This could end up being one of those We Had the Worst Day Ever with Jack posts that unfortunately tends to populate this site.
This is because Saturday was one of the worst days ever with Jack. His right ear appeared to have blown out due to infection. We saw all the signs, but were loathe to take him to Instacare on a weekend, because neither Jack nor the medical staff in an unfamiliar place do well together. We need familiarity. Familiarity isn’t open on evenings or weekends.
We administered antibiotic ear drops, as the ENT has instructed us to do when we see drainage. We gave Jack pain relievers. We took him on thousands of rides. He (who weighs 140 lbs) took a nap on my lap.
He lunged at us, throwing things, breaking the couch, headbutting walls and windows, and screamed.
Saturday lasted for roughly seventeen weeks.
It was the kind of day where we did nothing but survive. Jeff and I were in a heightened state of tension, waiting for the next outburst, or med dose, or upset to the delicate balance of Jack is Happy Right Now, Nobody Move or Speak or Heaven Forbid Ring the Doorbell.
I’ve been following along with the #LighttheWorld campaign, applying the daily ideas for centering every day on Jesus and the essence of the season. I like the way it has reoriented the Christmas season for me, making Jesus the focus every day of the month. This is what I need more of—less busyness, less stuff, less shopping, more giving in a personal sense. Also more thinking about the reason we don’t have to live in sadness and difficulty forever.
I’ve noticed that when I’ve considered how to consciously attempt to #LighttheWorld, I can see that I’m already doing much of it. In my house. This is not because I’m saintly, but because my children require it.
I’m not being self-congratulatory.
I can thank Jack, mainly, for giving me the opportunity to minister all the time, even when I’m not in the mood. Just always.
One of the days last week emphasized being humble, like Jesus was humble to the will of his Father. I couldn’t think of anything to specifically DO that day to demonstrate humility. I listened to Christmas music while doing laundry, sweeping, unloading the dishwasher, making beds, wiping down counters, and picking up Truman’s 10,000 pvc pipes littering the house (he tells us he will one day be a plumber and I believe him). I thought about the fact that it’s a humbling thing to clean up the same messes, day after day. To cook food that people complain about. To wash the same batches of laundry, over and over.
Taking care of small people is an exercise in humility because personalities and wills and opinions are involved. My children keep me humble because their needs far exceed my abilities.
On that particular #LighttheWorld day, I guessed that my solution could be deciding to be humble by not resenting the repetitive difficulty of raising complex children. I could accept it, if not joyfully, then with neutrality and an open mind. That was my offering. I felt pretty okay about it.
And then Sunday dawned, bitter cold and clear. Jack was happier. The drops appeared to be working. Junior came with us to church. Jack sat nicely, laughing periodically during sacrament meeting. When the Primary children finished singing a Christmas song, Jack applauded.
Tomorrow’s theme is “Jesus calmed the storm and so can you,” to which I say sure. I will be the calm in the face of my children storming and screaming about all the things. I can do that. Perhaps Jack will clap for me, too.