Yesterday was such an overwhelming day (the first day of me completely by myself with the kids) that at one point, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I found myself driving around in circles with all three kids in the car listening to a CHRISTMAS ALBUM because it was the closest thing to worship music that I had in my car.
And then, today.
Myer woke up at 4:30AM as usual, climbed into my bed and started hitting me with his jingle block until I finally told him to “go find daddy.” Chris gets up around 4:30 or 5:00 in the mornings so he can have some quiet time before he goes to work, but I was unaware that this morning he actually left the house at 4:50 to go read and study up at the church for a bit.
When I told Myer to “go find daddy”, I had no idea daddy wasn’t in the house.
Normally, Myer would just come right back to my bed and proceed to pull me out from under the covers until I got up. But he never came back into the room, and I fell back into a deep sleep. Truman had been fussing all night and I had only gotten a couple hours of sleep.
At 7:00, Ezra came into my room and told me that Myer was on the couch and he was all wet.
I figured his diaper had leaked, and came out into the living room after I got Truman all situated in his bassinet.
Myer was on the couch, and he was covered in vomit. Chris was gone. And I smelled… peanut butter.
My head started spinning. Chris had made Ezra’s lunch before he left, with a peanut butter sandwich inside. Myer had come out into the living room BY HIMSELF at 5:00 in the morning and found the lunch on the counter, opened it up, and eaten some of it while I was fast asleep in my room.
Myer is allergic to peanuts.
He had a rash on one side of his face and his eye was all red. He was crying because he had just thrown up. I ran and got him some Benadryl and tried to calm him back down as I cleaned him up and the mess up.
I kept a close eye on Myer for any wheezing/breathing issues, and within an hour, he was acting like he felt better and the rash disappeared.
He is fine now. But it could have been so so so much worse. What if he’d had serious breathing issues and no one was around to react? I’m trying not to play the ‘what-if’ tape too obsessively in my head and just be thankful that God was watching over my baby when no one else was, but I can’t shake this feeling that we just narrowly escaped some out-of-control freight train. I feel… lingering dread. A mixture of fear and relief.
Now we know that we, as a family, need to keep better tabs on each other in the wee hours of the morning. And I am re-impressed with the heavy reality of this job of mine. I am responsible for watching over the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of these children. All three of them! At once! ALL THE TIME! Even when I am sleeping, apparently! And I’m reminded that this weighty task would be completely impossible for me if I didn’t have a God who is bigger than me to lean on. A God who never sleeps nor slumbers.
I am also reminded that no matter how much I plan and strategize and convince myself that I am in control of things, I really am absolutely… NOT.
But mostly, I am reminded of the wise words of St. Therese of Lisieux that my friend Susanna ends all of her letters and emails with:
“EVERYTHING is grace.”
I can only take my next breath because of grace. I can only change yet another poopy diaper because of grace. And I can only survive the madness of this season of life because of grace.
When I remember that powerful truth, suddenly every breath, every diaper, and every DAY (no matter how hard!) becomes a gift for which I am eternally grateful, and an opportunity to express my gratitude in humility and with gut-wrenching thanks upon my lips.
Reality check, indeed.
Thank you, God, even for todays like today.