Breathe Distinctly

I took a bath tonight.

I mean a real one: a long, hot, no-children-barging-in-and-no-one-screaming-or-crying-on-the-other-side-of-the-door kind of bath.

It was lovely.

As it turns out, our new tiny-house has a fairly large bathtub.  It’s isn’t fancy, and not a Jacuzzi or anything, just large enough in an old-school kind of way to make a legit delicious hot bath.

It’s been four years, maybe five, I think, since I got luxurious baths regularly.  I used to, and when we got married Nathan even started making me homemade sugar scrubs.  It was so sweet!  He is so clever.  But then I was banned from hot baths with the high risk pregnancies, and then foster children, and then moving to a house where our bathroom only had a shower, and then and then and then.

But now I am home, more and more at home with myself after this long journey.

Nathan tells a story about when he used to be a temple worker, before we met and married, and the matron came up to him to talk about husbands and wives.  She told him that men were focused on the hunt, and where the family is supposed to be headed and how to get there.  But the wives, she said, were the gatherers, still walking with their hunter-husband but wandering this way and that along the way – not to stray, but to pick up the needed herbs and fruits and vegetables to make the journey both possible and enjoyable.

This, he says, is why we had to go to Bartlesville, to find our other children and the good doctors and nurses we had there.

And, that ward, he says, was a very smart ward, so that on those rare occasions I was able to pop my head above the water that was drowning us, I could quickly connect in a real way even though there was neither time or energy for girly chit chat.

This makes me laugh, because every ward has served such a purpose in our lives as we have moved.

And our new ward is the one where a pediatrician is in the primary presidency, and where there are nurses in the hallway, and where there are other children with special needs, and other mothers who understand.

This will be the ward where we are not in crisis, mostly because we are so safe here medically, even in an emergency.  An ambulance ride won’t take a half hour anymore, and for the first time all our children will be in school.

All our children will be in school!

I know I am supposed to be sentimental, and am doily-obligated to take pictures of second graders on Monday morning.

But I am also super, super excited for them to be gone.

I will be honest and play the last-day-of-summer card.

Not because I don’t want to be with them, but because it is good and right and as it should be.  They need to go to school, and they need some normal in their lives after these hard years (and especially last year), and we need to fully embrace the miracles that mean we are all healthy and well and safe and strong and thriving.  These are rare days without crisis, and that is okay, and we want to soak them up as much as the rest of America soaked up summer vacation.

I finished my anger essays for my training, and was left with the questions about what my unmet needs are.

So far, they are pretty basic.  I need to eat when my body is legitimately hungry.  I need to be able to go to the bathroom when it is my turn, preferably without anyone needing their shoes tied or shirt buttoned in the meantime.  I need a hot (uninterrupted) bath once in a while.  I need walks at my river, time at the computer to write, and sleep for more than three hours at a time.

I expect that as I continue my training assignments, and practice meeting my own needs more effectively – and enforcing the boundaries that help me do so, that I will become more aware of other needs as well.

It’s easier to see on the outside.

I can see the needs of my children: they need to know we will eat the next meal, and sometimes even need to know what it will be ahead of time.  They need clothes that fit, and ever bigger tennis shoes for school, and safe places to sleep with private places for changing clothes.  They need opportunities to be successful, permission to make mistakes, and the space to explore how you get from one to the other.  They need our laughter, our hugs, and our reassurances about their biological families.  They need our prayers with them before bed, and prayers again in the dark after they are asleep.

We are trying, all of us, together.

Some things are just hard, and take practice.

Oh!  Do you know what is hard?!  Interviews!  I may have a panic attack as podcast and radio interviews start next week.  Goodness.  The idea is terrifying, and not just because of my bad ears.  Yikes.  I really don’t know if I can do it, and the idea of it already has me in hives.  Our first interview was released today, but it came out in print.  You can read it HERE on BlogCritics.

The children are chomping at the bit to go to their new schools on Monday, like pent up animals after the last year of being in isolation for the baby, and then spending the summer doing the book stuff and moving.  I am excited for them to be free, and delighted with their enthusiasm and courage for starting at a new school.  It is all very exciting.

But first, we start at a new ward tomorrow.  Last week we found the building from our new house, and found our classes from sacrament meeting, and met the people who will be our teachers.  This Sunday is legit, where we should all get where we are going and be where we need to be and participate in our classes.  Theoretically.  I may be more anxious than the children!

But not tonight.  Tonight I had a hot bath, and I am very relaxed, and all my children are breathing – one of them is even singing in their sleep.  This is real happiness, despite all we have endured, and I am so very grateful.

“A Word that Breathes Distinctly
Has not the Power to Die”
  ~ Emily Dickinson

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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