October is my favorite month of the year, and this one has been particularly spectacular. Every few years the elements come together in a magical mixture that brings out the most breathtaking fall foliage, and this has been one such year. Usually I act like a little kid at Christmas, exclaiming over every blazing tree with ooohs and ahhhs. But this year…not so much. For some reason I felt like a heaviness was settled over me, pushing me down even though I longed to soar like a kite through the perfect blue skies.
There are explanations I suppose. Our cozy house (read small) is overflowing at the moment since my parents are staying with us until they get their “rig” for their travel adventures, and my brother has been bunking in our living room for a couple of weeks while he finishes preparations for getting back on the mission field. (You can read about his adventures here.)
It’s been great fun to have us all together before we are scattered around the country again, but it does make for some unavoidable stress. Baby Girl is a joy and a delight, but the challenges of parenting a precocious, fearless, opinionated one and a half year old are many.
Chris has faced some long and difficult days at work, and he’s pretty spent by the time he makes it home in the evenings. My schedule is full to the bursting point, even though I’ve tried really hard not to crowd too much into our days.
So maybe it’s understandable for me to be feeling a bit down, a little stretched, “Like butter scraped over too much bread” to quote a favorite hobbit of mine.
Still, I took a deep breath and got ready to plunge into the last week of October. The first couple of days didn’t have much on the schedule but Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were doozies, with outreaches, play dates, multiple Halloween celebrations, a MOPS meeting and girls’ night out. I wasn’t feeling quite myself on Monday or Tuesday, but shrugged it off as just added stress from the events looming on my horizon. I tried to ignore my scratchy throat and achy body, resting most of Wednesday so I could go to our church’s Streetfest where we had volunteered to serve.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly, but by the time we got home I knew I was in trouble. I spent most of Thursday (Halloween) shivering in my bed, since by now a fever had set in. I forced myself to get up and go to Charlotte’s eighteen month check-up (our pediatrician is impossible to see unless you schedule out months in advance, and they have a cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment). I know I shouldn’t have gone, but my little drama queen does NOT handle trips to the doctor well (she screams when they touch her…I swear she is traumatized from her time in the NICU) and I knew she needed me to be there. Thankfully she is growing and perfectly healthy, though I was clearly not. When my fever refused to dip below 101.5 I finally decided to take a trip to my own doctor.
After starting a course of antibiotics and sleeping for most of the day Friday I finally felt like I was going to live, but it took two more days before I started to feel normal. Thanks to my friends and family I was actually able to fulfill most of my obligations for the week (though not in person). My play group mom friend came by and picked up the activity packs I’d gotten for the hospital outreach. My parents took C trick-or-treating at Chris’s office and Matt answered the door for trick-or-treaters Halloween night. My mom made the dessert I was supposed to bring to MOPS, and Matt and Dad dropped it off at the church in the morning and stayed to help with set-up.
Last week was a lesson in humility, grace, and thankfulness. It’s amazing to me how God works, and I know that He used my illness to help me get out of my funk. There is nothing like feeling like you’re dying, then recovering, to help you out of the dumps and set your priorities straight.