I’m a mess. Or, as we say in the south, “I’m a HOT mess!”. My mind has a mind of its own. I’ve heard it asked of me on more than one occasion, “ADD much?”
Maybe a little.
I don’t prefer to think of my mind’s abundant activity as “hyperactive”, “impairing”, or “unfortunate”, but rather as “flexible”, “imaginative”, and “freaky talented”. After all, it’s not many who can think of 25 different subjects, scenarios, outcomes, and inevitable disasters all at once. (Except for every mom on the planet, but that’s another entry altogether.)
My multi-tasking mind. It’s a beautiful thing.
Until it’s not.
Yes, I can imagine every possible result of riding your skateboard without a helmet, but I imagine them all at once. And yes, I can converse with Aunt Sally at a family reunion while planning every emergency escape route at the same time, but I usually only hear half of Aunt Sally’s story. And yes, I can probably tell you the beginning, middle, and end of what I’m going to write, but it all barrels through my brain at the speed of an F-15, so I’ve forgotten it by the time I write. (I like to think that adds to the intrigue…does it?)
And while I’m thinking of how bright the yellow is on Lucy’s skirt, the fact that the music is about 80 decibels higher than it needs to be, which Lego piece I lost under the table, and the fact that I need to clean the windows, I’m also noticing every single thing around me. I’ve concluded that I’d be the world’s greatest spy. For at the same time that Lucy, music, Legos, and windows are circulating my brain waves, I also notice that Jane is sitting alone (I wonder if she’s lonely); Billy’s cup is too close to the edge of the table (it’s gonna spill!); there have been five knocks on the door, but there are only four kids here (Sam must be going potty); a red van drove by our house three times today (should I call the police?); and Kit has scratched her head more than twice (I know she was at camp. Better give space in case of lice. Better yet, let’s play outside.).
Go, brain, go.
Or STOP, brain, STOP!! For the love of every deep breath ever taken, STOP!!
For just as I think too much and notice too much, I all too easily forget too much. I forget more than I ever noticed. You see, my mind is so busy filling up with new data that there is just no space for information received 8 seconds ago…like names (Sorry, everyone I’ve ever met! I’d apologize to you by name, but…well…). I have always stunk at history because names and dates are just too much detail to hold on to when I already noticed that the short guy from France had a weird hat and probably felt bad being so short, and that the tall guy who fought against slavery had a tall hat and super long fingers. And he lost more than he won.
No clue when any of that happened. You see, because during class, Susie sneezed (I wonder if she has allergies or a cold…I should wash my hands), Jennifer passed note to Diana (Is it about me? I knew it. They hate me.), the teacher really needed a haircut, and the heater was making a very annoying noise.
Names and dates? Not so much. No space.
Try parenting this way. I consider every option for every action all at the same time, until I become paralyzed and can’t think at all. “If I offer Big Boy dessert after he was disrespectful, then I am rewarding the bad behavior. But wait! You can’t fight over food, so dessert isn’t a reward. But, if sweet words don’t come out of his mouth, sweet food can’t go in. But, an apology should be enough. Don’t be harsh.” So instead of coming up with a logical parenting move, I either ban him from dessert for the rest of his human life (which has just now grown shorter), or give him a gallon of ice cream and a spoon and tell him to,”have at it!”
Cuz, you know, THAT makes sense.
Try being married to this mind. Bless my sweet husband. He watches me go from scenario one to conclusion Godzilla because he didn’t witness the amalgamation of fluid and cross-wired thoughts that blasted through my head in 1.4 seconds.
Him: “Wait a minute, Jess. Why are we going bankrupt again?”
Me: “Because Big Boy just ate 7 eggs at once. Which means his appetite is increasing at a rate of 450%. Which means our grocery bill will flop from 2x’s our mortgage to 4x’s our mortgage. And he’s going to outgrow all his clothes this week which means we are going to have to buy new ones. And my tire is low for the second time this month, which likely means I will have to replace all four tires before we go clothes shopping, and I don’t have time to do it while the other two kids are in school, so I’ll have to hire a sitter. The sitter can’t cook, which means I’m going to have to order a pizza and pay for delivery! And….”
If you give a mouse a cookie…
Him: “Or maybe he was hungry today, honey.”
Even as I consider the aptitude of my high-functioning brain (*ahem*), I am conflicted with thoughts. On one hand, I couldn’t be more grateful to be able to think about so many things. And, in fact, I actually enjoy the humor in it quite often. “Hey, Jo, did I tell you that…oh, hey! Look! It’s the bracelet I’ve been looking for. Isn’t it a pretty color? It reminds me of the beach. Which makes me happy. Anyway, did I tell you that…”
But the flipside is…my brain is tired. It’s exhausting to be thinking 25 things at once. To never know which option is the best because I’m thinking of every positive and negative outcome possible. To feel every emotion large than life. To feel ashamed. Ashamed of making a fool of myself. Ashamed of being too enthusiastic, too emotional, too picky, too worried, too harsh, too negative, too hurt, too busy, too selfish, too random, too much.
Too. The language of my brain. Too.
Sometimes I wish that would all just stop. That I wouldn’t be “too” anymore. That I wouldn’t worry about people getting sick of my “too” and leaving my side because it’s all “too” much. Yes, it is. It’s too much. Inside of me, it is just too much.
And then I hear these beautiful words, spoken by Adan Bean:
“Even my random has been ransomed by Christ.”
And I smile. And I rejoice, because I know it’s true. I need an “Amen, Hallelujah!” for that one.
Just knowing that, just BELIEVING that, gives me the chance to enjoy the laughter of my dear friend as we both realize we have no idea what we are talking about or how we got there. And I beam because my Angel Baby’s train-of-thought conversations make perfect sense to me. And I chortle because “Elf’s” phone call to his dad is SPOT ON: “I painted a picture of a butterfly today! I tuned the piano!”
Yes! Paint on!!
So, if you will excuse me, my thoughts have been somewhat linear for too long now, and I just saw a chipmunk in my backyard. I need to go see what he’s doing….