None. of. this. is. normal.

Brandon has begun to travel more often for work. And the kids and I have developed a sort of rhythm through it all. They miss their daddy deeply, but they navigate his absence beautifully. Eliza (when she notices he’s actually gone…she’s a mama’s girl through and through) gives me lots of hugs and will randomly say “I miss daddy.” Jamie will shed some tears throughout daddy’s absence, but he takes great pride in being my helper and partner while Brandon’s gone.

But our favorite thing: while daddy is out of town, J knows he gets to sleep in our bed. Each and every night I will sneak into the kid’s room, get him out of his bed and put him in mine. He disappears under the heavy weight of our comforter and makes his way over to snuggle with me throughout the night. I love it. He wont be little forever, these moments are sweet.

[Now, before you feel bad for Eliza, we are not neglecting her. From her birth, Eliza has always been terrible at sleeping with another person in sight or close enough to touch. When she sleeps with me in a hotel room, she flips and turns the whole night and wakes up to talk to me throughout. It’s best for her (and us!) that she stay in her bed.

 And, somehow, sweet baby girl has yet to notice that Jamie sleeps in my room. Sure, he sleeps on the top bunk and she’s not tall enough to see that he’s gone, but she’s a smart girl and he’s terrible at keeping secrets…I just expected her to figure it all out by now. So I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. ]

As I was saying, usually our routine goes pretty smoothly. But, every now and then it feels like everything crumbles.

Take this morning for instance: After not falling asleep until after midnight, I woke up with a bad dream at 5:15 a.m. Before I could go back to sleep, Eliza came into the room wide awake. So, I snuck out of the room with her (so she didn’t notice Jamie) and settled her on the couch. My alarm usually goes off at 5:30 so I can start making lunches, become a person, etc. So I made coffee a little bit early and began my day.

At 5:50 a.m. Jamie came out, bleary eyed and upset because he also had had a bad dream.

IMG_3408By 6:15 a.m. we found ourselves here. Two kids playing with Legos, wide awake. I clung to my coffee and read my Bible and they played kindly. E had already gotten herself dressed for the day. At 6:15 in the morning.

I feel like it’s important to pause here and make sure you know something: we don’t leave till 8 a.m. to walk the 3 blocks to school. J doesn’t usually wake up till after 7. Eliza is usually up around 6 or 6:15. Neither kid is dressed till 7:30 or later. None of this was normal.

I usually don’t handle these types of mornings well. I’m not what you would call a morning person, so there’s a reason I wake up before my entire family. It’s good for all of us that mama has an entire cup of coffee before parenting (or being a wife to) anyone.

But to my surprise, peace was rich in our apartment. I was patient. They were kind. We took time to listen to each other. Everyone ate a good breakfast. We made it to school on time. By 8:30 I had picked up the apartment, made my bed, and settled down to work. I even have a little makeup on (preparation for a Zoom call later).

IMG_6106

Nothing. about. this. is. normal.

As I fight through the overwhelming exhaustion behind my eyes, it occurs to me that perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised by any of this.

I have been praying fiercely for peace lately. There has been a whole lot of difficult in our house as we shepherd the sweet soul of our oldest. He’s grappling with big things, and we’re in the thick of it with him. Exhaustion is our constant companion, grief is rich, chaos sometimes seems unavoidable, peace can seem so distant.

This morning? A tired mama, tired kids, traveling daddy, early wake-ups…and, yet, peace, answered prayer.

I don’t know that I have a point to all of this yet, except to say: sometimes I am so surprised when God answers my prayer that it takes me a while to even notice. This time is no different. Overwhelming exhaustion and all, I am deeply thankful for a faithful God even in the midst of my own faithlessness.

Now that for next cup of coffee.

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