Yesterday my children were all around me. Each day we would read books, pray, tromp in the woods, play, do chores, make messes. Their questions would begin in the morning and continue right through until they stopped moving and slept in their little beds like sweet angels. We swam, went to the library, collected insects, watched stars and ran around the house with pea shooters. I gently led them to love the Lord and to learn and grow in this exciting and beautiful world.
Sometimes, though, it was a chore and I could barely make it through the day myself. The physical, emotional and spiritual work was demanding. Sometimes there were too many spills, too many runny noses, too much noise, too many World War II airplane books, and waaay too much dirt in the house for me. On some days, my oldest would bottle up his frustrations, my second would earn and receive yet another punishment, and my third would talk talk talk until my ears literally, physically hurt. Until then, I didn’t know that was possible!
There were some days I was so tired I just wished they would simply grow up.
Today my oldest began a new job. He works and goes to school 250 miles from here. I dearly wish I could give him a hug and a ‘congratulations’ in person. My second is going to school locally, but he’s not around much. I’m lucky to get a few minutes a day with him. My third is away on a missions trip. It’s pretty quiet around here. Thank the Lord for His blessings and goodness; my fourth – my surprise child – is safely tucked upstairs in bed. I didn’t ask for him; I thought we were ‘done.’ Now, when my other three are gone and almost gone, I thank the Lord for him. God knows what’s best for us exceeding abundantly beyond what we could ask or think, and far, far beyond our best-laid plans.
So far this year, my dad and I have each had two surgeries. Four surgeries in seven months is just about enough. Today we just found out that my dad’s heart is damaged, and we have a complicated path to walk from now on.
My mother is forgetful. She repeats the stories we’ve already heard over and over again. When I drive her to the hospital, she gets lost several times, and when we walk into the hospital she gets lost. She thinks that a good lunch is three cookies, two Reece’s bars, Honey Nut Cheerios and corn curls. Actually, that was yesterday’s lunch.
This afternoon my son helped me move their car from the hospital over to their place. I drove mom in our car, and on the way she said, ‘When we get there, I’ll get those keys.’ Dad and I have an agreement. It’s a no-keys-to-mom agreement. She is simply far beyond being a safe driver. My son slipped me the keys and was ready to walk her up to her door until she got angry about our stubbornness. He wisely got into our car and let me deal with her. I now have a mother who is extremely angry with me.
For those of you who are tired and worn down – think on this. Take heart. Don’t wish for tomorrow, your children will be gone all too soon. Enjoy them. Tell stupid jokes. Sing. Walk in the woods. Raise them to love the Lord. Have fun with your kids today. As for me? I’m going back to the hospital.