Who doesn’t love this time of year? Delicious food, crafts, family and thankfulness abound. And it seems this time of year brings an abundance of sickness.
Like clockwork, the colder weather and beautiful season changes deliver an array of random viruses to our home every year.
My mom would tell you that when I was young, it was always me who was feverish and miserable during the holidays. It seems my children have inherited this aptitude for catching nearly all of the colds that are so freely passed around.
So I figured it is time to confront this fact with a gratitude list. It’s said you can find happiness and be thankful for anything if you look at it with grace and acceptance. So, it’s time I stop complaining about the long nights, runny noses and coughs. I will look at the good.
I have a friend who once wrote about the joy of her daughter being sick because of the extra time she got to spend with her. This poor friend was bombarded with angry replies about how you should never be thankful your child is sick. No, of course not! But her point was not that she was grateful for her daughter feeling under the weather. She was conveying her appreciation of all of the different aspects of being a parent, including caring sick children.
A while back, my husband went away for work. The night he left I was woken up by all three of my children displaying the worst symptoms of a stomach bug I have ever seen. I literally was sitting on my bathroom floor cleaning up a huge mess crying at 4 a.m. Finally, I was able to get them all bathed and calmed down. I pulled a mattress on to our living room floor so we could all sleep close to each other (and so that bedroom carpets would be spared).
My oldest daughter woke up early, smiled at me and whispered, “This is awesome, Mommy. It’s like we are at a camp out.”
I had to laugh thinking of the “mess” I faced just hours before, and wasn’t sure if “awesome” was an apt description. She was right though. Watching my beautiful children sleep soundly as the sun came up made me feel thankful and whole. God got us through it. He gave them to me to care for; and even though I myself caught the bug soon after, I was still grateful. I felt strong. If parenting was always easy and enjoyable, we would never grow or learn.
So, here is my list of the reasons I can be thankful, even when being a mom is trying.
1. Extra snuggles.
My children are getting older and it gets harder and harder to scoop them up and enjoy those hugs that bring me such joy. When we are all under the weather, it slows us down and I can enjoy the cuddles my children and I need.
2. Family time.
Just lying in bed watching movies with my kids makes me smile. Sure, I don’t like them being sick, when it enviably happens, I relish the time we share. We craft sometimes when we’re sick. We make each other get well cards, delivered with love throughout the house.
This is something we do not often show. We are taught to be strong and independent, and not to show weakness. The other day, at the age of 32, I called my dad when I was feeling my worst and cried. When I was done with my tearful explanation, he told me he didn’t know what to do to help me feel better. I said, “You already helped. I just wanted to cry to someone.” He chuckled and said, “Yes, sometimes all we need is a good cry to our parents and we can feel worlds better after.”
Just as we turn to God when we need that extra love, our children turn to us. And it is these times when that love is displayed in our worst hours that it is the most beautiful. It’s given freely as God gives us His love not just when we are healthy and whole, but when we really need that extra dose of healing.
Pray for reprieve from the sickness and I hope all of your families have healthy holiday season! If you don’t, remember that love and gratitude, and laughter are the best medicine.