tuesday night for a conference on Friday night. That gives us all time for the jet lag to wear off (really, kids? 3:30 AM seems like morning to you?) and to get over any illnesses we picked up on the plane. (Though I still stand by my habit on wiping down arm rests, tray tables, windows and screens with a sanitizing wipe. It may get weird looks, but we had no illness this time!)
–I navigate triggers with extra time and space. And by that I mean reverse culture shock triggers. And by that I mean the grocery store. Knowing they’d remodeled again since I was last there, I happily left my kids with my mom-in-law while I navigated the assault on my senses that is the grocery store. Mamas, I had to do anxiety breathing. I don’t know exactly why it’s a trigger for me, but it is. So do I try to “just pop in for a few things” on the way to something else? No. No, I do not.
–Just say no. I know. Your time is short. You want to see everyone, and they want to see you. But I know I can’t. I wanted desperately to drive to Salem last night to see a dear friend who goes back to Indo next week…but my kids needed time with me to process the next phase of our transition and recover from the exhaustion of doing American church for the first time (again). And it may sound silly, but I needed that, too. Give yourself time to putter, to knit, to write. You can dive into work soon enough.
–I let the tears come. My oldest did NOT want to go to Sunday School. Usually, my guy is the tough one who’s good at Sunday school drop off, but it was just me yesterday. And when I walked away from him, I held back tears. I held them back so well, down the hall, down the stairs. I held them back from the usher who greeted me. I held them back from my dad-in-law when I found him in our row. But when the music started, even though it was a song I didn’t know (maybe because it was a song I didn’t know), I let myself come undone. The whispered voice said, No façades now. Not with me.
But people will stare! I know. They did. But that’s where my heart was at. It was grieving my Haiti home. It was overwhelmed by the increased noise and lights. It was sad for my scared boy who just wants to be with me. So I cried in the presence of God. You can, too. You don’t have to pretend this isn’t hard. It is.
–I exercise outside. I’m in a temperate part of the world, so you may not be able to do this, but it so helps me with jet lag and burning off the residual stress of travel.
–I should’ve stayed off Facebook and Twitter. Ah, the endless scroll. It’s too easy to lose myself in it, too easy to ignore my kids and those present with me. I was happier when I had some distance from my phone.
You’ve got this, mamas.