So today is Easter Sunday. But at our house, we have trouble getting everyone up and dressed and out the door for church under the best of circumstances -- without meddling rabbits -- so the Easter Bunny came to our house Friday night.
I had a friend come over last night with her 2 kids and she watched all 6 kids so that Gary and I could go out for awhile, and so we tried to channel the kids sugar rush into cleaning. It did not go well. They kept doing super-productive things like running in circles, jumping on the couch, and fighting. Bella was so concerned about what everyone else was NOT doing that she couldn't quit tattling on everyone. William, who got the Star Wars III Nintendo cartridge in his Easter basket, kept trying to make deals with us about how little he should have to do before he could play it. Lorelei was picking on her brothers and sister by trying to put stuff on their heads like stuffed animals, half plastic eggs, and trash. And Jackson was walking around in my shoes with sugar residue all over his face and hands and if we asked him to do something, he looked at us and said "No thanks!" with an evil little grin.
I took a break from cleaning long enough to cool off a little and start this blog. As much as my kids drive me nuts, I find myself reflecting on how incredibly blessed I am. I have 4 relatively healthy, happy children, a husband who would do anything for me (including working a crap job with horrible hours because it pays well), and enough money to pay my bills (most months). I find myself realizing this more and more everyday. I am blessed.
My best friend from high school has a little boy who is 6 months older than my oldest. He was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma when he was 5, and he'll be 10 next month. Half of his young life has been spent fighting to stay alive. The doctors have told them that it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when this disease will take their son from them. I do not know how she does it. News like that would cripple me -- I would totally shut down. But not her. She works full-time as an elementary school music teacher and she takes him back and forth to Memphis for his treatments at St. Jude's and she ensures that he and his little brother are loved and happy. She is amazing and I am in awe of her. I pray for him and for her and their family and doctors every day (And if you pray, please add them to your list). I may not be very "in-your-face-religious" but I am a full believer in the presence and power of our God. I pray because I know that He can heal this little boy even if the doctors say that there is no hope. And I know that if He chooses not to, only He can provide comfort.
I have another friend whose daughter was born with a form of Spina Bifida. Her daughter shines a bright light of hope on what people consider a defect by being a beautiful, happy and otherwise healthy little girl. Knowing her and her mama have been an extreme blessing in my life. This is another mom who amazes me. Her girls are beautiful, she spends her day advocating for the Spina Bifida Association for her state, and she is a beautiful woman (and an awesome cook). She has taken what many would (wrongly) consider a burden -- having a child with "special needs" -- and she considers it a blessing and dedicates her time to showing others what a blessing it is. Anyone who meets her and her daughter has no doubts.
I have other friends who's children have had other illnesses that were life threatening, and more still whose children have autism or asberger's. I know how very lucky I am, and lately I have been more and more appreciative of it. The tag line for St. Jude's advertisements say "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not" -- so today, on the day that Christ arose from the grave more than 2,000 years ago to fulfill a prophecy that guarantees my everlasting life, I am thankful. I am thankful that He died for my sins, that He rose from the grave, that He is returning one day to carry the faithful home, and that I can count myself among those who call Him teacher, master, and saviour. And I am super thankful for those who are dearest to me and that they are healthy and happy.
So today as you're kids are running around high on more sugar than you'd normally let them have in a month, hunting eggs, fighting with their siblings, and spreading that wonderful "grass" all over your house, let them. Sit back and enjoy them. Enjoy the fact that they can see, that they can run, and that they are yours. Tonight you can brush the sugar off of their teeth and be thankful for the inevitable crash that follows a sugar binge. Tomorrow you can vacuum up the Easter grass and wash the chocolate out of that Easter dress. Today, be thankful that they are here, that they are healthy, and that God blessed you by adding them to your life. You and I, my friend, are truly blessed.