Yesterday we went to our community pool/ splash pad. The baby and I were sitting in the sun getting warm and watching her brother and sisters splash in the pool. Anneliese had been chewing on a pair of goggles and decided to throw them at a woman sitting next to me. I grabbed them as they landed on her legs and apologized. She smiled and accepted my apology. We spoke for a few minutes and she told me she had one child, a daughter who was 9 and was swimming with a friend. I told her how lovely her swimsuit was and she looked at me trying very hard to find something to compliment. To her credit she rebounded and told me my baby was beautiful. Soon after I left to go take care of my 6 year old and never saw her again, but I thought about that conversation far after it ended.
I thought about it because I took a look at myself. When she met me my hair was messed up and crazy because just moments before I had been crashing wildly in the water with my kids. When she met me I had put on a white shirt that had Goldfish smeared into it. When she met me I had electric blue toenail polish that was chipping. My 6 year old had put it on me a week before because she said that all mermaids wear that color in the summer.
This woman didn’t say or do anything unkind, but the exchange illustrated a point. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Who needs enemies when we are our own worst critic.
I am a sandwich generation. This means I am actively caring for young children and also caring for elderly parents. Sometimes it feels like I don’t do a very good job of juggling both responsibilities and that there is more I could and should do.
For my church I have a pretty big volunteer job working with the little children ages 18 months to 12 years old. They are so precious and lovely and every Sunday I get joy from being with them, but sometimes I feel like there is more I need to do to serve them.
Sometimes at the end of the day I am so tired that fixing those chipped nails just doesn’t happen. I used to do modeling and worked in clothing retail for many years. That woman would be shocked by the woman I have become.
I wish I could give my children more and always feel bad when I see them getting hand me downs w/o complaint while their friends often get the newest items right off the store shelf.
All of these things combined have left me feeling discouraged.
When I feel this way it is time for me to press the reset button. For me my reset button is gratitude.
Let me tell you a story.
A few years ago my little Rebekah was very sick and had to be hospitalized. She received excellent care and was soon healthy enough to be discharged. My husband and I left the hospital with a very large bill, but with a beautiful and healthy child in our arms. Not everyone is that lucky. We wrote the hospital staff to express our thanks and were incredibly surprised when a few months later the hospital called to tell us that an anonymous donor had seen our letter and heard our story and was paying off our ENTIRE bill.
Recently a friend told me there was a picture of my Rebekah hanging on the wall of the hospital. I had never seen it, but the picture had been taken with our permission when she was in the hospital. I decided today we should go see it. I needed a reminder of gratitude.
After we saw the picture we went and visited my Mom. I hugged her and told her there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her and how sorry I am for not always being the daughter I want to be to her. She hugged me and told me to never feel that way and how grateful she was for all that I do to take care of her. Gratitude.
On my way home I stopped and bought a newspaper from a man on the street. He looked at me and told me “Thank you. I am so grateful for your purchase.” Gratitude.
At lunch time I made simple sandwiches, but used cookie cutters to make them in the shapes of animals. My kids smiled as I served them and said I was the best cook ever! Gratitude
Yesterday I saw one of the young girls from church. She ran up and hugged me and said, “Mommy look it’s my teacher. I love my teacher.” Gratitude
I truly like to be happy and try very hard to stay out of the land of the BIG D, but sometimes I go there and visit for a bit. Never lingering for too long. There are people to care for and work to be done.
I’ll fix those nails tomorrow, but today I am just happy to be who I am. It’s enough.
What do you do when you feel discouraged?
Stay Happy! Stay Informed!
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