To say it's been a rough week would be an understatement. No, I'm not here to complain. I'm actually here to be a living witness that our trials mold and shape us and help prepare us for future trials. I shall explain.
Throughout my toughest years of depression and self-doubt, asthma and heart problems, learning to survive with four children under the age of 6 and facing other external trials, I discovered a few things:
1. Heavenly Father loves me
2. Nothing is permanent (time passes)
3. I am stronger than I think I am, but even stronger with Jesus Christ
Those things got me through some pretty tough things. Yes, medication and therapy did, too, but those were key. Key.
So, I've learned those lessons (still learning those lessons). I am here, mothering even more children and facing life with even more physical limitations. This week, my husband happened to be traveling for work and I've discovered that my paternal grandmother is in the hospital not doing well (I'm actually having a devastatingly hard time with the thought of losing her).
Yesterday was horrid. I lost my patience, I screamed, I yelled, I said things I regretted. Sure, I apologized. Sure, I spent extra time listening and hugging and apologizing later that evening before bed, but I realized it was my fault. It was my fault because I had not been prepared.
In fact, I had a whole blog post in my head about how just being prepared the tiniest bit would have prevented every tongue lashing I gave my kids. It wasn't their fault --honestly, it wasn't --and perhaps if I had the foresight to just get up and get going, rather than sit and procrastinate and then be shocked when things get complicated due to my negligence...?
But instead of only focusing on that subject, I need to write about how what I learned then (see those three things up there) helped me learn now (see below) along with this idea of being prepared (Cub Scouts got something going there...).
Let's look at today. Here was my schedule:
2:30AM: #6 wakes up crying --he's getting over a cold. Help him get back to sleep.
5:40AM: Wake up with an asthma attack. Pray like crazy and take care of it (it's related to my cold/virus/whatever and will get better --always does). Can't get back to sleep. (Usually I'd be out walking by 6AM, but I gotta start breathing right again first.)
6:02AM: Shower (place of physical cleansing and spiritual connecting), get dressed
6:30AM: Clean up clogged toilet in hall bathroom; take towels to laundry, start laundry, start dishes
7AM: Kids up, scriptures and prayers
7:20AM: Run to the grocery store for some green smoothie ingredients, #2's favorite bread for her home lunch (field trip today), root beer for pack meeting, and fruit leather as a surprise for the kids
7:40AM: Sign #1's papers, see her off to carpool, finish getting other kids ready for school, finish dishes
8:10AM: Say good-bye to the big kids, bathe little boys
8:45AM: Dress boys, clean counters, sweep floors, pick up living room
9:30AM: Hang out with cousin and make green smoothie. And then drink green smoothie. :)
10:30AM: Dental appointment for #5 and me (cousin watched #6)
Noonish: Eat lunch
12:50PM: Preschool appointment with #5
1:30PM: #4 home from first grade (early out the first week) and hang out on internet for a while
2PM: Help #4 with homework, read little boys books
3PM: #1 home from school, talk about her day, help get #4 ready for soccer practice
3:15PM: Take #4 to soccer practice, take #5 with me to the store.
4:05PM: Finish at the store (called kids to remind who needs to be ready for what and for when) and go wait to take #4 home from practice. Talk to my sister on the phone.
4:30PM: Get home and get everyone ready for various soccer-related stuff. Say good-bye to #1 and wish her luck on her game
5PM: Already late, drive #3 to soccer practice
5:15PM: drop off #2 to her soccer game, get #5 situated at his soccer game.
5:40PM: go pick up #3 from soccer practice, drop him off at the church for Pack Meeting with root beer
6:00PM: Go finish watching #5's soccer game
6:40PM: Take kids to Pack Meeting (it was a potluck --such a blessing that they were still there and fed us dinner!!)
7:10PM: #1 comes to church and is able to grab dinner last minute.
7:55PM: Drag kids away from friends at church and go home
8:05PM: Sweet friend brings over freshly picked raspberries from her garden for me!
8:10 -9:15PM: Help with homework, change diapers, help with pajamas, try (and pretty much fail) to convince kids to pick up after themselves
9:20PM: Family prayers
9:21PM: One more story
9:24PM: Put #5 and #6 down (with #1's help)
9:26PM: One more drink
9:35PM: Sit on the couch after sighing, sighing, sighing at the incredible mess all over the house. Promise myself I'll clean it tomorrow. Start writing this blog post, check Facebook, etc.
10:02PM: Tell big kids to turn off the lights and go to bed!
Okay, so what is the point? The point is that: A. I was prepared to accomplish this day from the get-go. I was up early, I was ready to face the day. B. I didn't yell at the kids much today and I didn't lose my patience because I was... yep! Ready to face the day. Prepared. And C. I couldn't have done this if I hadn't experienced my earlier life.
Experiencing debilitating depression in 2008 and beyond prepared me for the now. If I hadn't learned those three things up there at the top (go back and read 'em again), today would have not happened. At all. I would have given up. I would have made my kids skip everything. I wouldn't even know where to start. I would have been a ball of unrelenting darkness and self-loathing, sitting on the couch, wondering how to get up. Instead, I was able to do what I did because the past has shown me how.
And honestly? Honestly? It wasn't that hard. It keeps getting easier. Not that my life gets easier (I still have terrible days --yesterday, for one), but I am prepared to face whatever comes next.
Does any of this make any sense at all? (I really feel like I'm just brain-vomiting at this point).
I'm pretty sure I won't have days like this every day. But I do know that they are possible. I can do hard things, thanks to Heavenly help. Thanks to lessons learned. Thanks to "Christ which strengtheneth me."
And I love my children. And adore my husband.