Funny Feels Good When You’re Feeling Under the Weather

I’m home sick today.

It’s just a little too quiet in this house.

And though I’ve wished for just a minute’s peace for weeks, I’m over it now. My love language is quality time and I feel like I’m losing precious moments with my man and my “babies” this weekend. Oh well, the grass will always be greener… Come Monday morning, I know I will curse my Saturday self while I hustle an uncooperative crew out the door. 6:45: you come SO EARLY!

But for now, I am the only one home; I quarantined myself under the pretense that the under 8 set won’t succumb to the myriad of bizarre illnesses I’ve experienced this week.

When I don’t feel well, I run a gamut of emotions: sappy with all the quiet time to reflect, silly when I get tired of reflecting, and usually serious as I make a mental to-do list of all the things that will need to be put back in order once the captain is well enough to man the ship again. The lurking to-do list feels overwhelming at the moment, so I think I’ll hunker down with Silly for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ll share a few of our laugh out loud moments before I watch “Mom’s Night Out” again. (I’ve never stopped to check who wrote that movie, but she SO speaks my language! And yes, I’m convinced it’s a she.)

Okay, true story.

For my first son’s 2nd birthday, I spent weeks and weeks, probably months, thinking about how I could make that day special. We were on a TIGHT budget (see how I worked those caps there? We’re talking TI-I-I-IGHT), so thank goodness he was young enough that homemade construction paper decorations and lots of high-pitched “You’re 2 now!”s sufficed. I made the cake myself– a ridiculous looking fire truck, and I use the term “fire truck” loosely.  The DIY instructions I found online that swore this cake could easily be made from a regular sheet cake evidently assumed I’d be starting with basic baking skills under my belt. Well, that was just silly. You know what happens when you assume… . I wish I could show you the picture of that cake so you could laugh with me, but I lost it when my phone went for a swim.  And unfortunately, I’ve relied on that exact same line two other times as well. It’s like my phones are predisposed to suffer a watery death. I like to blame Fate; my husband likes to blame me.

To-may-to. To-mah-to.

Anyway, fast forward about six years. My third son is getting ready to turn two. Two is a fun birthday in my book. It’s the mark of the age when he can first appreciate everyone singing to him, and he almost has enough fine motor skills to open some presents by himself. Although we all know, the problem with a two-year-old is that he really only opens the first present. Then he spends the rest of the party playing with it, while you sheepishly open all the other gifts yourself, over-emphasizing to the gift-giver how much you know he’ll love it and how you’ll have to pry him away from it at bedtime. All the while, they’re covertly giving the stink eye to the lucky first gift-giver. They’re making a mental list of all the things they would have preferred to spend $20 on.

As excited as I was about #3 turning two, I realized abruptly that I was more excited about the idea of him turning two. Suddenly, two days before his big day, I realized I hadn’t actually planned anything yet. What’s worse, it was still several days away. A lot can happen in several days.

My Facebook post from that day: “#3’s second birthday is this week, and I just set a reminder on my phone so I don’t miss it.”

Third Child Syndrome. It’s a real thing.

Okay, so here’s another one.

If if we agree on the validity of TCS, then I can’t overlook its cousin: Middle Child Syndrome. Bless my middle son’s heart, all he ever wants is to feel heard. And we fail him, frequently.

Case in point…

Scene: early morning, getting one boy ready for first grade, the middle one ready for pre-school, making an unexpected and last-minute diaper change for the baby, and attempting the clean-and-switch with rim-rod straight arms to keep the stank afar and my work clothes clean.

#2 comes running into the room. “Mom, is this white stuff the toothpaste?”

I don’t look up. One wrong move and this blouse is toast. But I need him to hurry, as usual. So I rush him like always: “Yes! Now, you have one minute to brush your teeth and get back in here, or no books tonight!” (Ugh! Did I just say that?!? I hate when my morning-panic voice takes over!)

Several minutes later, he finally returns. I knew he wouldn’t make it. He probably hasn’t even brushed yet. But I’m positive he had plenty of time to fight two, maybe three, imaginary bad guys as he came back down the hall. Typical.

“Mom, you need to go to the store.” I finally give him my attention by looking directly at him. He’s clutching a tube of Desitin. “That toothpaste is yucky.”

Oh, dear.

Middle Child Syndrome. It’s a real thing too.

Dear Little One,

I look at your empty crib. I love looking at that thing. I found the perfect pink chevron-patterned crib sheet that compliments a matching grey one in your brother’s crib, just feet away. I have no idea how this room will come together, but I am determined to create a space that both unites the room for you and your brother and allows a little boy to feel boy-ish and a little girl to feel girly. First world problems, dear.

I wonder about you. Often. When you finally join our family, how old will you be? What color will your hair be? How long before you accept us– all of us, the good, the bad, and the ugly? Will you get married one day? How in the world will the man I’ve been with for so long react when he has to walk you down that aisle and trust that the man before him will care for you and cherish you like we have? Like God does.

What will you be when you grow up? How will you find purpose and fulfillment? One thing I know is that no matter how big your dreams are, God has big dreams for you too. My greatest hope for you, darling, is that one day you’ll know God like I do. And then you’ll begin to understand. He loves you so much. He has called you by name. And the dreams He has for you will completely blow your mind. They are more than you could ask for, or imagine, or even imagine to ask for because it will be for His glory.

Daughter, don’t doubt yourself. Fear and insecurity are a trap, and they can be paralyzing if you take your eyes off of the cross. I ask often for what I’ve come to call “tunnel vision to the cross.” I pray the same over you. For whatever big dream God wishes he could make in your life, He’ll prepare you. Don’t bother feeling overwhelmed or daunted by the task; He has equipped you to live out your dream. You are exactly who He needs, with the talents you have and the heart that leads you.

You are enough.

You are worthy.

He looks at you and proclaims, “You are mine.”

And that, sweetheart, will be the most profound truth you will ever learn.

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!”
Ephesians 3:20-21