Okay, I have four kids. That’s more than average, but it’s not big in the part of town I live in. We’re about to add number five. That’s a bigger family and puts our family squarely in a different family style than a 1-3 kid family…. but again, it’s neither unusual nor exceptional. One of my kids has special needs. If I want to simplify what that means, it means I have a toddler who will stay a toddler for some time longer. Not at all strange to have a toddler in the house.
So when I simplify and downplay stuff… my life is totally normal and I begin to wonder… am I weak? Because I can’t do a lot of the things. You know, the play dates, the activities, the participating with other families things. All these awesome summer activities we’re doing, like going to the fair and going camping… they just barely happen.
And then I stop. I talk with Brian. And together, we acknowledge our hard work. I think this applies to all parenting, all work, all the good, hard stuff. But it applies to me too. This is hard work. Being Jordan’s parents is hard work.
Have you ever owned a puppy? You know that feeling of constant vigilance? The keeping them with you, chasing after them, finding them… constantly trying to protect your property from being chewed or peed on? The mopping of pee from a carpet… trying to get poop off of whatever it’s on… the deliberate calming of internal emotions so you don’t spank the puppy too hard when you discover something you value has been ruined by indiscriminate and destructive play? You know going places with a puppy… especially a full grown but young large-breed puppy. They jump on people, dump things of of picnic tables, pull on the leash, drag behind, and bark or whine endlessly so that you can’t participate in any of the picnic games. There is a reason that Jordan’s given icon is a paw print. He is so much like a big puppy!
We cannot leave this puppy unattended. We can’t leave him home when we go places. It’s not okay to leave him whining or barking. And he doesn’t speak English. And he does all those things. When we go to the fair, I see about 10% of what’s happening around me. I don’t remember taking many of the pictures. Because my attention is 90% on Jordan. Going to the fair is exhausting and stressful for him. Therefore it is for me.
Anyway, this isn’t really for anybody’s benefit from me. Sometimes I need to acknowledge my hard work. Sometimes I need to be proud of me. Sometimes I need to look into myself and see all this awesome strength. Sure, I am tired and I fail a lot of things. I get grouchy and I’m not the parent I want to be. BUT…. I am doing a lot right. Being tired does not mean weak. It means I have a big, important life where I’m pouring myself all the way out for my family. Somebody once spoke over me… they told me that I am a conduit of God’s love. They told me that when I believed myself a failure. But I’m not. God’s put me in a place with great responsibility for these children and I am honored and challenged and relying on God daily.