Why was it quiet, and low-lying? Well, because we are a houseful of ailing Logans. All five kids. All two parents. And one very healthy, robust and capable Mother-in-law who graciously puts up with us all and aids us in our distress. We postponed my birthday until January 4th. Just in case you were wondering. That gives you all time to get your well-wishes in the mail! (Just kidding!)
And since everyone is now in a drug-induced stupor and it is quiet and the coughing has ceased for a glorious few minutes, I have a chance to ruminate about my life over the past year and to consider what the year might bring. I don't do the introspection much these days (can you guess why not!?) Other than my crazy fly-by-the-seat-of-the-minivan lifestyle, I also find belly-button gazing to be a sadly self-absorbing ritual that can tie one up into a psychological pretzel before long and, well, it just can get to be a bit much at times. I'd rather cozy up on the couch with a good Paddington bear story or something.
But there is a time for reflection. And I suppose now is a good a time as any.
I'd say the last month has had more than its fair share of challenges for me. It seems something difficult always comes my way around November. Perhaps I should take a cue and go off on my own for a personal retreat or something in the future. Because really, this past November decided not to disappoint me. I almost made it through. But then I hit a pedestrian and we were back to the 'this is why I should go somewhere else for November' thought-pattern.
Yes, you read that right. And if you're in my family and I didn't tell you and you're reading this in shock and annoyed with me for not telling you, don't hop on the phone to discuss the matter. I will discuss it here in broad view of the public thank you, and no, I don't want to discuss it on the phone. It was all rather overwhelming at the time and I kept it to myself and a few trusted friends as I wallowed in guilt and shame, and the thought of going to traffic court. It didn't help when Priscilla piped up, "I still love you Mommy, even if you're a criminal," complete with a tender hug.
But, if you are going to hit a pedestrian, you need to make sure she is the sweetest, most tolerant, kindest, neighbourliest, nice lady possible, and that you are going a mere 5 miles an hour so that she comes out of it uninjured, except for the indignity of being shoved aside and rolling onto the ground and lying there face up waiting for the paramedics to arrive to make sure she's okay - all the while carrying on a lovely conversation with a former student who showed up to help and dial the police for us (afterall I had no cell phone - which is a great asset to be sure I was not texting and driving - I was, instead lecturing a particular six-year-old on the dangers of lying to me and impressing upon him the importance of truth-telling - which I now understand was a poor use of my energies at that moment).
After hitting said pedestrian, and standing on the street waiting out the police-report stuff and sobbing quietly in the van while the police try to gently help me cope with the reality of what I'd done, and after that long day of telling it to Sam and crying off and on, and worrying for the lady, and thinking of myself as a criminal, and of feeling terribly irresponsible and the worst person ever...after that bad day or two I heard from a friend of mine who is around my age with young children that she has a major health concern that she is facing over the coming months. I was very sad about that and continue to pray for her and her family.
The day after that I woke up to go to Church and was looking forward to worship, focus on God, reflecting on Him, feeding on His Word, and seeing friends at Church. I began to brush Priscilla's hair. I saw something move. And Church was no longer on the agenda for the day. Instead it was Lice.
All day: laundry, lice shampoo, comb, comb, comb, strip bedding, trips to laundrymat (not me - Sam did all that!).
I had to laugh. I think God allowed us to have lice if only to give us another battle to wage and to focus on something other than guilt, accidents and the like. Lice are an absolute nuisance. And 9 people in a household make it very difficult to treat. But we are vigilant. And yes, I'm announcing this to everyone out there, because you know what? Lice love clean hair! Really, they do! So all the myths you believe about lice? That's what they are: myths. Even so, lice are stigmatized and there is a social leprosy surrounding them. I'm glad I can revel in my acceptance in Christ to such a degree that I can admit we've had lice. If you don't want to see us or be around us after reading this, don't worry, I won't hold it against you! :)
But lice wasn't the end of the story. Then we had failed potty-training attempt no. 3. We've tried with 3 year old Andrew so many times. This time, we were determined to be victorious. We got everything set up. We were going to sequester him to a section of the kitchen. He would potty in the little potty there and be free to go for a half hour. Then back to the Potty Nook. I would not give in to whining to get out. His ticket out was a deposit in the potty. No way around it. So, when he went to school and was sniffly and bleary-eyed, I just assumed it was because of my refusal to let him whine his way out of the potty nook. Bad assumption.
Half an hour after he leaves on the bus I get a phone call: "This is Andrew's school. He is at the nurse's office lying down. He has a temperature. You need to come get him." I hang up. What an awful Mom I am! I go get him and he is half-asleep. I carry him out to the car and he says, "They have a special little bed in there. I was sleeping on it." We get home and I call off potty training, accepting defeat in this third attempt. His sickness turns into fever, cough, congestion, lethargy, sleeping a lot, no appetite and the like. Slowly, one by one, like dominoes, we all take the hit and go down with the same thing. First just Andrew. Then Hannah. Then me, Sam, Priscilla, Timo, and finally Caleb.
So, we are trying to get through these tiresome days and prepare for a family gathering in the Eastern States next week.
On the house front, our house did sell. And we looked and found a house we liked. We were pretty set on buying it until some glitches came up with the city as to our plans to convert a garage into in-law space. After those roadblocks, we determined we should just keep looking. So we are back to the drawing board and growing in leaps and bounds in patience. Contrary to what I would put on my personal curriculum for my life at this point. But in all these things I am learning again and again to trust and wait for God's best and to be thankful for the wonderful blessings He showers on me daily.
Because really, what are a few momentary trials compared to the riches of knowing Him? He walks with me through the guilt of the outcomes of my negligence. He walks with me through the fear and worry of everyone being sick and hoping we'll all be okay in the end. He walks with me and strengthens me when the 3 year old begs to be carried up or down stairs when he is so tired and feverish - even though I'm tired and feverish too!
I can only wonder what exciting adventures await me in the coming months... did you catch that word, 'ADVENTure'? Life is such, and this season is about that anticipation and excitement of the journey of what will be - the ADVENT, dawning, awaiting, arrival, surprise, joy and desire of nations COME.
So Merry Christmas - safely through another year.