Breathe in. My children about killed me this morning. The Mondays between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem especially torturous this year. They are tired and ornry and they don't want to go to school. Changing clothes, arguing over every little thing. The 2.5 year old pranced around naked for an hour, wearing fairy wings much of the time. She even came out onto the porch to bid farewell to big sister. Oh the whining, the complaining, the disrespect. And they are just 7, 4 and 2? I'm scared for what is to come. I suck the air in deeply through pursed lips, hoping with it comes patience.
Breathe out. It's now been more than 5 weeks since Lily's last fever. That's the longest stretch since the end of the summer. She shows no signs of an oncoming fever. Her throat isn't thick, she's not walking around with extra saliva in her mouth--both indicative of a coming fever and throat ulcers. The tightness in my chest is loosening. I'm trusting in and claiming her healing through the tonsil and adenoid removal surgery. I can breathe out again. Just maybe I won't spend one in four weekends holding a feverish toddler, the thermometer climbing to 104 and even 105. Breathing easy.
Breathe in. The 7 year old, soon to be 8. I just don't understand her. I don't know what is her and what is influence from friends and television. We don't know what to do. The stubbornness. The disrespect. We try so hard to give her grace and walk her through appropriate behavior, attitude and treatment of us. Yet I hear from other adults how enjoyable they find her and what a neat girl she is. And know she is. It breaks our hearts that her worst comes out with us. We hold our breathe, our tempers as we try to guide this life entrusted to us.
Breathe out. I cancelled our participation in a dinner tonight. It would have been enjoyable fellowship, a tradition I enjoy. But it was just too much. The kids would have been in bed late again. Life would have gone undone. So I did the big girl thing and regretfully recanted my RSVP. Dishes, dinner, laundry, tickling, baths, reading, homework. It got done. Sometimes being a big girl feels good. There was breathing room in life tonight.
Breathing in and out. It's what I do. Some days, most days right now, it seems like we do a lot more breathing in. But I know days are ahead, when we will breathe out more.
I look for the moments that make me catch my breath. The sweet things they say. Chubby hands that pull my face in towards the pillow for a sloppy kiss. Requests for multiple kisses. And when the big girl goes to bed angry, I pray anyways and tell her it doesn't matter if she is listening or not, because it's God who I need to hear me, not her.
He is the giver of life, the giver of breath.
And I pray, God who gives breathe to all living things, breathe into my nostrils once again, and give me life, reclaim the moments that seem to have sucked the life out. Come to me in a whisper, and let your Spirit guide me.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Keep breathing.