Lately, I've been feeling overwhelmed with bags, which are really but mere representatations of being overwhelmed in general. I leave the house at 7:25 with 6 bags.  A bag for work, a bag for working out after work, a bag for Anna Cate's activities, a bag for entertainment and snacks, a diaper bag. Last Tuesday culminated in a total breakdown.  At school, I was very flattered to have been asked to prepare a presentation for the school board, knew that Wednesday would be my last day in the classroom as BJ and I were heading out to Chicago on Thursday morning for a wedding weekend.

So on this Tuesday... it was sort of a typical day for my second shift: I left school at 3:10, picked Molly up at 3:20, wrestled with her in the car seat by 3:25, got Molly out of the car about 3:35 to go to Anna Cate's school, wrestled with Molly again back in the car seat, and dashed into crossfit about 3:59 with several bags. One for me, one for Molly, and a change of clothes for Anna Cate since she had swim practice at our other gym at 5:30.  During my crossfit workout, Molly starts stripping saying she has peed in her panties...Frantically, embarassed that Molly is stripping, I couldn't find the keys to our van so I could take her to change clothes. Eventually, I found them... in one of the bags. So I left crossfit, changed Molly and headed out to our other gym with Anna Cate in a swim suit.  I had planned for Molly and me to have some quality time, share a smoothie in the cafe, but she said she'd rather play by herself in the kid zone.  So I dropped her off at the kid zone, took AC to swim practice and thought I would work out.  But I realized that I couldn't find my water bottle, so I went back to the locker to get the keys to the van, went to the van. No water bottle, so I get a thermos out of the school bag and fill it with water. I do some situps and sit in the yoga room by myself and turn pandora to meditate. I try to still my mind but as the people start tricking in for the pitaiyo class, I leave. I go get AC out of the pool, get her in the shower and tell her I'll go get Molly and order them smoothies.  When I go to pay for the smoothies, I realize I can not find my keys. I dump the pool bag about 15 times, I retrace every step, I drop my kids back in the kid zone and sat in the family locker room and completely LOST it. I could NOT QUIT CRYING. I CAN NOT DO THIS!!  After several staff members helped me and embarassing myself by walking in the yoga room during a class to look for my keys, a complete stranger (who is a trainer at the gym) drove us home.  Neither girls had car seats, we came home without the van....and without the bags I needed to unpack. BJ was out of town, and on his way home he stopped by the gym to pick up the bags and we got up at the crack of dawn on Wednesday so he can take us back to the gym in the morning to get van.  No keys found. Long story, bottom line was I was overwhelmed and I lost more than the keys...

Less than 48 hours later, BJ and I packed some bags and were on a plane to Chicago to a weekend of a lifetime.  When I was a little girl, Kenneth Dotson was a teenager and came to visit my on a Saturday night. I'm all grown up, Kenneth is beyond all grown up and got married for the first time last Saturday night to a beautiful woman inside-out. We were so honored to be included in the wedding celebrating this couple and their fabulous city.

Both of them are as successful in life as they are in business and this wedding weekend had every touch possible making it first class.

 In addition to all the events of the wedding, BJ and I enjoyed long runs, sleeping in and cocktails at every turn. I loved meeting Kenneth and Kelly's friends from their past and current stations in life as well as spending quality time with my family.

And I got to hang out with those former teenagers who entertained the 4-year old me.

Everything was unbelievably beautiful and thoughtful. We felt so honored to be there.

The morning of the Sunday-morning-after brunch, Douglas said, "it stinks but we have to go back to being middle class tomorrow." Leave it to the Bateses to need to put fitting words on an occasion, I told Kelly, the beautiful bride and gracious hostess, "this couldn't have come at a better time in my life." I thought that sufficed when what I really meant was: I was in a pitiful pool of stress, riding home with a complete stranger less than a week ago because I was so overwhelmed taking care of people and bags all day long that it was so nice to be taken care of this weekend. And you are beautiful and kind and successful and I'm so thankful you and Kenneth are in my life. Overwhelmed, middle class teachers don't have a lot of friends like y'all... so I'm lucky.  It was a great time.

I found a little bit of myself again, relaxed and rejuvenated in a beautiful city as we celebrated a one-of-a-kind couple....Kenneth and Kelly.

Before the wedding, a nice long run on this Fall day helped my spirit.

I have so much for which to be grateful, a great family, a phenomenal teammate and a full life. And more than myself was found...someone found my keys at the gym.

The day after we came home, I was back at it with a new persective. I'm not going to try do the 6 bags at a time thing, which is code for I'm not going to work out twice a day or try to get Molly in and out of the car seat twice in thirty minutes. I have been recharged and finding myself full of gratitude that I have so many people who need me to take care of them.  On Monday after a wonderful day with my children and my best friend's kids, my presentation with the school board was so rewarding as was the welcome I received from my students when I returned.  My girls are the light of BJ and my life and we said as we returned to our life without too many fancy cocktail parties or convenient trolleys to take us there, "we have a great life to return to."

Like play dates with best friends...

that turn into sleepovers.

This past weekend, I devoted so much time and energy to my family and to our house and I felt rewarded rather than drained with a sense of productivity. I realized I was recharged.

Life offers me many paths and I'm grateful for this one I'm on right now with BJ, Anna Cate and Molly (and all our friends and family).  I'm going to wave this overwhelmed flag high right now, since the reason I'm overwhelmed is that I have the opportunity to help take care of people every day. What a gift that is.

I'm also pretty darn happy I got the chance to walk on a different path for a few days thanks to the unbelievable hospitality and love from Kenneth and Kelly.

Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves–or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.  ~Ayn Rand