In 2015, my husband and I sold our little house in south Austin and moved our brood out to the hill country of Dripping Springs, TX. We had been building a farmhouse on some acreage and it was close enough to being finished and we thought “close enough” would be alright. I was 3 months post partum with my fourth baby, my third was walking but unstable, I was potty training my second and my first was almost 4. What could go wrong?
As we moved in our furniture, construction equipment and tools had to be pushed out of the way and rearranged on the floor. I was ripping up floor protection paper as people brought in box after box, like a seemingly never ending tidal wave.
It was a mess.
I was sweaty and squishy and still weak from birth.
My son was peeing all over the place and I was leaking breastmilk while I tried to sweep up sawdust with paper towels because I couldn’t find a broom.
Our “yard” was a swampy mud pit and with every entry into the house, more of it was smeared onto the floor.
When my husband returned to work, I was left with my babies in a sea of boxes, sawdust and tools.
While I was breast feeding my youngest and staring into overwhelming oblivion, my 3 year old daughter cried that there was a SPIDER. Not just any spider. It was a giant, Dripping Springs country spider. A nightmare spider. I grabbed the nearest shoe and (still breastfeeding) smashed that spider with gusto. Apparently that monster spider was pregnant because she exploded into HUNDREDS of tiny spiders that spread like wildfire onto the floor, up the wall and under the baseboards.
I screamed and was on my knees scooping up spiders with milk spraying everywhere as me and my babies cried. I’m pretty sure my son wet himself…again.
How did I get here?
It was in that moment I wanted to NOT.
You know what I mean?
I wanted to curl up in a ball and pretend that I was anywhere but there.
I suddenly craved a life of simplicity, mundane existence, perhaps even boring.
I wanted my old problems that seemed really big at the time and now, from where I was standing, looked like a vacation.
Maybe just one baby, you know? I wanted to go back to napping when they napped and I wanted to be “stressed” about the newness of this life that came out of me.
I wanted to be a newly wed and go back to the “stress” of registering for all the gifts” ***insert dramatic hand to forehead***.
I wanted to be engaged and be “stressed” about planning a wedding.
Gosh, what I would’ve GIVEN for that kind of stress at that moment.
It’s funny how quickly our blessings can turn into burdens when we’re pushed beyond our perceived limits.
The fact is, every stage of life has stories like that. I often look at my current situation and think, “how did I get here?” and I know in a few years I’ll think the same thing.
Motherhood is funny like that. This parenting journey seems like an endless procession of stresses that, when looked back upon, seem like the good old days. I survived that horrible day back in 2015. I can (kind of laugh) about that year in my life now, though it still makes my eye twitch.
As I sit here and write, I know how I got here.
I got here through tears and lots of laughter. I got here through help from my tribe and late-night talks with my husband.
I got here by sheer strength of will at times and by the overwhelming, life offering love for my babies.
It helps to remember that the map to where you are is in the memories and experiences that not only stress you out but make you GREAT.
Also, exterminate and avoid spiders of astronomical proportions.
Photography: Lauren Samuels Photography