Be careful asking God to reveal things about yourself that you need to change. This summer has been one revelation after another, for me.

Sarah and Abbie have been gone for a week, traveling with their grandma to see Luke’s brother and his family. There was a rumor that Abbie was getting homesick, and when we here at home heard about it, we wondered why that would be. Sure, we are a remarkable and missable bunch, but look at all she was getting to do there, that she doesn’t usually have the opportunity to do. A day later we could see that those fears were a little exaggerated; she was having a great time and told Daddy all about her roller coaster ride.

Yesterday I read a blog post that got me thinking. The lady was saying that every day her son was gone at camp she hurt inside knowing he was an hour away. As I pondered this today, the thought came to me- do I miss Sarah and Abbie like that? Yes, we can’t help noticing they are gone, with less places to set at the table and more seats available in the van, but am I in pain over the void they have left? No, I would have to say, I don’t miss them like that. When Luke leaves, I miss him like that, but I don’t feel that when my children go away.

On the one hand, this is a good thing. The child who is away is most likely coming back, and while they are gone they will have a wonderful time. On the other hand, maybe this reveals a part of me that resists getting close to people, even my own children. I could excuse myself by pointing out how many children I have and how many daylight hours there are…but I think this is a time for introspection. Do I intentionally try to spend one on one time with each of my children, getting to know them as people? If not, this should change. Steps to this end will be small while we are still in a season where the littles exist and are so demanding of my time and attention. But I must start somewhere.

Another good thing to remember is how overjoyed I feel when the child returns. I might not have been devoting much brain time to them during their absence, but my heart immediately knows when they are home again.

Nailed It

My friend Diane made a comment today that I thought was especially relatable to my life these days:
“The women on our vacation aren’t really on vacation, they’re just doing their jobs in a different place.” {loosely quoted}

This is exactly what is wrong with me, or at least what I am allowing to steal my joy this summer. I am not on summer vacation. I am simply doing the same jobs under different circumstances. Laundry for Luke’s backpacking trip. Driving the kids to camp. Going to the pool and sitting in a chair with Elijah on my lap.

In my most gracious moments, though, I can see how such good training in humility this can be, looking out for the interests of others when their interests are much more interesting than my work. And, I know that I do not want my children looking back and remembering how much “Mom hated…” doing this or that for them.

Diane also reminded me that I am not far away from the time I will get to have a ‘real’ vacation again, where we have room service and go out to eat at restaurants. Great husband that I have, I have even had some good trips like that in the midst of these childbearing years. Another really good thing about pregnancy- the child is still within, low maintenance, and the other children are usually detached enough old enough to stay with a grandma.

So, I will endeavor to continue to create good memories for my children that may or may not include my direct happiness. After all, that was my calling from the beginning, to pour out my life on behalf of these anothers.

Each of you should not only look to your own interests, but also the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

Something to Blog About

My fitness class (Mommy and Me) was canceled today because of the holiday, so I went for a run in the late morning. I wanted to go some distance today, because the last two times I have run I have brought Aliyah, or Sarah, with me and they don’t go too far. They are giving running a shot, though, and I appreciate that. So I was about three-fifths into this long run, when I started needing to go to the bathroom. What to do? Running home, or even walking there didn’t even enter my mind, but my first thought was of the nursing home at the end of my road that was actually much closer. As I continued running in that direction, I tried to think of what I would say if someone stopped me in the hall and asked what I was doing there, all sweaty in my wife beater and basketball shorts. Maybe it would be like the looks I get at McDonald’s when I just come in for a water, or to use their WiFi. Hey, I think, I have spent a lot of money here. Maybe no money has changed hands at the nursing home, but I have been there a lot in recent months for more legitimate visits. Still, what to say? I looked around me. One way I might avoid that confrontation was to squat between rows of corn in the field nearby, as they would be just tall enough to hide my hunched over body. But visions of deer loping along at just the right moment, taking me out, and my extreme need, kept me going and actually served to motivate me that extra half mile I needed to cover. I would have to be honest if asked, plain and simple.

When I got there, I was able to walk all the way back to the nurses’ station before passing anyone who wasn’t a resident confined to a wheelchair. This has been the way it is each time we have come there recently to sing- very open door, without anyone really noticing who is coming and going. I guess that works for a small facility like this nursing home, out in the country. Who is really going to come in to do any harm there? This definitely worked in my favor, until the restroom I found didn’t have a lock on it and an elderly man walked in on me right before I would have gotten down to business! I realized I ¬†would have to ask someone, and didn’t relish having to bring attention to my being there. There was a lady in scrubs at the nurses’ station, and I asked her where the public restroom was. She smiled and motioned for me to follow her back down the main hall, explaining as we walked that they kept the bathrooms locked to keep “wanderers” out. “But I’ll show you where we keep the key,” she whispered conspiratorially. Does anyone else see the humor in this? Who wandered in off the street just now, heh heh.

Leaving the nursing home feeling much better, I decided to try to run all the way home. I made it! Luke told me it was about 3 miles. I liked the added distance to the nursing home, how the road is flat and one can just coast along there. I will try to run that far from now on. And I now know where the key to the bathroom is should I need to wander on inside again. It’s becoming a home away from home.