Andy is finally home after being gone almost all of the past 2 months!!!!
I can’t even tell you how happy we are, I am, to have him home. The kids have missed their daddy and I have missed my best friend.
I didn’t even realize how lonely I was until I had him home again. To talk to, listen to, laugh with, show funny internet memes to, hold hands with, cuddle with, even to cook for!
The past couple of months have been very challenging, but also incredibly eye-opening. Here are some lessons I’ve learned…I don’t want to forget these things:
I’m not as strong as I’d like to think I am. Sure, I can handle everything and manage to get by, but I didn’t survive these months without some very humbling low points. I need my husband. I need other people’s help, support, and encouragement in my life. I need God so.much.more than I realize.
Doing everything by myself these past months has proved to me that I can do everything by myself. Stick with me on this for a minute… I learned that it’s physically possible. Not that I should do it alone, but I can. I think I was subconsciously always trying to prove that to myself and to Andy. I think it’s why I resisted his help and why I always felt guilty when he would do anything with the kids or around the house. I know I’m a little crazy, but somehow now that I’ve “proven” this to us both, I don’t feel pressure to have to be so independent and stubborn anymore! I treasure his help now, and I’ve learned how much I need it and how important it is that I get away from my “job” from time to time. Being a mom who is on duty 100% of the time handling everything alone and never getting away from her job isn’t virtuous. It’s a recipe for disaster.
God will raise up people around me even if they’re not the ones I expected. I spent too much time being hurt that I didn’t hear from certain family members during this trying time, and that caused me to be temporarily blind to the lovely people that DID step in to care for me. The texts from friends asking how I was holding up were priceless. I didn’t need anyone to come over to do chores, but knowing someone was thinking of me was such an encouragement to my heart. A dear mentor had yummy treats delivered to the house. A kind neighbor stopped over during the evening ‘witching hour’ to bring little things for the kids or feed Drew so I could eat dinner or just chat since I hadn’t had an adult conversation all day. A sweet woman from church told me week after week to pick a morning for her to come over for a couple of hours so I could leave the house alone. A friend convinced me to come over in my pajamas with all the kids to hang out on a rainy day and her continuous generosity has inspired me to be a better woman. These were women I didn’t expect to be the ones to support me, but whose tangible love touched me so deeply.
I have to be ok with letting certain things go. It’s OK to tell the kids they have to go play on their own so that I can do something that fills me up or even just have some quiet time. I don’t have to make a big dinner every night, we can eat simple and fast things that are healthy, but uncomplicated. Dishes can wait until the next morning. School can take place in the afternoon. People can come over when the house is a mess. I can push and push and push to make everything happen the way I think it should, or I can let go and breathe deep knowing that I’m perfectly loved despite all those things.
Facetime sucks. I’ve said it before, but Facetime is one of my least favorite things ever!! The kids can be totally fine and the minute a Facetime call initiates they turn into little monsters. Hogging the screen, pushing and shoving, gathering up 101 items to “show dad” up close in the camera. Drew grabs at the screen, threatening to end the call. Grace thinks she’s the only person in the universe. Avery runs away and won’t come back. It’s always too dark on my end and I can never get all of our faces on the screen, AND I forever have an odd scowl and 4 chins. No thank you. There’s nothing like REAL face time and I’m so glad Andy is home so we get a break from that special form of technological torture!
Prayer is powerful. I mentioned that I had some very humbling low points while Andy was gone and those usually involved me losing my temper with the kids. I would try so hard to be patient and kind and gentle and they would keep pushing and whining and arguing and I would just lose it and start yelling. I don’t think of myself as an angry person, but this crazy rage would bubble up inside me and spill out in these intense moments. I came from a home where yelling wasn’t uncommon and I decided I did not want that to be the kind of home my children grew up in. I’m all about authentically expressing hurt, anger, disappointment and sadness, but I do not think it has to happen in the form of yelling and screaming. It’s scary and unnecessary. No amount of self-control seems to be enough in the moments you’re on the brink, but there is something that helps…prayer. I didn’t cry out to God fast enough in some of my rough moments, but there was always an opportunity to gather my babies into my arms and pray aloud to God for forgiveness, mercy and grace. This practice would supernaturally change the emotional thermostat in our home. In fact, it was so powerful that Grace began praying aloud for us all when things even started to get tense. Her little child heart saw God’s goodness and it strengthened her faith and now, even through tears, she asks for prayer or just prays on her own, when things get hard. I cannot even tell you how happy this makes me. I pray she continues to believe God so earnestly.
My husband is absolutely positively top-notch. You know the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”? Well, I experienced that first hand. I have certainly been grateful for Andy throughout our marriage…he’s a great guy, and I’ve always known that. I’ve been particularly thankful for him the past few years for sticking with me despite my many failures. Somehow I don’t think I quite understood just how incredible he is until this stretch of time away from him. It’s been a combination of having him gone, seeing and hearing about circumstances around me, and I’m sure the Holy Spirit’s work in my heart, but man alive I see what an absolute gem he is and I’m humbled that he is mine. I think it becomes easy to take for granted what we have…to get into relational ruts…to become petty and ungrateful…to focus on things we wish were different. I was sliding down that slope this summer in some ways. With so many changes happening in our life, I think we’ve both experienced some inner turmoil, and that never really brings out the best in how we relate to each other. The time away was a really good reset and I don’t want to lose sight of the serious blessing that he is in my life! I love you, babe.