Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Month Of Sick And My Messy Home

I think it would be accurate to say that, in the last month, my family has spent more time ill than healthy.

That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing. In fact, it doesn't leave a lot of time for much of anything.

Life with little ones can sometimes feel like survival mode. Life with sick little ones - or life sick while taking care of little ones - is all-out survival mode.

For the last week, it's been my turn to be sick again. Y'know, me and the baby. Thankfully Josh's turn was pretty much done in time to take care of me. I'm telling you, he's a rockstar. How he gets through working and taking care of two sickies and a still-active and bored-out-of-his-mind three-year-old the week after being flat-on-the-bed sick himself is beyond me. Seriously. Rockstar.

We have visits from Birth Parent at our home this week; a visit from my mommy (yay!) who lives far away; a visit from Baby S's law guardian; and Josh's trip out of town for a few days for work. Yikes. So letting this place stay in its sick-time standard of "things are fine as long as we don't run out of paper plates or clean baby bottles" is not going to work. It's time to roll up my sleeves and dig in (you know, when the baby is finally asleep and I'm not typing quietly and hoping my little sick Baby S gets in a good long nap since we're stuck home from church to prevent further spreading of this yucky sickness to the sweet little ones in nursery).

I am not a housekeeper at heart. Some of you are. I admire you. I am not. I was born and raised to agree heart and soul with my mommy that I'd much rather do all these silly household tasks if I could just do them outside. We used to have this plaque on our wall:

I loved it. People knew they were welcome. Our house was "lived in". I believe people were comfortable there. We spent more time outside than in, anyway. And really, who cares that much about dust? Just date it yourself and get a good laugh and move on.

My husband did not grow up with the same mindset. That is not wrong. He is not wrong to not want dust thick enough to date on his shelf. And he is not wrong to not have time to dust it himself, when I've made the decision to stay home to do these things so that we can make quality-over-quantity family time work as a ministry family, especially when much of our limited free time is already devoted to foster care.

If I regularly let things go to the rate I am comfortable with, I would not be serving my family as well as I could. Obviously, sick weeks are a different story. A few days ago I got super excited because I could stand long enough to refill our bathroom hand soap without asking for help. Clearly standards have to change in that situation.

Now that I have some energy back, I am very grateful for this little thing: I am itching to clean this place up. I am excited to run the vacuum through. I am motivated to straighten and dust (ha, maybe, if the sick baby is sleepy sick and not sad sick), and to wipe out our fridge, and to stay caught up on dishes, and to make our next round of baby food. I'm not the housekeeper type. Right now, though, I'm so excited to finally be able to serve my family in this way again.

I'm counting that as a gift. I'm going to cling to that gift and enjoy every second that cleaning is a joy for me and not a chore. Serving out of love rather than necessity is a goal that I have been working toward. It is something I have to keep in the forefront of my mind. Right now, it is easier than normal.

I'm counting it a blessing. I'm thankful for a happy heart that longs to serve. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing little joys out of some very rough weeks! (Now please, if the baby could be healthy so I could act on this energy for cleaning, that would be awesome! But no matter what, thank you for the attitude adjustment!)

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