I was FB chatting with two best friends this morning, telling them that three of my kids and myself were sick, again. They were sweet, reassuring and sympathetic, especially since they know its been coming in different forms already for a few weeks. I love being able to share the minute details of parenting with these ladies. Since I love to talk, I find it therapeutic, and they get me.
This morning, my response to sympathy was, well, this is what Mom life is all about. I signed up for this. Crazy to think about. I’ll be honest, being pretty much the first in my friend groups to have children, I never gave thought to what it would actually be like to start a family. I am a bit of a leap-before-you-look person. But whether I knew what motherhood looked like or not, bringing sickness home is par for a 3 year old, unfortunately.
Not that passing back bacterial and viral sicknesses over the last few weeks hasn’t been difficult, but that I can’t complain. I have also been barraged with cuddles, reading time, broth, rice, bananas, and a break from school work. The worrying, insane store, doc, pharmacy and hospital runs, meal changes, aren’t quite as stressful as I used to find them.
Maybe it is my old age (just kidding, I’m 29), or the fact that I have had more serious kid related health issues that these things pale in comparison. But honestly I think the way I think and dwell on situations really impacts how well I can cope.
My husband and I had a conversation a few weeks ago after being a bit envious of other couples and their freedoms. Living in South Africa, having 4 children, and being missionaries have all impacted the freedoms we have physically, emotionally and financially. But instead of seeing the realities of not buying a house or not being able to visit family, we talked about the different opportunities we DO have to help our perspective.
Some weeks or months I know couples and families really have to look deep to find the things they are grateful for, we all have those times. But even if we have to look through the past and remember the highlights, we will realize that we cannot have the mountain tops without the valleys in between, not in this world anyway. Whatever journey we signed up for (career, schooling, parenthood, relationships….), we have to embrace all the normal aspects and curve-balls. Otherwise we will lose our focus, and our joy.
I have found so much freedom in accepting the curve-balls I’ve had lately, because, if I were honest, they aren’t as big of a setback as they feel in my life. Because, though we don’t often have extra, we have what we need, though we get sick, we are healthy, we are happily married, even when we disagree, and though we don’t own a home, we have one to live in, and though we miss our family, we have family to miss. There is no formula for predicting marriage, careers, ministry, schooling, or parenting. When I stopped trying to make my life fit into a certain picture or time frame, I stopped stressing so much about the unpredictable nature of my life.