I know several moms who LOVE the holidays, with their children all home from school. I tend to be more like the parents in “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” who “can hardly wait for school to start again.”
There are WONDERFUL moments—like staying up late with Em last night and this morning when all three younger kids crawled in bed with us (Then the dog joined in, too, prompting Dave to say, “Well, would someone go wake up the older three and tell them to join us, too.” PJ took this for a literal question and was halfway off the bed before Dave stopped him.)
But there is also no quiet—which my introvert self craves. So I was already praying about this before Christmas break began, and Dave was already telling me to get away some each day, alone, without any children. And he was already bemoaning the fact that, although he tells me to do this all the time, I DON’T— because I believe the lie that “good moms don’t need time away from their children” (along with a host of other lies that perfectionistic people believe to make them feel better about themselves).
Anyway, we were a good eight days into it and I hadn’t gone away—as I’d promised I would.
So God allowed me to get sick.
Fever, chills, flat-on-the-back sick.
For two days.
I’ve decided it was a really good thing.
I got peace and quiet. I got lots of sweet affection—hands patting my back, hot tea from Em, backrubs from Dave… On the second day, when my brain was a little less foggy, I even got a rough draft of an article written (which was what I was supposed to be doing on my “times away.”)
And then, in the couple days following my time in the bed, when I was up and about but still woozy, I had a different perspective. I cared a lot less than I usually do about keeping the house tidy and accomplishing everything on my to-do list. I was too foggy to have a to-do list.
On Friday I went to the grocery store in this fuzzy state. I used the self-checkout line and made a mistake as I was processing my order. The clerk said something pretty snotty to me, but I didn’t even notice it, just nodded at her, thanked her, and walked away. It wasn’t until I was in the car that I realized that I SHOULD have felt snubbed, should have been offended.
A time of rest, a softer, gentler outlook, a break from my driven personality—and then, bonus, a chance to see how this lack of self-focus can positively impact my interactions with others: I’m actually–post chills and fever–grateful for the flu!