Bouncy House Blues

Let’s just get all the rock throwing out of the way, shall we? I hate bouncy houses. I am a bounce house Scrooge. Upon discovering at the annual church picnic that we have apparently become the kind of church that rents bouncy houses, a small part of my soul took to shriveling up.

It’s not really that I object to it as a thing that exists in the world. It’s more that having Mito Quail who get exhausted easily means that when faced with a looming inflatable house of jump, I have 2 choices, and neither do I like: a) I can be the worst mother ever and tell the quail to let gravity be their guide and deny them the play of their peers, or b) I let them wear themselves to a static-riddled frizzle and expect the energy depletion to last for days, during which time I will struggle to get enough calories and sleep into them while their emotions ricochet about like so many pool balls at a billiards table and their bodies break down. Today I chose b)… but I would be lying if I said it was with any good grace, inwardly. I hate being put in that spot. No one ever assumes that Scrooge may have had a decent reason for not throwing geese about onto everyone’s tables. I’m just saying.

I suppose, though, this is always the conundrum, whether through a genetically complicated lens or not — is it better to conserve one’s energy, or to expend it all and pay for it later? And really, I am not even talking about an overall doing-things-that-make-you-tired. The electrical work could go out on the heart of a postman who had an on-foot route for 60 years and that is different than the electrical shortage from sticking a fork in a toaster. I had already been thinking about this before the bouncy house came into view, because Saturday, I was an idiot.

There are distinctly 2 times of year that I have the dreadful habit of massively overextending myself personally, and they both have to do with the school year. The first is at the close of the academic year — the first week of summer, I bake like a loon. I give myself shin splints from baking sprees for absolutely no other reason than that I can! I have the time! Truthfully, this summer, the novelty never really wore off… it was quite a summer for my oven. The second loony bin baking day always hits me on the first Saturday after the first week of school. Again, it is the intoxicating flavor of free time in the air that sets me on a careening path into my pantry making a million things we probably don’t need, simply because I can. Ready to be disgusted? In no particular order:

  • Danish dough for making croissants and danish.
  • Pizza dough for Sunday evening.
  • Honey apple challah.
  • Vanilla brown butter pear crisp.
  • Herbed tomato tart on puff pastry.
  • Potato summer squash torte
  • Roast chicken.
  • Brown butter crumb roast cauliflower.
  • Tomato jam.
  • Orange yogurt polenta cake.
  • Pretzel challah dogs.
  • Coquette’s Eggs (caught up on your reading?).

So… yeah. You could not be rolling your eyes harder at me than I am rolling mine at myself. Each new project was just “doing this one thing…” I still got children bathed and 3 loads of laundry washed and put away, and some writing done, but by the end of the day, my body was just this whining mass of bones I kept having to drag around with me, like some ancient ritual for sending a person out to die. I closed the day out by reading 1 whole page of Erma Bombeck before falling asleep.

But then… what am I saving up my energy for? If God has called me to the bouncy house, I had best hit the ceiling, right? This last week felt like too much, too many directions my mind, my hands, my feet, my heart needed to go… and in my strength, I couldn’t last a day. But if I am walking in His will, if I am flinging myself into His calling with all that I’ve got, then He will provide what I need. I don’t have to fear the post-bouncy house low — He has rest built into my week and I am to take it with the same open hands that I use to offer Him all of my time and energy. When God says jump, don’t even delay by asking how high — just JUMP.

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