Whew, we’ve had a rough couple weeks. The new year began with fevers, ear infections, pneumonia, a bum knee, cavities and very cranky kids who couldn’t sleep through the night. We had a small hiatus from this sickness this past weekend, but we’re back to it with Ada’s fever and ear infection returning (which means she won’t sleep well tonight….don’t ask me why I’m still up writing this and not getting a head start on sleep).
While those things are stressful for parents to handle, what was most stressful for me was not having any time to unwind in the evenings. Normally the kids go to bed around 7:00 or 7:30, and I have the rest of the night to do whatever my little heart pleases. But with the sick kids, there was no “bedtime”- kids and hence adults rotated in and out of beds, bathrooms, bedrooms, and the couch all night long as we tried to find the perfect combination of most comfortability and least chance of the kids waking each other up with their cries of restlessness and pain. (Have I told you that we live in a really old house with thin walls, creaky floors and no carpeting to absorb sound?) By the end, we had the right mixture of room, kid and parent down, and while jake and I hadn’t slept in the same room for most of those 2 weeks, we managed to get a decent amount of sleep.
Isn’t being a parent crazy some weeks? One change in a household can send everyone’s moods and schedules haywire. The interconnectedness of family, especially with small children, blows my mind some days. In our home, I’ve learned that how we all wake up in the morning can very much determine the rest of the day’s events. How we treat one another is so important in helping the day go well. If one of the kids decides to annoy their sibling that day, then the sibling gets annoyed and angry, which causes me to do a whole lot of talking and re-directing, which causes Ada to get grumpy because I’m not paying much attention to her and the other two are being louder than she would like. This cycle in turn causes frustration to well up in me because I feel like I don’t have control over my kids (lol, and of course I don’t, but when things go well I like to think that I do), and then I get grumpy and short-tempered with them. Alas, the cycle continues.
I think this happens on a larger scale too, out in the “real world.” We honk at the person who cuts us off in traffic, which ticks them off and makes them less gracious to the gas station worker. That gas station worker gets tired of being spoken to like they aren’t actually a person and they go home and are snippy with their wife/husband. It’s a cycle. I guess Jesus knew this was how things worked, because he told us to love one another, and that the way of the Kingdom is through turning our cheek, loving our enemies, and practicing mercy. The world will know us by our love. Love really does cover a multitude of sins.
So tomorrow is a new day- a new day to show mercy and love and kindness. To give to those who don’t “deserve” it. To offer kind words to those who are rude. To offer a word of encouragement to the one who I feel like isn’t doing their job. Let’s all try and find one way to love someone in a surprising way tomorrow and then share about it!