Sometimes a difficult day comes out of nowhere, surprising you with its frustrations and challenges. Sometimes, though, it’s just the last day in a line of difficult days, days that have worn you down with their bumps in the road and unexpected troubles.
Today was one of those days.
I woke up to a house in chaos, which was no shocker given that I’d gone to bed in a house of chaos. As the calendar flipped to the warmest months of the year, my second trimester and the two weeks when both my babysitter and parents went on vacation (leaving me to work from home with a five-year-old who demanded to know, every few minutes, “Are you done yet? Can we play now?”), we embarked on the desperate frenzy of house repairs necessary to get our house listed before month’s end.
It wasn’t the brightest move, I’ll give you that. But at the time (and, really, even today) it seemed necessary and unavoidable. It was also the recipe for the perfect storm.
After days of decluttering and dealing with a handyman who didn’t show up, a mortgage banker who didn’t give straight answers and a husband whose work schedule prevented him from Fixing All the Things When I Want, I was done. D-O-N-E, done! I wasn’t sleeping well, my blood pressure was rising, and the tears were close to the surface pretty much all the time.
So when Sunday included a Tantrum of Screaming Proportions from my five-year-old (WHILE WE WERE AT CHURCH, thankyouverymuch), more cleaning and scrubbing that my poor arms were used to, and a kitchen with half of the new flooring but none of the baseboard and an unplugged stove, I couldn’t handle it.
As I trudged down my hallway after putting my [remorseful and once-again sweet] kiddo to bed, headed toward the computer to finish the work I’d avoided all weekend, I slammed my bare toes into some piece of something metal that had been unplugged from somewhere.
And I just lost it.
I stood in the hallway, sobbing like a baby and thought, “That’s it! I’m running away from home. I can’t be here anymore. I. Just. Can’t.”
Of course, it was nearly bedtime by then, and the logical, grown-up thing to do was to simply go to sleep. After all, things would look brighter in the morning, right? At least my appliances would be back in their rightful spots and I could go about re-cleaning the kitchen that had been spotless before the tools and the man entered the picture. Right?
But . . . things weren’t really brighter this morning.
I woke up to semi-urgent emails from work and stumbled directly to the computer to problem solve. As I typed and thought, my kiddo – after approximately one minute of being content to snuggle next to me and watch her favorite cartoons – was repeating, in quick succession, “Mommy, what’s for breakfast? Will you get me breakfast? Can we eat breakfast now?”
Oh good, a chance to go into the kitchen.
The flooring was finished, but the baseboard wasn’t. The refrigerator and stove were still standing firm in the dining room. And the dining room table was hiding under a layer of cleaning supplies and McDonald’s cups and various fixing-the-house litter.
Super excited to see her babysitter again (Hallelujah! That 13-year-old angel is back from vacation!), my kiddo still pitched a fit over the outfit THAT WE PICKED OUT TOGETHER. The one I bought and washed and folded and NOW I’M YELLING AGAIN! Losing my temper after she lost hers only made us both cry, and then I barely had time for a shower. And my contacts wouldn’t stick to my eyeballs.
And, oh look, the salon down the street from the babysitter is having a pedicure sale, which is perfect because my toes have been neglected way too long BUT I DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR MONEY FOR THAT THIS WEEK.
As I climbed back into my car after big hugs and gritted teeth (and a promise to return that afternoon), I thought to myself, “I cannot go back to that house.”
Sure, I knew it would be quiet. But it would still be in chaos. And I simply couldn’t face it. Not yet. Not today.
So this morning, at the hour between breakfast (which I’d already eaten) and lunch (which I skipped in favor of a nap), I pulled into the diner near my house, walked in and ordered a stack of pancakes.
I sat there, eating alone and reading my Bible on my phone, waiting for peace or inspiration or perhaps a reminder that God was in control. Instead, I found an Old Testament God-will-smite-you kind of story with vague application to my life – and ended up with syrup on my glasses and my phone.
Oh, how I wish I had a clever way to wrap up this story, friends. If only I’d gotten some sort of sign on my way home from my table-for-one brunch or had some epiphany while scrolling through Scripture on my phone. Maybe it will all click next week. Or next month. Maybe.
But for now, I just want to tell you that I understand. Some days are too hard, and you need to run away. Not forever, but for just a little while.
It’s okay. Go ahead. Hide in your bathroom or buy an ice cream cone on the way home. Make time for the pedicure, or ask a friend to watch the kids while you walk aimlessly around Target for an hour. Stop at the diner and order pancakes – and don’t share your bacon.
When you want to run away from home, you’re not alone. You’re not alone in the wanting, and you’re not alone in the running.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
~ Deuteronomy 31:6
Have you ever wanted to [temporarily] run away from home? What did you do?