My Experiences Within Motherhood, & my Attempts to Maintain a Personal Life Outside of It.

My experiences within motherhood and my attempt to maintain a personal life outside of it.
...Here I record my own self discipline: My commitment not to "let myself go". My promise to seek my God and follow my passions.
My attempt to do so despite and amidst the chaos of chasing around my high-energy kids while learning the French culture...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Week of Wonderful: even a less than wonderful week has blessings

I'll be honest: this isn't the post I've been dying to write.  This week has been one of the challenging ones.  And that's probably an understatement...

This week was suppose to be more than just wonderful... we had some incredible plans.  Last month John and I booked plane tickets for this week to fly to Poland for a wedding with a layover in Prague.  Sans kids.  It was going to be fantastic. We had been invited to this wedding six months ago and haven't been able to stop planning since.  The whole purpose of John's mother visiting was so that we could go to this wedding while she watched the kids.  I had been asked to read Scripture and sing in the ceremony. We were going to discover and explore and party in two brand new countries like a couple of honeymooners... how divine!

That's what was suppose to happen.  Wednesday morning, the day before our flight, I woke up with strange red spots covering my torso.  A few google searches and one rendez-vous at the doctor later, the nightmare began: chicken pox.  You have GOT to be kidding me.  You might be thinking, You never had the chicken pox?  Why were you never vaccinated?  My answer... I have no freaking idea. Truth be told, I was never certain wether or not I had ever contracted it in the first place.  I was exposed to the disease multiple times as a child, so it was easily assumed that I may have just caught a very mild case once upon a time.  By the time the vaccine came out in 1995, I was a twelve year old who was hardly interested in getting poked with a needle (huge phobia), and just chanced it.  When it came time to move abroad, it never even occurred to me that I would need the vaccine. I pretty much forgot. Stupid? Maybe.
This is me on Thursday morning... not even at my worst!

But I still blame France.

{insert commentary/rant 
on French public health...}

Apparently, this country doesn't take the disease nearly as seriously as we do in the States.  When I told the doctor we were suppose to fly out of the country the next day, he seemed to have no problem with it. Even if I was going to be contagious.  When I asked him about vaccinations for children (at the time I wasn't sure if Silas's vaccine was up to date) he said they don't bother vaccinating children because the child's case is so mild compared to an adult's. When my friend's four year old came down with chicken pox several months ago, she called the directrice at the maternelle (preschool) to inform her. The reaction of the directrice was nearly shocking: "Oh yeah, it's going around the school.  Ce n'est pas grave (Not a big deal!)"

...So how else do you imagine I managed to contract this god-forsaken disease after avoiding it for nearly 30 years?  I moved to France.

For the next three days my torture commenced.  John flew to Poland and sang and read in my stead at the wedding.  I was heartbroken.  He said he desperately missed my hand to hold and his dancing partner.  Dear man.  Meanwhile, I stayed cooped up in my bedroom in misery.  Let me just say, there is a REASON we vaccinate children and quarantine the sick in the U.S.  I was miserable.  And for three days, nothing seemed to soothe my misery.  I just kept praying I wouldn't wind up in the hospital like the 33% of adults who contract this disease do. For those of you who are unaware, chicken pox can be far more serious in adults than in children, averaging at least twice the amount of pox, and more serious symptoms and side affects.

After all that, I had pretty much no intention of writing a Week of Wonderful post for this week.  I think my reasoning seems evident enough.

But yesterday morning I got to thinking... isn't that exactly why I started the Week of Wonderful posts in the first place?  To remember the blessings, even in the midst of challenge and chaos? Is it not God who gives and takes away, and who am I to determine my curses from blessing? Should I not rather count all as blessing when living under the garment of Christ?

From one day to the next, it's too easy to focus on the negative.  All the more so when it's growing on your face.   My spouse knows I am the queen of living in the "what-ifs" and "if-onlys" far more than counting blessings.

I decided to take my own medicine.

And you know what's surprising?  I found myself having more to be thankful for during an insanely hard week than I often have during a stress-free week.  Never under-estimate the power of counting little gifts. Some items in this week's compilation of "little things" may be different than the norm.  But blessings are blessings.  Even some of the ugly ones.

Little Things That Made This Week Wonderful...

  • even though her original purpose was for the kids, I am so thankful John's mother was here to care for me during the worst of this illness.  She ran errands and put her own embarrassment aside as she attempted to get whatever she could for me at the pharmacy from the pharmacists without a lick of French language.  Bless her soul.
  • Aveeno oatmeal baths.  Sometimes my only moments of sanity.
  • Charity sweetly giving me her gentlest hugs and gentlest kisses on my swollen, spotted face.
  • hearing my son joyfully greet his grandmother every morning while I was sick.
  • lack of sleep meant more hours in prayer
  • hot tea, warm soup, and cold ice cream on a sore throat.
  • the magical powers of melatonin.  the only way I slept after three restless nights of torture.
  • face-timing with my husband while he was away. man, how I love technology today.
  • the dozens of messages and calls I received from friends and family sending their love, concern, prayers, and encouragement.  That truly was the salve to my blistered skin.
  • a giant Toblerone chocolate bar (you know, the GIGANTIC ones from international airports) placed in my tired hands by my husband at the end of his trip.  he knows me well.
  • watching my kids gleefully wrestle with their daddy upon his return home.
  • i'm not in the hospital.

...Was it a good week?  Was it a bad week?  Regardless, choose to remember the grace-filled moments.


Erin said...

I love it I love it. How I have worried for you this week. I am so thankful that you still managed to find things to be thankful for amidst agony, loneliness and heartbreak. God is good. And so is NOLA!! Praying for your continued healing my bon ami.

psilovetennis said...

Wow! You so blessed me with the incredible challenge of counting your blessings....even listing them for me to learn from. thank you. I am truly sorry for your loss and will pray for speedy healing- sounds very painful. This brought back strong memories of you singing at Amber's wedding. My sister (not a believer) commented emphatically at your beautiful song (I think she sensed your beautiful spirit behind the words). What a ministry your music has been to us. I sure love you guys as you transparently share your journey....complete with the pocks. I learn how to navigate my California challenges by watching yours in Paris. Thank you. Shari