It has been one of “those” days: a day that involved many unpleasant moments including a conference with a teacher, a diaper that failed to keep its contents to itself, and an insurmountable to-do list. Truth be told, as I drifted off to sleep last night, I inadvertently ditched my usual optimism and looked ahead with apprehension. Sometimes adopting a negative outlook can induce a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Before I had even rubbed the sleep from my eyes this morning, I was petitioning God for the discipline not to hit the snooze button for the sixth time. Nagging failures from yesterday coupled with towering obligations for today prompted this morning’s resistance to waking up. Yesterday intended to impose a multitude of demands, but when a spontaneous illness emerged that morning, it cheated me out of completing my duties and confined me to my bed.
So yesterday was spent sick, curled up under my comforter, battling both my illness and the huge mountain of anxiety that had settled with me the moment I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do ANY of the things that so desperately needed my attention. This poorly timed illness meant that the checkbook would go unbalanced, the bills would go unpaid, the four baskets of laundry would go unfolded, my weekly blog post would go unwritten, and my goals for my second half-marathon training plan would not be met. Add those to all of the other mundane daily tasks and that equals a whole lot of undone work.
If it had not been my husband’s scheduled day off, I would have also battled guilt over not being able to give my children the ample attention they deserve. Fortunately, Daddy and the boys always have great fun as they gallivant through the house (inadvertently enhancing the workload with their joyful messes), thus the care and entertainment of the kids was one area that I was not worried about.
We all know what happens when a mom takes a sick day. The responsibilities from the day before greet her with the sunrise, still waiting to be fulfilled. It is akin to a company downsizing and asking you to assume the workload of yourself and your co-worker simultaneously. Hello daunting task- my name is Cheap Labor. Nice to meet you.
Now today happened to be another FULL day; hence my less-than-enthusiastic feelings this morning when my alarm clock started harassing me. I was facing all of the left-over tasks from yesterday plus a few more such as: dress my first grader like a chef for “Read-Across-America” week, swing by our accountant’s office and sign tax forms, and the aforementioned dreaded parent-teacher conference.
After resigning myself to the day ahead, I finally pried myself out of bed this morning and made my way to the kitchen to begin prepping and assembling the ingredients for breakfast burritos. I stood in my robe with my wild bedhead and no makeup, dutifully scrambling eggs, browning ground turkey sausage and shredding cheese when my oldest, usually-responsible son blindsided me. He apologized for forgetting to mention that he needed to meet his teacher at school 40 minutes early today for a make-up reading test AND he had forgotten for the second time to bring home the book needed to study for this test.
I looked over at his wide-eyed little brother who was also expecting to be taken to his school early today (located several miles from his brother’s school) for his much-anticipated doughnut breakfast/book fair.
Defeat. I had nine minutes to get dressed head-to-toe and whip up a few passably convincing clones of myself so that I could be in three places at one time.
I’m not sure how, but autopilot took over, my husband grabbed the reins with the two younger children and I managed to get the older two boys to their individual schools as early as each child’s schedule demanded. I was also able to tackle at least half of my day’s other commitments by lunch-time.
So why am I opting to share the details of my annoyingly busy day when you are so well acquainted with your own oppressive to-do list? I guess it’s because I was reminded that days like this are all about perspective.
As I drove home from the boys’ schools this morning feeling drained and depleted from the whirlwind of hasty activity, my mind wandered to thoughts of some hurting people in my life who are facing true difficulties today. Their struggles make my sick-day and subsequent “double-up” day seem remarkably petty. I thought of the mother I know who has a prodigal child; the father with a debilitating lung disease; and the precious young friend who has been abandoned by her daughter’s father.
In light of the people on my prayer-list, my transient to-do list seemed a little less ominous. I felt a renewal of thankfulness for my four healthy, time-consuming little boys. Despite the fact that they consistently bankrupt my energy reservoirs and are guaranteed to present me with many more crazy days, I truly cannot imagine my life without them.
With that revelation in mind, I ask for your forgiveness today for this grumbling post that might have sounded down-right whiney at times- because like I said, it’s been one of “those” days.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 ESV