Navigating Through Life’s Difficult Seasons

seasonsI always classify our life bits into seasons. We have exciting seasons, inspirational seasons, seasons of growth (which technically is all the time), etc.  Our life seasons are a particular bracket of time where either there’s a trend or pattern, or something significant happens.

We are going through a season right now that I’m not particularly enjoying. It’s the end of the school year, and I’m done. D.O.N.E. I can not give a single care more on signing things, doing things, or having the kitchen counter littered with all the things. We read every night and have intelligent conversations about doing chores and how many days are left until summer. I’m ready for the final bell of the year to ring and let me rest.

It’s May and in our part of Texas, it’s already hot. We are planning pool trips, vacations, and thinking of our list of what we want to accomplish over the next few months. Our minds are already on summer and the countdown has begun. We are on the home stretch and the unthinkable has happened. The sickness has invaded our home. How in the big wide world does an entire family get hit with a virus so strong, it wipes us off the map for a week plus? It’s the wrong season for this season.

It’s already way too hot in the year for fever with chills, strep throat and vomiting. I’m done. I love our pediatrician, but I’m done with her office, the paranoia of extra germs, and the price tag that comes along with an obscene amount of multiple visits with multiple children.

We are also in the season of long, very long, hours. Hours and hours of just Mommy while Daddy is killing himself at work from sunup to sundown. I call this my single mom season and I’m not a fan. More power to any parent with multiple children who can, and do, swing it alone. It’s hard. I enjoy my babies and love our family life. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing except that I’d rather be doing it with my partner instead of pulling all day duties day after day with a slow forming mutiny. The four angels outnumber this already worn down Mama and we are at the brink of anarchy.

The other night, Little 3 was tucked in bed and fast asleep. Littles 1&2 were enjoying a show while Little 4 had playtime in her bouncy seat. It was as if the stars lined up just for me, so I could take a shower (alone) for the first time that day, at 7:30 p.m.  It was ten full minutes of bliss and I caught myself thinking, “Oh my gosh! I did it! I made it through this day in one piece without any meltdowns. I can totally do this single parent thing. I don’t want to, but I can do it”.

The very next day, I received a text that my husband was being taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. I freaked. “Oh my God! Don’t leave me!” I thought. ” I didn’t mean it!”  How stupid of me to put that “I can do it all by myself” juju out there!  Of course, I’m not crazy enough to think I sent my husband to the ER with my absurd, intoxicated by showering alone thoughts, but the coincidence was unsettling.  I wanted to chew up my words into tiny little pieces so that when I swallowed them, there was no chance of them coming back up to bite me in the ass.

The next half hour was brutal. I felt desperate and alone.  I had two kids running fevers, a very slim store of breast milk for the baby and a teeny, tiny list of possibilities for childcare on short notice. By the grace of God, a friend saint agreed to take on my lot in addition to her own three, without any hesitation. She acted as though my request was reasonable and did a service for me she’ll never fully understand. We are not related and she willingly, selflessly took in my four babies despite the illness. This is heroic and metal worthy behavior. I don’t have family I can count on that would drop everything for me in a moment of crisis. The fact that this woman with kids of her own, without any hesitation or stipulations at all, would help me in my moment of panic and desperation shocked and relieved me with just one little word, “yes”.

I cried when I called her to make this request, not because I was scared, but because I thought she’d say no and I wouldn’t be able to get to my husband in time who was an hour away.  She was not my first call, but she was my last.  The comfort of knowing my kids would be safe and taken care of, lifted a tremendous amount of weight so I could focus on getting to my husband’s side.

The women in my life have banded together and rallied around my family to get us through a difficult season of healing. In a matter of hours, we were lifted up in an abundance of prayers and well wishes. In less than 24 hours, three meals were delivered to my door to feed my family and cut me the tiny break I desperately needed but was too proud to ask for. These women are not my blood relatives, but they are my family. I am counting my many blessings for them tonight.

There are times when it’s easy for me to feel sorry for myself, because of our extended family situation. I can’t change those relationships nor can I change how it affects me. I have, however, been touched bountifully by people who are more than willing to fill in the gaps and give of themselves in ways that may be simple to them, but move me to my core.  Their examples of friendship, service, and giving are the ones I am proud for my children to witness, so they know this is how people lift each other up.

Our crazy, illness infested, labor intensive, single parent, counter full of all the things season will come to an end soon. I’m blessed to have support by those who know how hard it is for me to ask for it and who give it so willingly.

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