Here's the thing - I'm a doer, a goer, a busy body, etc. I like to do for people: my children, my husband, my friends - it's my love language - acts of service - it's just my thing and it's not work because loving on people I love comes easy for me.
Speaking of people I love - I love people, being around people, being with people and building relationships WITH people. I keep my children and I "busy" during the week being with people because I've learned about myself that I'm much happier if I make that a priority in my life. I think sometimes others question my motives or my decision to stay "on the go", but it has been a strategic thing for me and for my kids. I came from living in KY where after much prayer the Lord provided amazing relationships over time, to NC where I'm still struggling to not only find my place, but also just find relationships that can be developed. I've been discussing my need for relationships with the Lord even before we moved and it's still something I'm asking him for daily. I tend to get lonely and depressed and just not happy if I'm at my house all the time - not doing, not going, not enjoying others and life. So...I choose to be organized enough that we can keep our busy schedule. I choose to take the chance that not only myself but my kids might quite possibly get sick because they are exposed to so many environments. I choose to cart my sleeping babies in out of their car seats almost every day when they fall asleep on the way home from wherever we've been. I choose to be ok with not having an extremely exact and specific nap schedule. My kids need a happy Momma and thus I try to prioritize what makes me happy: learning about the Lord and staying in His word, exercising, and all things PEOPLE!
Before I moved to NC I enrolled myself not only into Bible Study Fellowship, but also into Mothers of Preschoolers. Right off the bat and from the get go Bible Study Fellowship was a blessing - I honestly can't imagine my life without BSF in it. I have grown so much in my relationship with the Lord and my level of understanding and confidence in the Bible. No other study I've ever been involved in has been as intense nor as rewarding as BSF. Last year I was in a small group with nursing Moms and because of that commonality, we were all in the same stage together. I adore those girls because they kept this Momma of a new babe in a new land afloat last year but this year we were re-assigned to new groups and I didn't know anyone in my group. I'm getting to know the women in my group and I love that they are older and thus wiser - they encourage me and inspire me and I admire them. One of the women in my group has seven children and one is special needs. SEVEN!!!! It amazes me and humbles me.
My MOPS group last year was way smaller than the Moms group I was a member of in KY but I grew to love it. Before our last meeting this past year, they announced that their charter wouldn't be renewed and thus we would need to find another MOPS group if we wanted to continue in the ministry. So...this year I signed up for another MOPS group that is closer to home - my hope was that I would meet some local gals. So far I am enjoying the MOPS group but I cannot say that any deep connections have been made. In addition to BSF and MOPS, I hesitantly (only due to my already busy schedule) signed up for the Women's weekly study at my church that began in August. I'm happy to report that although it was another "thing", another "place to be" - it has been such a blessing and those relationships are ones that are developing and I'm grateful to be sinking in roots at our new church.
So our crazy weekly schedule looks like this:
-Monday we hit the YMCA after dropping K off at school & K and Daddy have BSF in the evening.
-Tuesday we got to BSF
-Wednesday we go to the Women's Group at my church
-Thursday we meet a friend to run and then I go to the gym and then after K's school she has gymnastics.
-Every other Friday we go to MOPS &on good mornings I hit the gym beforehand
Well, the two weeks my kids have been sick we've missed all of the above and it's been challenging. Not only have I missed my daily workouts and commitments, Kennedy has missed school, BSF, and gymnastics too. I was to take food to women's study and a friend had to pick it up, I missed a MOPS meeting and I cancelled plans to run multiple times with my friend. I'm not a huge fan of saying "no" but boy I've said it a lot over the last couple of weeks.
I am glad to report that everyone is well at this point (fingers crossed) but aside from regaining good health, some other things happened in our time "off" - I've had to dig into the process of pushing the pause on everything.
Instead of getting up before the kids so I could get dressed, make all three breakfast and get Kennedy's school things ready - I slept until they woke and thought it was difficult, it was also nice. I went to carpool looking like death warmed over on the days she was able to go and then I came back home and leisurely fed the babes breakfast followed by lots of cartoons and PJ's. I don't generally watch cartoons with them truthfully - cartoons are a reason for me to buzz around getting things done, but when they are sick they want you WITH them and so I pushed pause on "to-do's" and watched cartoons.
Rushing was replaced with snuggling and although I thought of all the things I could be doing, I tried to consciously push pause and sink in to the moment and smell my sweet babies' hair and just be thankful for the down time with them snuggling, playing, reading, or watching yet another Barbie movie for the millionth time in a row.
At lunch time there were still dishes from breakfast because children needed me and there was no time for cleaning. Whenever I suggested things for meal time, my suggestions were met with "I don't want that, or that doesn't sound good" etc. I know those of you who have children know exactly what I'm talking about - I'd enter the kitchen with weariness looking around at the mess and then try to pull myself up by my boostraps when nothing seemed to satisfy them. I had to consciously look at the floor (mentally push pause) and then look at them and smile and say "ok, what would you like" while convincing myself internally that the mess could and most certainly would wait.
Because Grey was so super tired from being sick, his nap schedule or shall I say lack there of was all over the place. Getting Grey and Ave down at the same time seemed impossible and so there was literally no break for me during the day to do things like, you know: SHOWER. I convinced myself that showering was over rated. In all seriousness, even in those moments when I'd catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realize I looked like absolute crap (you can't church that up people!) had to push pause and remind myself that I needed to lean in and remember that every tear I caught, every runny nose I wiped and every dose of medicine I gave was about more than their little sick bodies - it was fulfilling my purpose in this season and communicating to them that I loved them more than my tennis shoes laced up in the corner, loved them more than the commitments I had during those two weeks, loved them more than the fluffiness around my waist I felt creeping in due to the lack of activity, loved them more than the other people in my life and at the bottom of it all - loved them enough to push pause on all my selfish desires for my days and my time.
I remember when I was little absolutely loving sick days. I'm sure that sounds kind of weird, but here's the thing - I came from busy. Busy is in my bones. My Mom worked extremely hard as a teacher and sometimes tutored students afterwards and she was excellent and sought after in her career. Once home I'm sure she did all the things I do know as a Mother (laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, budgeting, bill paying and the list goes on). My Dad worked hard too and he had a 2nd job in keeping all things running and going smoothly with all of our vehicles and our home and our yard. My parents were not lazy. Lazy is something I still have a hard time understanding honestly - it's just not in me nor is it in any of my sisters. We are hard wired do-ers but I very clearly can recall being home sick with Mom and her pushing pause on her life to take care of me. I remember cold rags and plastic lined waste baskets and medicine and lots of cartoons and "what would you like to eat baby"? moments. Because I have three older sisters, finding alone time wasn't a routine thing with my parents but in those sick moments it was just me and Momma and there was sweet mixed in with all the germs because of that one on one time. I remember some stress on her part, I remember her making phone calls and I remember her still doing things around the house but I also remember her coming to stand or kneel in front of me and looking directly in my eyes to say "how are you" or "what do you need" and I remember feeling valued and special and LOVED.
I love all the encouraging blogs out nowadays for us young Moms. It can be such a rough job anymore - so many expectations and pressures and of course there's THE PINTEREST - don't get me started. I love it when I can feel despaired or just frustrated and then I pop onto Facebook and someones shared an article from another Mothers heart and it just lifts my spirits. Last week when I was feeling bad that amidst the sick Kennedy wasn't memorizing her sight words and her Thanksgiving play lines and Avery wasn't getting drilled on flashcards while I created a craft with Greyson and polished my silver (I'm kidding/sort of) I felt that pull to feel inadequate but I'm thankful that I could push pause and know that those things and feelings and comparisons and lies truthfully - they aren't from the Lord and furthermore they aren't realistic and those encouraging blogs were a reminder and gut check of sorts. I also love that I can feel like I'm at the end of me and then I turn on KLove and hear Mandisa belting out "Your an overcomer" and I feel empowered and recharged! I want my kids to be able to remember the good in sick days just like I can and thankfully I can now say (removed from the situation) I did my best to accomplish those feelings and I'm thankful.
So...this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for sick days with my babies and the perspective it brings. It's true - this time is fleeting and I feel it everyday when I look at Grey and realize he's growing and changing daily and I can't stop it. The last two weeks I've laughed, cried, gotten frustrated and weary, but mostly I've loved and it makes me happy.
What are y'all thankful for?