Recently my house was under siege from every virus, illness and ailment floating around. It was two solid months of watching each child fall like dominos one after another. It was a long bout of being stuck at home, missing events and going back and forth to doctors and pharamacies. Our house was constantly consumed with tissues, therometers, medicine and cough drops.
I found myself becoming BFF’s with the pharmacist. I considered seeking a hazamat suit or at least a face mask in my own home. I would skreak as if my arm were being detached when someone drank out of the wrong cup. I resorted to writing the kid’s names on medicine dispensers because I was handing out so much medicine to multiple kids. After I had to ask one child what color the last medicine they received was, I started writing down a schedule of medicine dispersion. All I needed was a medicine cart to push around the house before I looked like a legit nurse.
Over the course of time, my demeanor changed from ‘you poor thing, you don’t feel well’ to ‘are you kidding me, another fever?!?’ My attitude was more like Nurse Ratched than a caring mother tending to her flock.
And then one day I noticed something. Among the pletheroa of medicine, sat a single reminder for me during those enduring days. A tiny sign that might as well been neon and flashing for my negative attitude.
During those weeks, the days grew exturciatingly long. I was stuck inside with carpool my only outing of the day. I would volunteer to get gas in the car just to have an opportunity to leave the house. Finding joy was beyond hard as the walls of our home began to close in on all of us. Finding joy AND choosing to rest in it was challenging when I dealt with children who were less than joyous.
I found that joy had to be a constant, intentional pursuit.
As I intentionally sought joy, the moments seemed to unravel before my eyes. Looking at my home through a new lens proved to redesign the drawn out days of being at home.
Joy came during sickness in the form of laid back, pajama days. We spent a lot of time cuddling on the couch, playing games and engaged in a lot of technology. It was in these moments of being still that the world grew a little quieter and that was a welcomed change from the hustle and bustle of raising kids.
Joy came during sickness when siblings showed care to the victim of the week. They seemed to be more lenient and patient with that child. For one child who missed a performance, it was an opportunity for the others to brainstorm ways to cheer her up.
Joy came in the empty laundry bins because I was on top of laundry like never before. Clothes were clean the day after they had been worn. In a family of seven, this is a rarity we may never experience again.
Certainly I had my moments, ok days, where joy was nonexistent, but knowing I could chose a different path created a sense of newness on days that seemed anything but new. I knew we weren’t the only home battling sickness. I knew this time would pass eventually. I knew we would get back to our normal routines. Until the days of good health returned, I had to constantly choose joy while dispersing more medicine. And it made all the difference.