Ten days ago we received hard news. This was not bad news at all, but it caused us to have a simultaneous moment -or rather, a week's worth of moments- of both mourning and gratitude. Seems news can be both hard and good.
Add to this news JAM's brain MRI (results will be received tomorrow) and the departure of my husband on a business trip last Thursday -- right before Valentine's Day and my daughter's birthday -- and it's been a crazy week.
I needed to get stuff done around the house, I needed to purge my soul a bit, but I had a sick JAM at home, and I had no back-up support. On top of that JAM is fighting a cold that has guaranteed me no more than three hours of sleep in a row for three nights straight. Poor kiddo! (Single parents - you're amazing!)
Friday night a friend invited me and the kids out to Chuck-E-Cheese. "I heard you're single for Valentine's day as well. Let's make a date out of it!"
I was about to remind her that I couldn't, that JAM was in isolation and I couldn't take him to the germ-infested restaurant, when she also said, "My girlfriend wants to come over and watch Jonathan, for free."
So I went off and enjoyed a much-needed girls-night-out with my older kids. It's rare that they get to do something out and about with me, JAM's needs often trump, so I was grateful that the way was paved for us to do this.
On Saturday I had a to-do list longer than Montana to accomplish, and much of the to-do list involved throwing out "precious" pieces of artwork and happy meal toys in the basement. I'd gotten a lot of the purging done when the girls were at school, but I needed to do more before they noticed the big trash bin in their toy room. I needed the girls out of the house.
On the way to Chunk-E-Cheese I got a call from my daughters' friends mom. "Lise wants to know if Ella wants to come over tomorrow for a play date at 10. ... Oh, and she wants to know if Mimi can come, too." PERFECT! Probably two hours of time to clean. Just what I needed.
I dropped them off Saturday morning and asked when I should pick them up. "Oh, mid afternoon" Lise's mom replied.
MID afternoon? MORE than two hours of JAM / cleaning time?!?
After lunch, sick JAM went down for a long nap and I got the entire playroom purged. Mission accomplished. After he woke up, I called to see if the girls were ready to be picked up (or, more honestly, Lise's parents were ready for the girls to be picked up).
"How about another hour?" Lise's mom cheerfully said into the phone.
So I found a sunbeam, and I sat in it. This isn't metaphorical, it's actual. It's been months and months since we had sun, but there it was, pushing its way through the cold of Michigan and onto my favorite armchair. Jonathan wanted to cuddle, so I made him sit in the warm sunbeam with me. We snuggled for half an hour before he decided playing on the floor would be more fun.
That sunbeam, that half an hour of peace and calm -- THAT made all the difference.
When JAM and I picked up the girls, Lise's mom invited me in for a glass of wine, and I got the company I very much needed. We spent a good hour discussing life before Jonathan's stomach told us it was time to go.
Sunday also brought rest. This morning, just as JAM went down for a nap, a good friend picked the girls up for church, and I sat on the couch (the sun has again gone into hibernation), threw a blanket over my legs, and sipped on coffee.
By all accounts this should be one of the most stressful weeks I've had in months. I expected the unexpected blessings to end a long time ago, but they keep being showered on us. When we really need it, friends come through. When things get difficult, time in prayer has assured us that we're on the right path. We have peace where we should have anxiety and sorrow. It seems that sometimes in the dead of winter, the sun shines on us a bit. We are blessed.
Thank you friends, for somehow knowing what we need, even before we ask.