This weekend I'm headed to the Allume Blogging Conference. I sense that this is coming at the precisely the right time. On a practical level, I'm eager to learn from those bloggers who have gone before me. I'm poised to embody the adage: Learn from experience. Preferably other people's.
I'm old school, too. I'll be the woman holding the legal pad and scribbling notes with a pen, not clacking at the keys on my laptop. Look out. I'm prepared for this to be my trademark.
On a personal level, if there's ever been a good time for me to get away for a weekend, now is that time. I'm tired, my friends. If I can mix metaphors to describe my current state: I've been burning the candle at both ends, holding too many irons in the fire, and sustaining an all-work and no-play existence for longer than is healthy.
Keeping up with my three dear children, managing the planning and grading for the four college classes I'm teaching, undertaking the release and promotion of my new book: Then I Became a Mother (TIBAM!), sustaining this blog, and navigating day-to-day life like hosting weekly dinners for 30 students, having an extended house guest living with our family, keeping on top of laundry and doctor's appointments and second grade math homework, and, you know, life -- has taken a toll.
The weekend of my book release my husband was out of town. More than anything, I wanted someone to be with me. Instead, I was working through a pile of student papers and single-handedly taking care of those children who made me a mother. Although I kept telling myself to buck up and power through, I spent portions of the weekend alternating between sobbing, manically laughing, and, at one moment, angrily punting a Strawberry Shortcake house that had been absentmindedly abandoned on the hallway floor. (There was some impressive loft to that kick, I must admit.)
It's what happens when you're depleted.
I need to step back and remember who I am. To soak up the realization that God is pleased with me -- crazy about me, actually -- regardless of my performance. This weekend will provide an opportunity to do this. It's also providing an opportunity to sleep in a hotel room BY MYSELF where I can wake up on my own accord, rather than being startled into wakefulness by a child who's six inches from my face and whisper-shouts her request that the-TV-remote-isn't-working-and-can-you-please-fix-it-right-now-because-we-really-want-to-watch-cartoons-please?
I'll be honest: I'm also a little nervous to attend. Each time I think about heading into a large gathering of strangers, I recall Anne Lamott's fantastic description of the awkward mingling that leads her to skulk and then fall into a weird shuffling, lurk mode.
Knowing how my mind works, I've forewarned myself that I'll need to take reality checks throughout the conference. I'll remind myself that I'm just one person -- that this isn't a competition or a who's-who, that my worth isn't based on the size of my platform, and that I'm not called to do what everyone else in the room is called to do. Because no matter who you are -- whether your blog is just beginning or yielding highway traffic, whether you're clinging to dream or publishing your first book -- I'm not sure if you ever feel like you've "arrived."
I certainly don't feel as if I have.
This weekend, I'm just Robin, the imperfect Strawberry Shortcake house-punting mother who, like always, desperately relies on Jesus for my strength, my security, my provision, and my sanity.
And I expect to hear that still voice of God whisper-shouting, "That's enough, Robin. That's enough."