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Welcome to another excerpt from my journal…stream of consciousness style. Partly written with sharing in mind, but mostly written for my own future reference. You can find all such posts HERE.
May 6 – Saturday
These are the good old days.
It’s the first week of May, and we move the end of June. I’m trying to pack a little bit every day. I’m also trying to sew a little bit every day. Trying to keep the house clean and the children clean and make sure we have food to eat. Trying to reach out. Trying to get all of the pictures ordered that I’ve taken since Hadassah was born in August 2020. Trying to get outside now that the weather is finally nice.
And the children are growing up. After Noah was born, I went through what I would consider one of my harder seasons of life. Hadassah was just turning two and a complete handful, often mean to her little brother. Constant supervision was required, she didn’t play very well by herself, and I had a newborn who never got very good at sleeping.
But now, now I feel light. Life is full. Life is good. Life has always been good, but this good is easier. We go to the park and go for a walk, and Hadassah wants to walk. After last summer full of toddler tantrums and poopy britches and distracted detours, my walking buddy can now outpace me and actually stay on track most of the time. This blows my mind. Especially because I did not expect it to come so soon. As a 5-year-old yes, but as a 2-years-and-9-month-old? Definitely not. And the fact that she can do the huge slide at the park and climb climbing ropes and I don’t really have to worry about her that much? Maybe I can handle a few more children after all. Overall, I think mine are pretty exceptional.
A neighbor lady I was walking with yesterday asked me if we’re done (having children). I laughed and said, “NO! We would love to have more.” I love my children. Being a mother is hard, but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I don’t know what I would do without them. I’ll be sad when the days of littles are behind me, even though I know that having older children will be so fun too. And I know that every time we add a baby to our family we will probably have a season of hard, and there will be other seasons of hard not having to do with children. Of that I am sure, because we are living life in a fallen world. I’m glad there are seasons of ease in between the hard – times to reflect on how truly good life is. To be quiet. To revel in the goodness of God. The spring weather makes it impossible for me to go outside without a huge smile on my face. Bare feet, friendly neighbors, green grass, fresh air, songbird Hadassah, Noah with his impish grin…. I am His, and my life is hid with Christ in God.
Yes, there are still hard times, and tantrums, and sleepless nights, and days when we don’t get anything done, and I worry about how everyone is going to fare with the move coming up, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today is for green grass and bare feet and walks with my two walking buddies.
It’s definitely not all roses. After writing that ^^ – voice texting it while walking – the toddler had a meltdown about wanting to play at the park again instead of getting in the car to go home.
Regarding Hard Things
My husband was just gone for 2 weeks on a medical mission trip to Togo, West Africa. Single parenting is hard. To those of you who do it regularly for whatever reason, bless you. I was more than ready for Ryan to come home, but that trip gave me the opportunity to enjoy a visit from my mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and my children’s two little cousins. They all so kindly drove down from Canada to spend a few days with us. I count myself very blessed that I have in-laws who will not only come visit me while my husband is gone, but with whom I can stay up until 11:00 every night and not run out of things to talk about.
And then I took the children to South Carolina to spend time with my family. 9.5 hours driving time turned into 12 hours both ways. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Also yes. I have great memories of that trip. It was so neat to point out all the nostalgic things that my dad pointed out to us on trips up and down Interstate 81 when I was a child. The gold dome in Charleston, West Virginia. The two tunnels. The hot air balloon water tower in Wytheville, Virginia. The Tennessee Welcome Center with its beautiful view of the mountains, log cabin buildings, rocking chairs, and music notes on the sidewalk. (That was where Hadassah was running around outside, told me she had to go potty, and then proceeded to have diarrhea on her little potty in our van. I was so proud of her for holding it. As a mother of a toddler, I find myself being grateful for the weirdest things.) And we had a great time with my family! Spent so much time outside, with the horses. Barefeet in the dirt. Saw and loved Twelfth Night (Shakespeare) with my sisters in a small performance hall at Bob Jones University, second row seats to an interactive stage. Got to see my children loving their grandparents. I have close relationships with my grandparents and I absolutely love seeing my children do the same.
After we got home: another hard thing. The van isn’t working, so we have to use the car. Two car seats in the back seat and one door doesn’t work. (I have a feeling that we’ll always be those people who own their house outright but drive old beaters. So what if you have to put the van in neutral periodically when the transmission slips?) But we have not one, but two, vehicles. And the van got us safely to and from South Carolina while my husband was out of the country. The first time I tried to turn it on after our trip, it wouldn’t start. Talk about the providence of God! He surely does take care of widows and orphans.
One other perk to your husband being gone for 2 weeks is that it feels like a honeymoon when he gets home! But better, because you know each other a lot better. He got home around 1:00 am Sunday morning, and when Noah joined us in our bed early in the morning and saw Daddy, he looked a little confused for a few seconds, then a huge grin slowly spread across his face. And I savored each and every moment of help that my husband gave – at meal times, taking the children out for a jog in the double stroller, giving me an evening off at the library, putting Hadassah to bed….
He had to leave again Thursday afternoon for a medical conference in Chicago, then drove from there to Nebraska to look for good neighborhoods to rent in. Did I love that he left again so soon after being gone? Definitely not. But it gave me the opportunity to spontaneously invite a lonely friend over for dinner without consulting my husband’s schedule…and take the children out to our favorite dairiette that just opened back up for the season…and stay up late getting some projects done that I was hoping to get to before we move.
“Hard is not the same thing as bad.” This concept has been growing in me ever since I heard Abby at M is for Mama talk about it. She has a book of this name coming out soon! Be sure to check out her first book and podcast.
What is the secret to contentment no matter the circumstances? Realizing that the chief end of man is “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism) If we realize that this life IS NOT ABOUT US and what we get out of it, circumstances don’t matter nearly as much. (See Paris Reidhead’s sermon “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” for a wonderful explanation of the glorification of God vs humanism.) God can be glorified just as well in the hard circumstances, and we often remember our own frailty in the hard better than we do in the easy. See Philippians 1 for an excellent example of seeing the good in the hard for the glorification of God.
Talk to Me!
Talk to me in the comments about some blessings in the hard that you’ve been experiencing. Tell me because we want to hear about them, and YOU will feel better for writing about them. 😉