Elastic Girl

Brigetta Schwaiger Stay at Home Parent

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I am elastic.

Stretch me to buy another gallon of local milk—$3.79. The same price it was two days ago when I bought a pair. More cereal—the filler food of teen boys.

Stretch me to gather long underwear, jeans, basketball shorts, hockey socks, and smelly creatures hidden under beds and couch cushions. For washing, again. Always again. Gather, fail to sort, wash, fold, repeat.

Stretch me to sweep floors, wipe yellow spots from white rims, pull sheets from beds, dust surfaces, mop endlessly.

Stretch me to answer four-year-old questions that poke until a reply is given—Mama, what color is hot lava? Mama, why can’t I have another…? Mama, did I do so good? Mama, what do t-rex’s eat?

Stretch me to dance gracefully with my teenage boys—step not too close, but not too far away. Listen more, talk less. Watch diligently, but not stalkishly. Hold tight, but don’t let them feel the grip.

Stretch me to drive in circuitous routes of school, home, ski hill, hockey rink, rec center, baseball field, football, cello practice, haircuts, home.

Stretch me to craft responses, create beauty, find connections, dance my fingers over black lettered keys.

Stretch me to feed these future men the goodness of faith, food, knowledge, time, leisure, love.

Stretch me to give the things that nourish. Things of worship, depth, quiet, honor, physical exertion, rest. Not just to them, but to myself.

Stretch me to allow moments not filled, but full. Not things to check off the taskmaster list, but small seconds to check myself into, fully available. To be present with all senses in one beautiful moment. 

I am elastic.

I’ve dreamed of it. The superpower to stretch my arms across the room and pull my boy from an oncoming altercation all the while sipping wine and not missing a beat in a conversation. Of stirring squash soup with one hand while tapping out a story swirling in my brain with the agile, flexible fingers of the other. 

But, that’s not what my elastic was made for. It wasn’t made for dreamlike scenarios of rescue and practicality. No, no…it was made for resilience—for spirit deepening, patience growing, fiber building love work. For time that isn’t there, but must be carved and stretched. For fear that tugs and tears and threatens to split me in two. For joy so voluminous it requires my heart to blanket the expanse of all, of everything.  

On golden days, my elastic is fluid, moving as if to an unheard beat. It is smiling, laughing, triumphant, claiming, “By jolly, it all went on without a hitch!” But often it is overused and dried up. Fragments fly—pieces of temper flash, harsh words scatter, small faces pout bottom lip out, larger child faces spout words back. On those days, my elastic stretches transparent, taut to the breaking point.

But mercifully, it does not break.

There is grace enough for today.

I am elastic.

About the Author

Brigetta Schwaiger

Brigetta is a mama of four boys, a writer, and an entrepreneur. After living in Los Angeles most of her life, she packed a U-haul with her husband and carted her family off to the incredible state of Montana. She can found navigating the sock and paper piles that plague her daily or up on the ski hill. Online, you can find her at or .

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