A Single Mom's Self-Portrait: Holding Onto Bliss in the Midst of Chaos by Tammy Read
If I were to paint a self-portrait, it would look like a blur of colors across a white canvas. There are streaks of pinks, purples, reds and greens. There are jagged lines of black and gray. Then there are these beautiful waves of bright yellow and gold. I'm always on the go and all over the place between teenage sons, work, keeping up with our home and trying to have a social life. It's chaos from sun up to sun down, but there are moments of real bliss. They are the waves of yellow and gold. I hold them and ride the wave as long as I can.
It's the chaos that I am thinking of as we approach the beginning of a new school year. Last year was pure hell with my oldest high-schooler. Actually, if I'm being honest, I would include the year before last as well. He "missed the bus" almost every single day. I would have to leave work to get him there or go home on my lunch hour to drag him there. It was exhausting. I was losing my mind with this daily torture. It got so bad one time that I was screaming on the top of my lungs. I blared the radio and then proceeded to bang metal pan lids together over his head – like that toy monkey with cymbals. I found myself getting into a good beat and groove. My son caught on and started beat boxing along with it. Then we both started to laugh. Golden. I've titled that song "Crazy for School." It's topping the charts in my home.
A perfect example of the mix of jagged black and gray lines with yellow streaking through it happened several years ago when our home was flooded with 2 feet of water after a tropical storm reaped havoc on it. We lost just about everything: furniture, clothing, precious stuffed animals and pictures. What I found in perfect form, though, was my Southern bell bonnet from my favorite Gone With the Wind costume. Trudging through thick stinky mud in my front yard, I wore that bonnet proudly and recited the famous line from Gone With Wind spoken by my girl, Scarlett: "As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again." You just gotta grab the gold and laugh.
Every day is a whirlwind to me. I have so many responsibilities. So many places to be and things to take care. There are days that I feel like I'm drowning, but then I hear beautiful music coming from my youngest child's room that just makes me smile. My heart fills with pride and love to hear him play his piano so beautifully. There is the comic relief that my troublemaker oldest son provides. He will just pass by me and say things like, "I wish my abs would just show themselves," as he lifts his shirt up exposing his blindingly white paper-thin stomach. I never know what is going to come out of his mouth or in what accent. He can do many. He always makes me laugh. Pure gold.
There is going to be heartache, pain, dismay and chaos, but it will be mixed with bliss here and there. I hold onto the bliss whenever I feel it and ride out the chaos. Life is gonna bring you both. I reach for the gold and always smile.
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