I can’t believe it is October! August and September ran away with me and I have no idea how I even got here. There was lots of good and a whole mess that didn’t go my way. (Obviously, since my last post was the end of July. Sigh.) I don’t even remember August, so we are going to skip that month. It’s just better that way. Then there was September…
Oh September. I had such high hopes for you! Really! I thought you and I were gonna be Besties (that’s what the kids call BFFs these days, right?). September – the month of high expectations. Fresh starts. Shiny shoes. Sharpened pencils. Hope that this year, yes this year, will be more organized and less chaotic than the last. Oh September… couldn’t you have given me a just a few days to bask in my happy-happy, joy-joy, hopeful, planning and dreaming place? Was that really too much to ask?
It started off so awesome. I mean, seriously, I did ALL our back to school shopping in ONE TRIP to the mall and no one even whined. If that isn’t a good sign I don’t know what is. This is the year that both boys will be in school a full day – one starting Kindergarten and the other First Grade. Sure, there was a little sadness underneath my skipping around but, mostly, I felt excited for them and for me. Think of all that can be done between the hours of 8:30 and 3??!! (Even with the stupid naps my body requires.) And these boys were so ready to be in school. Look at them – am I a blessed mama or what?!
Will ran all the way to school and in all his First Grader coolness barely said goodbye to his proud parents (we’re lucky he even posed for this pic). Michael was quiet and a bit nervous. He picked at his food and had what seemed to be a nervous stomach. But he’s a toughie and walked to school hand in hand with Josh and I excited for his day.
Here is Michael at his desk. Look at that cutie. In the background are those first-time, helicopter Kindergarten parents hovering over their eldest child. Josh and I having done this last year were veterans – super cool and collected, nary a tear in sight. Michael was comforting other anxious kids with helpful pats on the arm or a “Hi, I’m Michael. What’s your name?” Josh and I smiled at each other – man, were we good or what?! We got this. Michael pulled out a crayon and carefully colored the morning work in front of him.
“Do you want us to go, buddy?” we asked.
He flashed us a determined smile. “Yup. It’s gonna be a good day.”
Wow. That kid is awesome. And we were pretty much feeling like Parents of the Year. Oh, how far the prideful doth fall…
As I kissed Michael on the forehead I thought he felt a little warm, but it didn’t even register on my mama radar he could be sick on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. I should have because Townsends have a knack for getting ill at the worst possible times. But even I didn’t imagine it would get us on Day Friggin‘ One. One!!! When I picked him up from school that afternoon (7 hours later), Michael had a raging fever of 103. The poor kid had no idea he could go to the nurse and she would phone mommy to come pick him up. He did not even realize a nurse or magical phone to mama even existed. Michael collapsed in my arms and I carried him all the way home feeling guilty that I missed the signs that morning. He buried his head into my shoulder, obviously relieved to be in mommy’s arms, and whispered into my ear, “It was still a good day.” Bless his feverish heart.
Well, I think Will must have felt upstaged because at 2am I woke up to him vomiting and having exorcist diarrhea. Seriously?! BOTH of them?! On Day ONE?! Oh, come on!!! I was sick with disappointment (or the stomach flu, it was hard to tell). This was not supposed to happen – not now. Will, however, was handling the situation with undaunted optimism. As miserable as the kid must have felt, he was happily chatting away in between heaves. “It’s a good thing I’m happy when I’m sick! I must be the happiest sick person alive?!” he giggled as I gagged at the bathroom’s stench, rinsed the puke bowl and asked for a courtesy flush.
Needless to say, neither child returned to school that week. So much for our perfect start to September. Instead of school and home projects, we played with Legos, read books, watched movies and snuggled. (I will spare you a replay of all the bodily fluids I cleaned up as much as it would bring me great joy to totally gross you out.) I struggled with frustration and discouragement when I should have been enjoying extra quality time. But, not my sweet boys.
Two boys. Two big days. Expectations and excitement. Two unexpected turns. Both chose to respond positively. It’s all GOOD. “It was still a good day.” “Good thing I’m happy when I’m sick.” And in this they taught their mama a lesson about choosing joy when life does not go the way I expect it to. The way I want it to. And that was definitely good as September continued to throw me curve-balls.
Over and over again I get to choose how to respond when my day, my week, my month, and, yes, even my year, does not go according to my master plans. Sometimes I tantrum. Sometimes I whine. Sometimes I cry. But every once and awhile I do it right and choose joy in the middle of the…poop. Choose to look for the good when things stink. (And, man do they stink sometimes.)
Right now I can’t get a break from the pain, nausea, vertigo and fatigue related to my CSF leaks and saggy brain. It’s messin’ with my plans and schedule. It’s messin’ with my family. It’s messin’ with my spirit. I don’t like being messed with! I am desperately trying to hold onto the lessons of my little boys who chose to look at the good when their first week of school got messed up.
Life is full of all sorts of crazy goodness. Even though life is messing with me right now, I am so absurdly blessed. My man, my mini-men, my home, my super soft bed, my village (I have the best village) – it’s all so very good. Why do I focus on the mess more than the good?
Is life messing with you too? Let’s try to follow the example of two little boys with hearts more often attuned to God than mine. After all, the Bible did say “and a Child shall lead them.” May we all be able to say…
It was still a good day.