Things here have been hectic to say the least lately. My husband is sick with some sort of unknown illness and has been in and out of doctors offices and the emergency room for weeks. All we've been able to figure out is what it's not. They've prescribed him an army of medications that all seem to be doing just this side of nothing for him. It's gotten to the point he can't work a full day most days because the pain gets so overwhelming. He's doing his best to grin and bear it, to hide the intensity of his pain but as the days wear on it's clear he's falling apart at the seams. He is truly the St. Joseph of our family, working hard and doing all he can despite his own setbacks to take care of the family God has given us. Suffice it to say this has been really stressful for both of us and the kids, who are too young to understand why Daddy can't play pony today or why his energy is so low. In all of this I'm struggling, struggling to find a voice for my prayers, patience with my children when I'm distracted by worst case scenarios, and most of all I'm struggling to find joy.
These days even a small moment of joy is enough to fuel me through the rest of an unpredictable day. I'm holding on to my little moments tightly, doing my best to remind myself over and over again how lucky I am. With four children these moments come surprisingly often (mind you they are perfectly balanced with the complete pandemonium that four crying, screaming kids can bring). Each child has their own unique way of reminding me of why it is I keep getting out of bed each morning to jump into the fray, especially on my weaker days.
Today, as I lay in bed giving baby girl her first feed, she fell asleep next to me, and giggled in her sleep. She has a deep chuckle for such a little girl and I could barely stiffle my own giggle watching her smile at whatever hilarious dream she was having. I've struggled so hard with breastfeeding and these little moments remind me why I fight every day to keep that relationship strong. It's helping me to grow my already strong bond with my baby girl.
Our eldest, the little princess, has had the honour of giving me a reliable moment of daily joy for 10 days. She's signed up for a charity campaign where she draws a picture on a chosen theme for 30 days and people pledge to support her. My 4 year old artiste has already raised $150 in support of an AIDS/HIV charity. That's wonderful enough, but to add to this I have the joy of watching her mind work through the idea of her challenge for the day. She usually ends up chatting her little heart out and gets completely distracted before I remind her of her drawing. I then get to watch her bend over her paper with great intensity as she fulfills her task.
Our oldest boy is my little button pusher. He's the screamer, pusher, and definitely the go-to guy if you have a question that demands an answer of "no". I love his spunky and independant spirit even if he drives me a little crazy sometimes. For all of his spiritedness he's truly a gentle soul, and is becoming a doting older brother to his roommate, his little brother. He's started this little habit that I have no intention of breaking (for so many reasons): whenever we get home from being out he gently asks his brother to sit down, then he very carefully takes off his brother's shoes for him. Then, if he can get him to stay still he'll take off his brother's coat. So precious. Some day I think he'll make a great Daddy.
Now our little man, Daddy's shadow, can't help but be adorable. He's on the small side for his age and has just started climbing all over the furniture, a feat his stature had denied him previous. Besides this, he's also started forming full sentences and the results would melt any mother's heart. A lot of what he says involves his brother, running the gamut from "Brother, where ARE you??", "Brother, play with ME!" to "NO, brother. NO!". It's great to see him coming into his own and even better to see that he adores his roomie. I must say though, what really gave me a little burst of joy seems so inconsequential from the outside, but was for me another memory to store in my heart for the lean teenage years sure to come. My wee 20 month old boy, covered in markers, came up to me with a look of the greatest trust and earnestness and, holding up a marker in his perfectly formed little hands, asked me in the sweetest voice: "Mommy, please help me with this. Please!" He wanted me to help him uncap his marker, no biggie. The best part was right after, completely unbidden, he followed up with a big smile, a hug and an unmistakable "Thank you, Mommy!" before he ran back to drawing with his brother and sister. Melt.
I'm writing these little moments as much to help myself remember in the tough times as anything. I want to soak up these moments, live in these moments and treasure them as the precious miracles they are. These moments also help me appreciate the personalities of each of my children, which is a blessing in and of itself. I thank God that He keeps giving me these little moments to get me through and remind me that there's always light in the dark places, I just need to keep my eyes open.