Car Trips, Sick Kids, and the Effects of Worry

This week has been a bit tough. My husband has been gone for a whole week (gets home tonight, yay!). He and my oldest son went on a road trip to Montana where my son is going to be at a Bible School for a year. They took a bit of time so they could visit Yellow Stone National Park and camp along the way. It was their “We Did It” trip that we are trying to have with each of our high school graduates, celebrating their success at graduating, and our success at keeping them alive for this long. They had a good time and I’m glad that they were able to take the trip. But, it’s been a long week. 

First of all…My son who just left has a driver’s license. I am now taking over all the driving that he did for our family. Yikes. I had no idea I had become so reliant on him to drive my other teenagers to all their events. It was usually not a big deal for him because he was attending the same events, but still, I had no idea. I am suddenly living in my car. 

Second…My two year old waited one day after his dad left, and then proceeded to get some kind of stomach problems that has had him throwing up every night and having crazy-crazy diarrhea. Also occurring at night. During the day, he runs around laughing and playing, eats ok, has a couple diapers that are bad, but then they become fine. Then night time hits and once again he is projecting body fluids everywhere. I finally took him to the doctor today and her opinion is the initial bout of stomach sickness messed up the balance of his guts and so now we’ve got to work on getting that back into order. 

In the meantime, I’m walking around half-dead because all night long I’ve been jerking awake wondering if he’s about to throw up on me. Because, of course, a sick baby’s place is with his mom, in her room, on her bed. The first couple nights I didn’t know he was going to get sick and he came and found me in the night in distress. After cleaning him up, I laid him down next to me in my bed. Watching over him. Making him feel safe and secure. Except that I was then a nervous twit all night. Every time he would cough or sneeze or moan or even roll over, I was leaping from the bed, ready to run him to the bathroom as fast as possible. I had special blankets laid out on my bed. Here, this is your blanket. If you throw up or your diaper leaks, it can all happen on this easy-to-wash blanket. Except, of course, he didn’t want to stay on his special blanket and he would keep rolling over and snuggling up to me and I would just lay there, eyes wide open, feeling like I was holding a ticking bomb. Needless to say, I am on the third day of having to strip my bedding and wash it. 

Third reason it’s been a rough week…Today I went down to the gas station to buy a container of Gatorade for the sick boy.  I opened the little fridge door at the gas station, reached in to grab the drink I wanted to buy, and something went POP in my neck and I was suddenly in very bad pain. Because, you know, reaching for a drink is very strenuous on the body. Good grief. So I then spent the morning heating and icing my shoulder as the pain continued to spread. It has eased up a bit as long as I don’t turn my neck to the right or the left. Who needs to turn their neck anyway? 

I’m trying to have a sense of humor about all this, but I’ll admit my stress levels have been a bit high. I find myself worrying a lot. It’s very possible that my neck popped because my muscles have been in a constant state of tension from trying to carry the weight of the world. 

As I sat here icing and heating my shoulder, God reminded me of something. This is his family. These are his kids. This is his house. He’s in control. He’s got this. Me getting all tense and stressed is not solving a single problem. He has helped us through all kinds of crazy problems in the past, and the current things I’ve been worrying about, he’s going to take care of those too. Right now, all I need to do is take it one moment at a time. It’s going to be ok. 

So, I’m going to sit here and rest my neck. Get my kids to help with the immediate chores and just try to relax for a bit. God is good. I can rest. 

 

Emptying the Nest

It is the end of an era. My oldest son is leaving home tomorrow. He’s off to Montana for a year-long bible school. He worked really hard to get to this point. He managed to graduate a year early from high school so that he could have a year in between college to do something different, take some time to figure out his direction. I am overwhelmingly proud of him. He worked two jobs this summer, stayed connected to the church, started dating a very sweet girl. What more can you ask of your child? And now he’s leaving. And I am now swamped with a whole bucket-load of differing emotions. 

If you think about it, this whole motherhood thing kind of sucks. You take these newborn babies and pour your life into them. Every decision you make for the next 18 years takes them into consideration. Will this be good for my kids? And then they start growing up and developing independence and you run the tightrope walk of trying to make sure they are safe and also giving them the space they need to learn how to take care of themselves. And then they grow up, they learn everything you expected them to learn in their time at home…and then they leave. And it kind of feels like your heart is walking out the door…Except, this was the whole point. From day one you have been working to get them to Here. Where they can now step out, fully equipped, and start living their own lives. 

And there are tears because you can’t believe you made it to this point. There were definitely some moments along the way where I was positive my child would never make it to adulthood. And you are kind of in awe at God’s mercy and grace that got you and your child to this point. And so there are tears. 

And then there is relief. After all, part of leaving the nest is outgrowing the nest. There’s not enough room here for my mostly-adult child to become a full adult. He needs some space. It’s hard to stretch your wings and learn to fly when you keep bumping into your parents. And it’s hard to get on with parenting your other kids when there’s an overgrown chick bumping into you all the time. And so I am relieved that he has found a good place to spend this next year. And I’m excited for him, excited for all the adventures he’s going to have and all the things he’s going to learn. 

And he’ll be back. Christmas, summers, transition times when he just needs a safe place to land while he shifts gears.

My oldest daughter is also taking off in a couple weeks for a year in Alaska. 

Needless to say, my heart is doing that crazy thing where it is swelling up with pride and joy and at the same time, breaking in half. 

Man. Being a parent is painful.