Well, I am typing while the house is creepishly quiet...
The fact that I could type that sentence without a single interruption is strange. I don't hear Anika's voice (that is CONSTANTLY rattling off about something). I don't hear Ethan grunting or yelling about an obstacle he is in the process of conquering. Isabel's movie is not needing to be restarted and Melina is not listening to music too loud...
The reason being is that John & Amy have come by this morning to take my two little darlings for the WHOLE DAY. Yes, the whole day. Now the kids have had mornings and/or afternoons away from me, but they have typically been at home with dad or Melina or John while I was running errands. But this is like camp-day... away from home. Now I am in this big old house by myself without the incessant noises that I sometimes CRY to have relief from.
And here it is... and it sucks.
Well, okay maybe it doesn't suck completely. But it doesn't feel quite right either. What will I do with myself when I start tasks without them getting interrupted every two to five minutes? My brain can actually focus on ONE thing and possibly complete it in a timely fashion?? I can do laundry without setting the "lock controls" buttons to keep Ethan from sanitizing my delicates?? This is a foreign concept to me...
What surprises me most is the panic that wants to take over regarding Ethan's allergies, the different environments he'll be in that I won't be able to scope out like a body guard, or the hugs they'll need if they fall and get a "bonk" or simply feel grumpy and want "cuddles on da walking chair" (as Ethan calls it).
Now don't get me wrong. I trust John and Amy with the two little ones more than I trust anyone else outside our immediate family. They have both resided within our home and have seen how the kitchen is organized for allergen-free utensils and handling rules, what gets cleaned vs sanitized, where allergens are kept, which cups are strictly for Ethan, how he scratches at his nose and mouth when he has ingested contaminated food, etc... They are familiar with the constant mental alertness needed when you pick up a knife on the counter to cut a piece of apple for Ethan and remember if it has touched anything potentially dangerous. Right down to whether or not you washed your hands before picking up that apple, too. They are familiar with that constant alertness and that is why I trust them.
But it is still so scary sometimes to let go and not be the Sargent in charge of all that comes near your highly allergic child! Even I make mistakes at times and my mind is never idle from the constant safety inquisition that follows my every move and every decision! How does one get away from that?
Duane and I were remembering our honeymoon at Blue Lake, Ontario and how wonderful it was to spend a few days camping. Just the wonderful time together was something that brought some renewed peace to my heart. It has been so long since we have had more than a few hours together. As we chatted with our heads on our pillows before falling asleep the other night, he said to me "I wish more than anything that I could surprise you with a two-night getaway at Blue Lake again. But I am too afraid of leaving the kids, particularly Ethan. I am constantly worried about using the wrong utensil, or pot, or not having grabbed the right container of food... how am I supposed to feel safe trusting anyone else with that?"
So perhaps John and Amy have blessed us with more than just a day of peace and quiet. Perhaps they are training our hearts and our minds to let go just a little bit so we can find peace in the possibility of a getaway some day. It may not happen for many years, but at least the thought process can shift from "never" to "maybe someday."
And that is a huge gift.
So thank you, John and Amy, for the ways you have blessed our lives. For actually wanting to be around when there are mountains of laundry to fold, kids whining and spilling apple juice on the floor, more poop to deal with than should be humanly possible and the mental exhaustion of staying on top of allergies, discipline, and other things. You have been such a gift to our family and we love you very much.
So my closing prayer for all of you out there is this: that you also be blessed with that certain someone or several someones who just seem to hone in on those S.O.S signals you did not even realize you were sending out... that in the moments of feeling alone in your struggles, you are given the light of hope from faith (whether your own or through someone else's)... and that you are able to let go of the fears that keep you from "living"... even if you think those fears are justifiable! God bless you all out there!
Alright laundry, here I come!