I woke up this morning and he was next to me. 

We had just gotten home last night, and were getting ready for bed when the call out came. 

He got home around 7? I think?…he’s still sleeping. 

He didn’t complain. He just answered the phone and five minutes later he left. And almost immediately I held my breath a bit. Just like always. 

I woke up this morning to four cereal bowls in the sink with milk still in them. The kids were watching “The Sandlot” again. The volume was low. I made coffee. I was so tired. I don’t sleep well when he’s gone. 

The kids stayed quiet. After 13 years- they know the drill. 

I sat in the empty kitchen and replanned our day….church tonight now. Guess I won’t get a work out in this am. I drank my coffee and thought. 

He was up all night. I don’t even know what happened, except that they called. And he did his job. As the rest of us slept. 

I used to clean the house when he got call outs just in case they showed up if something went wrong. 

He gets so many now, that I just figure they’ll deal with it- my house, our life. 

I used to think a lot of things. 

Before I was a parent. 

As I was a new parent. 

Before we were married. 

After we were married. 

Before I was a stay at home parent. 

Before I was a parent that worked part time.

And now once I kind of woke up and began to do the larger than life task of catching up on laundry…

Because it’s always there. 

Piles and piles, and no matter how hard I try, it’s still there. 

I used to have so many ideas. Opinions. Judgements. 

And now I just know…that no matter how much I think I know, real will shatter my logic. 

Logically, as the kids get older things should get easier. But it’s not. It’s a different hard and  much more complicated than deciphering a diaper rash. Because sometimes they come to you, and their real isn’t monsters under the bed. But real stuff. 

I used to think I was getting this parenting thing down…and then another stage set in. Another inch was grown, another battle to face. 

I miss the days when I could keep them home and hold them to me and feel their baby fine hair and know at that moment I could always keep them safe. 

I could always protect their hearts. 

But it’s not that simple. 

I used to judge couples that fell apart, and lives that were irrevocably cracked by addiction- until I began to see that the Realness of life sometimes tips over our glass plans. Until addiction stole someone I loved. 

I used to think that my husband would always wake up next to me, until my kindred’s husband didn’t come home. And so I will never take for granted the sounded of him breathing. The click of the key in the door. 

I have a lot of strong big opinions about a lot of things that matter to me…but I’m not an expert on any of them anymore really. 

I just know I will fight for my families safety, and their happiness. I will stick up for my real, so when you wake up, and get ready for church…and my husband has just laid down- you were safe. 

Because no matter how many times you fold it, you move it, laundry still exists. 

Kids grow. They change. And sometimes even when you’ve done everything you can…life gets real. 

We all have laundry. 

I used to take mine for granted. Curse it. But now I realize that all those ideas I had Before I had my life cannot define the realness of my own piles of dirty and clean laundry. 

Some weeks there will be more. 

And other weeks I won’t ever see the end in sight. 

Sometimes I miss the naivety of the before. I knew how I’d live. How I’d parent. How I’d love…but at the time I never really knew how much I would need God. How many times I would cry to Him over the big stains that have changed the course of our lives. 

The holes left behind. 

Last night as he left, our teenager came and laid down next to me. 

Neither of us could sleep. 

The realness of call outs- and life- as we waded deep into a conversation that was hard to have, that left piles of worry at my feet. 

I lay awake long after he fell asleep. 

And prayed. For our safety. For our Family. 

And for all the laundry I have no idea of how to fold. 

I left it there. And stared at my child, and missed my husband and prayed.

And eventually drifted off.

And woke up, and he was back, safe. 

I was very tired, and even less of an expert, even at laundry. 

But I don’t take it for granted. None of it. 

I’ll let God sort, and I’ll fold. 

And exhale.