Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I think it was the 4th of July...

Yes, a reference to an old Chicago song.

The lyrics are fitting.

You see, Independence Day was three short days ago.

I think we missed it.

My friend Jeannett over at Life Rearranged shared about their super fun celebrations (in which we used to happily participate, before we moved to Denver. I think about Andy and Jeannett every July Fourth, actually. They know how to throw a good party.)

Friends on Facebook left festive statuses about fireworks, baseball games, cold beer, BBQs.

People have fun on the 4th of July.

How did WE spend the day, you ask?

Well, we spent it sick. Me and the kids. Sick.

No fireworks. No hotdogs or hamburgers or Santa Maria style tri-tip. (Sniff, sniff.) We DID have Chinese take-out for dinner, which was great at the time...

Then that evening, Kaitlyn's fever turned into, well, the stomach flu. She woke up from a night terror (YOU don't have a child who regularly "wakes up" in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder, wringing her hands, who you can't actually wake up, or comfort, or console?) and mumbled something about feeling like she needed to throw up. But then she seemed okay. We brought her to sit with us, however, just in case--plus, she'd already had two night terrors that night. Kevin was cuddling with her, and all of a sudden...well...yeah. She got sick. All over him, and the couch, and our area rug (which seems to always get thrown up on when Kaitlyn has the flu. I swear, she aims for it!)

So, our Fourth of July was spent soothing our sweet three year old and cleaning up vomit. Glamorous, eh?

Honestly, and I know this is going to sound contrived...or unbelievable...but...I felt like in so many ways, God spoke to my heart that night. Truly. Clearly it wasn't the flag-waving, pie-eating, all-American (and vomit free) Independence Day we all feel so entitled to in our country. Instead it was spent doing difficult things for a little girl that I love.

As I combed Kaitlyn's hair, wet from her late-night shower, and pulled it back into a little ponytail, and told her how brave she was and how much Mommy loves her, and how beautiful she is...and as she shakily sat in my lap and said she wanted to be near me, all I could think about was my love for her and how amazingly blessed I am to be her mom. This work that we do, we parents, this in-the-trenches-in-the-middle-of-the-night stuff, is precisely what Jesus is talking about when He says that doing something for one of the least of these is doing something for Him. No, it doesn't sound as cool as working in a home for the destitute and dying in Calcutta, but that's not where God has called me to be. He called me to marriage and to motherhood. And I interface with "the least of these" In my very home.

My vocation doesn't take much sacrifice when things are all going well. Perfectly behaved children, in the best of health, who are on the ideal sleep schedule, don't drive me to my knees before the Lord. (Not that I would know. Remember the night terrors?)

It is in the darkness, seeing my daughter sick and afraid in the middle of the night, seeing my husband tenderly care for her without complaint, when I think about God's hand in her life. These are the moments when I give thanks for all the responsibility (and yes, it's a TON of responsibility), for all that God has entrusted to me. Five precious little ones. Some days this feels overwhelming. Maybe most days.

Yet somehow, as I sprayed the heck out of my couch with Febreze, and hunted down a bucket to keep by Kaitlyn's bedside for the remainder of the night, and laughed with Kevin as we heard exploding fireworks in the distance--the only tangible reminder that it was, indeed, the Fourth of July--I felt a familiar but unique peace, and joy, that my life is what it is. Blessed. A catalyst for growth and change amidst sacrifice and occasional (though hopefully someday, regular) self-denial. And a life spent with an amazing husband who puts love into action without so much as a thought.

For the past few months I've felt a weariness in my calling. Yet over the past few days, I've felt renewal. It came at a cost, yes. Maybe it always does.

Nope, not the day I expected to have. Not at all. In some ways it was better. At the very least, it was important. Jesus blessed my heart and further revealed the magic of motherhood and the blessing of marriage, all in the simple act of Kevin and I tending to our sick little girl when we ought to have been celebrating with pomp and circumstance.

{And there could not have been anything cuter than Kaitlyn eagerly telling her siblings the next morning about her escapades the night before. They all listened with rapt attention of course. Kaitlyn was the hero of the day. Adorable.}

Now to replenish my Febreze supply.


Charity Hildebrand said...

Loved this post Brianna! Such a great reminder of what being a mom is about!

And we didn't celebrate the 4th of July either, in fact, we completely forgot about it. GASP! It's so hard to remember American holidays when you're outside of the country!

Hope you all are healthy now!

Anonymous said...

Poignant. Beautiful.

Charla Liedahl said...

I'm teary eyed. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


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