So, yeah. We just realized that we haven't blogged since September. Oh we've both written a few things but never actually published them. I'm sure there are so many of you that have been asking what happened to Ashford and Ziggy..or there are plenty of you who have not even realized we went missing.
So what happened to us? Well between the two of us there are 5 kids under 5, 2 husbands who work non-traditional hours, 3 dogs, church committee meetings, dance classes, basketball practice/games. There have been road trips to Charleston (hopefully Ashford can someday share with you the joys of being on a sailboat for 5 days with her breast pump), San Diego, Tennessee, Raleigh, Georgia. There have been ER visits for ruptured ear drums, possible broken jaws, the flu epidemic, teacher meetings at school because the child doesn't act exactly how they think he/she should. And of course there was that time at the bounce house when RJ got her french braid stuck in the velcro at the top of the giant slide and a rescue misson followed. One of our nannies had to have emeregency open heart surgery sending childcare into a complete panic. There's time set aside to pump/breastfeed in the middle of the madness-bc any woman knows that burns better calories and counts as exercise!
Both Ashford and I have been on a rough work journey this fall. Both of us have been forced to evaluate our jobs and fight to keep them-for different reasons but still a similar struggle. One of us deals in rare genetic disorders and the other gets to deal with all the problems in education that no one seems to have the answer for. Both of us are the primary bread winners in our homes and that brings enough stress-but when you add the stress of possibly losing some of that income? Well it's almost emotionally paralyzing. At the core of where we are is feeling like we have failed or let ourselves down for things that are ultimately beyond our control. There are marriages to try and hold together all while keeping the house from not burning down or falling apart. Most days by the time everyone is fed/bathed/in bed, it's all we can do to even speak 2 words to our spouses. Suddenly you realize it's been months since you actually got dressed up and had a date with your husband-and your too tired to realize you actually miss and need that. You realize you haven't seen that neighbor you were dying to live next to in months because you just can't get away. It always sounds like you have an excuse yet it's not even excuses. It is simply life.
Add to this "life" that is so hectic the crushingly overwhelming need to give our children "magical" childhoods. There are apples to pick and pumpkin patches to visit. Desperately trying to schedule in a pumpkin carving session in between the trunk-or-treat and the family pizza/movie night. Trips to the mountains and the aquarium, trips to Boo at the Zoo, handmade turkeys with thankful lists on each finger and leaf rubbings to do. And then it's Christmas. There are dance parties and class parties all of which require some semblance of a home-baked pinterest-worthy reindeer themed treat (that is nut free, dairy free, and gluten free). There are Polar Express train rides to see Santa, the mall trip to see Santa, the live Nativity, the traditional family Christmas Light trip, and church Christmas pageants. Don't even get me started on the damn Elf on the Shelf- which caused insomnia for the entire month of December when I would wake every night in a panic at 2:30 am and struggle to find a cute and creative fun thing for "Jack" to get into and then not be able to fall back asleep for hours. Just don't mention the elf to Z-she's totally against it because she's instead focused on the Perfect nativity advent calendar and trying to make holiday happen for the families she works with. The pressure to do it all and to "make memories" and to make it all count. Make sure you're in the moment and not just going through the motions. "Embrace this time because they grow so quick and you will miss all this."
And then you find yourself struggling against the emptiness of the futility. "Why am I killing myself to be so perfect?" "Does my job even matter?" "Does anyone even read this damned blog?" "What is it all for?"
Ironically, when we set out to write this blog we did it because we felt like we were always hanging by a thread and there were so many people who could relate to what we said. The truth is that we've been absent because we weren't really hanging by a thread anymore, we had cut the thread and were just trying to not drown. We know we aren't alone. Whether you stay at home or work...whether you have 5 kids or 1...life gets entirely too hectic. We all have our struggles.
Z texted me today asking what my New Year's Resolution is this year. "Survival" is all I could muster. I'm doing it. I'm making these magical memories and I'm pulling it off....even if just barely. I did get a Christmas card out (even if it got mailed on the 22nd) and I did manage to make homemade pumpkin pies from actual pumpkins (not the canned stuff). I managed to keep my house from being condemned and bathed the kids at least twice a week (most weeks). They haven't missed a meal and they wear clean clothes but again just barely. We are all doing the best we can to hang on and keep it looking good. Check out my Facebook feed....we are the picture perfect family. At least I'm experienced enough to know that we are all in this boat. We are all presenting our best selves despite the dirty truth. We are not alone.
So here's to a New Year and hoping you all survive right along with us. And maybe, just maybe, we'll make a few magical memories along the way.
-A combined effort as we only have time to write half an entry. Hey....two halves make a whole right?