I fish the scissors out of the junk drawer by the fridge and open the blades so they form the letter V. With the sharp end I carefully slice the tape that is keeping the package closed. The mailman left this on the stoop in the garage, and Collin brought it in when he came home from work. I see the label and know exactly what the package is; I’m just confused as to why I’m receiving it. I pull back the lid, and Christine’s signature beauty comes spilling out: natural brown tissue paper and crinkle fillers, sealed together with her green leaves and tan vine emblem. Inside there is a note: Kate & Family, I know life can get crazy…, two packages of the most delicious double chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, and a couple images from the photo sessions we’ve had earlier this summer.
The photo sessions from which I have not yet placed my order.
With tears in my eyes I move into the pantry to grab the rice for dinner; the weekly calendar that sits precariously on the edge of the narrow teal shelf catches my eye. We’ve been using it to record this summer’s weekly happenings, and I see the date still reads mid-July.
Christine sent me the online album of those photo sessions on July 18th; it was a Friday and I was down in Milwaukee, at the corporate office for training. We had decided to make a weekend of it, so that evening we visited with friends, and on Saturday we took the boys to the zoo and stopped by my cousin’s before heading home. Our Sunday was a pretty typical day: church, naps, working in the yard. I had planned on sitting down with those pictures when the kids went to bed that evening, but Sunday night was anything but typical.
At 9 pm on Sunday, July 20th, we received the call that Collin’s Dad was having a heart attack.
I have yet to get those pictures ordered; I never turned the page of that calendar….since mid-July time has been standing still.
For the first week we lived in crisis mode. My mom was here with the kids, and Collin and I alternated our time between working and being at the hospital. Crisis mode is a time in which you do not think, you just do. You move through the actions because you have to to survive. We operated in crisis mode for a long time after the fire.
With each passing day Papa got stronger and by the end of the week he was able to come home. We thank the Lord daily for all of those that were involved in his care and for those that continue to help him in healing. With his arrival home we entered Week 2; crisis mode was officially over, and the reality of where this left all of us set in.
I wrote about this on my personal blog, about the anguish I was feeling with the thought of having to find someone to watch the kids while we both worked. Collin had been home with the boys over the summer, and while it wasn’t a setup we ever considered to be long-term, I wasn’t quite ready for them to be gone again. I had grown accustomed to hearing their little voices playing while I worked; it was comforting to always know what they were doing, even if it was getting into trouble.
We considered various options: in-home day-care, center day-care, nanny, wrap-around care at school….every single option made my heart hurt because it meant it wouldn’t be one of us (or Busha, Collin’s mom) watching them. It was hard for me to even consider any of these things, because the only thing I wanted to consider was being home with them myself. But that just isn’t in the cards, at least not yet.
And so my anguish turned to anger. I screamed, I threw things, I cursed God.
I wondered aloud why our lives seem to be setback after setback after setback. WHEN CAN WE HAVE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN, LORD?
But soon enough it happened. It happened as it always does…when the storm clears, you realize a setback was the very thing needed to propel you forward.
The skies started to brighten, and the puddles dried up; the tears stopped, and the anger turned into action.
We found a nanny who is a wonderful fit for our very energetic, nature-loving boys. (She knows how to set traps! She caught a snapping turtle this summer! Her favorite color is GREEN! (See: Keaton))
And since the anguish and anger, I’ve had some moments of real clarity about the situation—God whispers, I’ve heard them called—when God whispers into your heart with a message so clear that it jolts you into full consciousness. You may have no idea how or why, but you know these are messages of truth.
And that’s where I find myself now. I feel certain that our current situation is to serve a bigger purpose.
I’m done lamenting about not being able to stay home with the kids, and I’m ready to dig my heals in with determination to drive our future.
No more time standing still.