Here’s the Thing: When life gets hectic, remember the love

October to December is the time of year that I need to be really good at juggling the life happening around me.

My “mom” title is at full flex. This is the time of year I was born, got married, and had our babies. Our babies eventually grew up and now it has become prime birthday season around here. Instead of getting too overwhelmed, I sort of shut down and hope it all works out.

Probably not the best advice, but it’s been working out so far. It basically looks like, “take it as it comes.”

I used to be a basket case about how great each birthday had to be, but I started caring less about the cute frills and more about what they wanted and if it’s reasonable. It went from taking my time on every detail (which I occasionally will do from time to time) to accepting help and enjoying the present moment in front of me.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still times I’m buying last-minute birthday items during the wee hours of the night in Walmart and wondering what I’m doing with my life. I give myself permission to stress out a little on the day of the event, but overall it is what is it. I’m forced to be flexible with my ever changing kids. How are they growing so fast? Why are they doing this to me? The clarity comes when they blow out the candles and you realize we all survived another year. The juggling gets easier.

Birthdays aside, there’s also our anniversary. Last year we visited the vineyards of Sonoma. This year we visited a steak dinner. It’s always a special day, because well, we haven’t strangled each other. Mare wedge is what keeps us to gevah.

But even marriage can feel like another ball to juggle. It feels corny to compartmentalize that area of my life, because it’s constant. We’ve been hitched 11 years and best friends for a bajillion years, so if someone asks me how “my marriage” is, it almost feels like someone is asking me how my right arm is. Does it feel like I’ve been lifting weights or is it a bat wing?

Bottom line, it can take work. Our family and young marrieds group at church gets the privilege of encouraging us. It keeps our relationship fresh. How we connect looks different every year. You almost have to stare at your marriage if you want to beat mediocrity. We get caught up in raising kids, running a business, and zoning out via plopping on the couch. It’s easy to hit a wall and realize you miss having fun as a couple.

Then throw in a holiday. Holidays are the person that stares at you, so you stare back, but then they don’t look away. You can’t avoid them. It can go from juggling to a complete circus. I don’t want to describe what holidays can do to a parent. They can break you. This is the time of year that my witty best friend makes my face explode with uncontrollable laughter like Joker in Batman. I have to cover my face like I’m diseased. I suppose ugly laughing is better than ugly crying when you feel overwhelmed.

Lately, the holiday chaos gives me energy instead of shutting me down. Halloween is the first holiday in the relay race, so it’s easy to acclimate. I hope this pace carries into Christmas time. I hope, I hope, I hope. I think I’m adjusting to the holiday season, because both kids are in school and it’s lonely. You can only keep yourself company by looking in the mirror for so long until you start to lose it. So I throw myself into enjoying life where I can take it.

Here’s the thing: Add birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, expected or unexpected life changes, and the usual routines together and it makes a recipe for the juggling to get sloppy and everything goes everywhere.

All that is just a result for caring about the people I love the most. They usually understand and don’t mind when I’m not perfect. My intentions shine through that I just want the best for my family and friends. When I take a step back the juggling looks like love. A hectic, dynamic love. From making a costume last minute to picking up a birthday cake at the store to giving my spouse a kiss every night.

If you have a time in your life that feels out of control, just remember it’s because it probably is, but it’s OK. We weren’t made to juggle, we were made to love. We weren’t made for the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself through January!

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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