I am just starting to feel a bit better after having a flu-like bug for a few days. Yesterday I scheduled a babysitter to come 11-5 today to take my son to the park, movie, etc. and then to karate. He needs to get out and play. All his friends are on vacation, at camp. He is bored and I don’t blame him.
For the first time in three days I ate a little something for breakfast and have been up for a couple of hours. The sitter was to arrive at in an hour. . . and she just texted me. She “forgot” that she was volunteering for a nonprofit organization today. “Can I come tomorrow instead?” she asks.
Uh . . .no. I specifically told her, at 4 PM yesterday, the reason I needed her was because I’d been sick and needed a day of recovery and help with my son.
Everyone always says, “You need to take care of yourself.” Easier said than done.
Yesterday, while I laid on the bed, my son entertained himself. Video games, playing with cars, DVDs. I gave in to my need to just rest and disregarded being a “good” parent. When Daddy came home he took him to the park for an hour as his “reward” for being such an understanding kid.
But I don’t get to do that another day. When you are sick you get a 24-hour pass. It doesn’t matter if you are chronically ill on top of being sick. One day, maybe two if you are lucky, and then life needs to return to normal.
I need to head to the shower. Find the strength to get dressed. And then go to the movies, the park, something. And try not to vomit.
A friend called to see if my son wanted to go to the movies with them for a 9:30 show. “No, we have a babysitter coming,” I said.
I am bitter. I am angry. I am sour.
I slam things around in the kitchen and tell my husband how unfair it all is.
“Between my body and circumstances, it does no good to even plan!” I holler! “I arrange to get my infusion Friday, I get a sitter for that, I see if you can get off work to drive me, and then I have to cancel it all since I am sick. So, to try to take care of myself. I get a sitter for today to help out with Josh, I cancel the housekeeper today so I can be home and rest. And now none of it matters! Instead, I will be sitting at McDonald’s taking Excedrin to get through it and hope I don’t throw up!”
He acknowledges I am speaking and quietly says, “I have to get ready for work.” He’s already been up at 4 AM with Josh when he couldn’t sleep and taken the cat to the vet this morning because she is sick too.
He slips out of the room before I yell at him instead of just to him.
My son follows me around telling me to just “call another babysitter.”
“There are no other sitters, honey,” I say. “Mommy will take a shower and we will go do something. We’ll get out of here today, okay?”
“Call Ashley,” he says.
“Ashley doesn’t work for us anymore. Ashley cancelled too many times at the last minute,” I explain. “And I didn’t trust Ashley to drive you anywhere.”
He keeps tell me to find another sitter until I yell, “There are no other sitters! And if you keep bugging me about it you are going to use up all of my energy and I won’t have any left to take you anywhere. Do you understand?”
He looks at me. “You need to rest, Mom.”
I hug him. “I am sorry, sweetie. Mommy is trying, okay?”
He goes back to his video game.
Oh, God. I am so sorry
I am justified in having these feelings, right? But I have not learned when to speak my mind to my loved ones and when to speak it to God. When to allow others to know what I have to say and when to filter it so I don’t hurt them. When to take responsibility for what comes out of my mouth, but still feel like I am heard without sugar-coating my feelings.
Psalm 20:1-4 says,
God answers you on the day you crash. . .
Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
Exclaim over your offerings,
Celebrate your sacrifices,
Give you what your heart desires,
Accomplish your plans. (The Message)
There is one last option. A friend has just returned home from vacation and she is the one that called this morning about the movie. She had said it is the first day of normalcy for her family to get in the groove of life again. But maybe. . .
I text her to see if there is any way Josh could come over and play. She calls back and says, “I will pick him up in an hour and we’re going swimming so have him pack a bag.”
God has sent me reinforcements from His “Holy Hill,” dispatched fresh energy and supplies from a friend when mine are dwindling.
I should have watched my tongue. Instead of complaining to my spouse, talking to my mom, whining to the Lord, I should have just asked God for help. I need to do a better job of finding a quiet place to escape for 60 seconds to just talk to Him instead of sending up little “Lord help me” prayers in the midst of chaos.
But it’s happened so many times before Satan whispers to me. You have God for help on days like this and He’s not sent those reinforcements. You’ve just had to deal with it. You have a right to be angry and annoyed.
But I don’t. I must remember “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Oh, thank You, Lord. It is not about finding something for my son to do, nor even just about taking care of me, but rather the huge grin on his face as he heard me saying, “He’ll be ready.” It is about trusting You will provide when You know I really need it.
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.