I heard this phrase yesterday for the 4th time in my life. The first 3 times were when I was VERY pregnant for each of our 3 children. Clearly I have not been myself for way too long due to a very intense cold virus that has landed me in bed at least 4 full days over the past 2 weeks and…like when I’m pregnant…going to bed extremely early every night. Nathan called the house yesterday and I wasn’t quite back from taking the kids to school and he heard my voice on the answering machine. He said he heard what I normally sound like… “happy, smiling and energetic”….yeah lately, not so much. While this (hopefully) won’t last 9 months, I want me back, too!
It has been so difficult because I feel like I am letting everyone down. I keep thinking “maybe tomorrow I will feel better”. Yesterday wasn’t that tomorrow…and neither is today. I got up and thanks to Nathan’s help got all of the kids ready for the day. I came downstairs and Emalynn took one look at me and said “You’re going to wear sweatpants, Mama!?” All I could say was “Yes, I’m sick.” It’s as if I’ve let myself go…yikes!
The guilt is inevitable I suppose. I remember the first time I got sick after Emalynn was born. I was devastated and felt like the worst mother in the world. “Mamas are not supposed to get sick!” I kept saying. How is the one who keeps everything and everyone running seamlessly supposed to do that when she isn’t hardly running at all? The phrase “when mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy” has a whole new meaning for this household. Without the help of those around me I couldn’t keep up that’s for sure.
My husband and my sister are both my guardian angels. Every time I pray “Oh Lord, please help me” it’s as if He gives them the nudge to do for me exactly what I need before I even know what I need. There are countless examples of that over the past 2 weeks but looking back, they were the same 2 people God put in place for me daily when I fell ill with pain 8 years ago. I simply would not have made it through without them. It’s easy to say “in sickness and health” when you’re 21 years old and so in love…you can’t possibly imagine that either one of you would ever really be sick and have to care for one another. It’s easy to say “my sister is my best friend”…but it’s in times like these when those words really ring true because she has never once let me down when things get tough. These 2 people through their selfless actions show their love for me endlessly which means more than any words we could ever say.
So what have I learned from being down & out for 2 weeks? I guess sometimes I just can’t do everything and that doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It means there are times when I need to be dependent on others, as much as I’d rather do everything myself. Sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect. God has not healed me from this illness yet, as much as I’ve begged Him to take it away, but He’s given me help when and where I’ve needed it so my family would not suffer and I can get the rest I need. No one has gone naked or hungry. It’s okay if the laundry doesn’t all get done everyday. It’s okay that I don’t make a fresh, piping hot dinner every night…a freezer meal, a pizza or (heaven forbid) leftovers will suffice.
As much as I don’t want to hear the phrase “I just want my wife back!” ever again, I bet yesterday won’t be the last time. I’ll be rocking the sweatpants, a hat and no makeup with hardly a voice while coughing up a lung and serving leftovers in the future I’m sure. Then again, it also makes me think that maybe I’m doing something right…that my husband appreciates the effort I put into making our house a home…even if I do take the little things a little too seriously now and then. If ever I feel insignificant as merely a wife and mother I’m going to think of these past 2 weeks when everyone missed mama and continue to thank God everyday for those He gave me, my guardian angels, who are always there for me unfailingly through thick and thin.