You Can’t Have It All

This morning, Lydia wouldn’t let go of me. She stood on her booster seat at the kitchen table and hugged my neck, her tears dripping onto my jacket. She has never done this before when I have left for work, and I have left for work regularly at or before 8 AM every day since moving to Ashland last fall. It sucked.

Lately I have been dwelling on the stay-at-home mom. Brandon is great with the kids and I love my job, but it’d be really great to just stay home, for weeks at a time, and when I’d had my fill with homelife, caught up with laundry and done all of the deep cleaning that needs to be done, I’d just go back and work some more until all the work at work got done, and so on until Elvis enters kindergarten. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Why don’t employers offer these work structures? Probably because they are completely unrealistic.

As cliche as it is, you can’t have it all. I try, no doubt, but it isn’t possible.

What I really want right now is some apple crisp. It’s fall and I am ready for harvest food. So I’m going to make apple crisp tonight after the kids go to bed, or I’m going to get it all ready and make it tomorrow. I don’t know yet. It’s for small group, anyway, so that I don’t eat it all myself. Mmmmmm I do love the apple crisp. In partial fulfillment of the apple craving, I shared a cup of hot apple cider with a friend yesterday and it was OH so good. I have overactive tear ducts. When I laugh, I also cry. Something is wrong with me.

In spite of this morning’s episode with Lydia, I have had the cup-overfloweth feeling lately. Ah, the trees! Ah, the blue sky and sunshine! Ah, children and their funny voices and warm hugs and wet kisses! Ah, food! Ah, friends! Ah, God is good! It’s all rather nauseating if you aren’t in this place reading this. I just finished a book, called Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies by Brian Doyle which was basically celebrating all of these good things without the sappy sentimentality that usually accompanies expressions of joy. It is a great book if you are looking for quirky, smart, short essays on good things.

I am going to continue salivating at the thought of apple crisp. That’s just how it is. This is. How. It is. You can’t have it all. 🙂 BUT, you can have long walks to the playground with your kids and a pretend cup of tea and muffins on the front stoop of a stranger’s house.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

2 thoughts on “You Can’t Have It All

  1. Apple Crisp sounds yummy right now. What about becoming a teacher. You get the summer off and random weeks throughout the year. So you can have weeks at home and go back to work, just not when you feel like it.


  2. I decided I’m no good at teaching after subbing for a year and teaching web design for a semester 😉 In an ideal world, I will earn my MFA and be able to teach writing, but I really do like my job, so it’s not so bad doing this all the time. 🙂 Ah well heh


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