He's been sick on and off, mostly on, for nearly a month. Four trips to Urgent care, one to the ER, another trip downtown to see a specialist and nearly as far each time we go to his primary care physician. He prays and holds me tight when shots are coming down the sterile hall and into his hospital room, and I'm blown away by my love for this child, and the goodness of a very near God.
Then suddenly he seems better, strong and sure and all caught up with his school work. So I tuck him into his bed at home, with plans that he'll be back at school "tomorrow". I walk out of his room doing a happy little dance, because I know that his older brother, the one I homeschool, has a special class day that next day too, so I will be all alone in my empty home.
All. Alone. In. My. Empty. Home.
Visions of myself resting, reading, and writing fill my heart and mind, so I dance again from the sheer pleasure of my dream. My husband walks in then and laughs. I tell him of my joy and he smiles, because he's starting to see (nearly 11 years into this parenting gig) that I need quiet spaces to rest my soul so I don't go crazy. And since he's a fan of my sanity he nods deeply.
He encourages me to go to sleep early, rather than working on that writing project with a deadline fast approaching. "Tomorrow you will have all day to write," he reminds me with a kiss.
Tomorrow I will write!
Except the child wakes up sick again... and I feel angry.
What a sad confession!
These words are just black lines and swirls on a white page, but they make me moan because they're true. And maybe they're true for each weary mom who has her plans thwarted on a daily basis; with kids just being energetic kids, families just being busy families, twins just being a double portion of childhood all at once, and husbands just being hard-working husbands. We try to claim moments for our self-care, only to have them snatched up by the ones we love most.
It's clear to see it as it really is, when it's written out neatly in rows. But in real-time our frustration over letting-go feels more like anger.
You see, my heart's explosion had very little to do with my sick kid, and so much more to do with my self-love. I know it's true because the same beast rears up when all three of my children are well and life is going along without hiccups. Everyone is happy and healthy and our schedule makes sense, miraculously. But I set a plan for myself, as simple as an afternoon at home with the family, only to get a call from my husband who says he's made plans with friends. And after church there's a women's ministry program I'd planned on attending, but my children were up too late and now they're one big riled-up basket of nerves in need of a soothing mom at home. But I didn't want to be that soothing Mama at home this afternoon... I wanted to be at church, soothing my own self.
Here's the point, Moms - We matter! And we need to dream and schedule in our health and our rest and our peaceful pockets of time to enjoy good friendship. But we must, must, must love ourselves with an elastic love - Love that gives way to the needs of others.
Oh, pin that, my friends! Pin it on your heart and your facebook page. Print it up and frame it over your bathtub, because sometimes we need Calgon to take us away, and repair what's been torn down by the daily wear and tear of our blessed lives. However, if a sick kid, a neighbor in need, or a husband who's missed his business flight home gets in your tender-lovin' way, yield. Turn off the faucet that's throwing out hot water and soothing steam, and yield.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13: 34-35