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How are you doing?

It’s an impossible question right now. I need to start answering with another: how long do you have?

How am I doing? I am feeling every-which-way. I am in love, resentful, grateful, exhausted, panicked, proud, overwhelmed, joyful, angry and oh-so-responsible.

I was talking with my friend Kate the other day about all these feelings. Her advice was this: cry, pray, and move on. It’s good advice. The trouble is, I keep skipping to step three: just move on. Just keep playing trains with the big one, keep nursing the little one, keep laundry clean and everyone fed.

Last night I started to fall apart on the way to Chuck E. Cheese’s for a birthday party. It started before we left home when Dave mentioned that he needed a haircut, and suddenly I was overwhelmed once again by how my family so tangibly, physically needs me right now. And then there we were in Chuck E. Cheese’s parking lot, and Dave said, “Why don’t you stay in the car for a few minutes while I bring the boys inside?” but I said no and I took a deep breath and swallowed the tears gathering in the back of my throat and we went inside. But I shouldn’t have. I know better. I know that when I’m sad I need to sit there in that awful parking lot and just have a good cry. I know that when I’m angry I need to go kick a ball. Because when I don’t, it all comes out sideways and hurts the people I love most, usually Dave.

Later that night, after some of the sadness exploded out sideways, as it always does, Dave asked me to do something. “Name what you need,” he said.

Me? Need? I’m not allowed to have needs right now. My job is to suck it up, move on, and meet everyone else’s needs.

But I can’t function well that way for five minutes, let alone for a month. It hurts me, and it hurts everyone around me.

So now what? I’m still feeling every-which-way. I don’t have this figured out.

But today I will write this here so that I can remember:

Cry. Pray. Move on.

Name what you need.

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