|Elvis encountering grass for the first time!|
I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
Spring is here! I woke up this morning and felt that surely nothing bad can happen when spring is new and the sun is shining. I've been thinking a lot about gratitude lately; I think because lately I've felt so fortunate; especially when we were able to spend 10 uninterrupted days of family time while on vacation. It is so rare that we are really able to enjoy each other's company, without worrying about schedules and work and school.
It is so easy (and I'm often guilty of this) to focus on the little problems and annoyances in life; where the mere fact that we are alive and able to have annoyances should be enough! A year ago in January, while I was 4 months pregnant with Elvis; James had a life threatening reaction to penicillin, and went into anaphylactic shock. He went to the doctor with hives and body aches, and before we knew what was happening, was hospitalized; with an abnormally elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and chest pain. I sat by his side all night, while he was barely conscious, and the doctors were trying to figure out what was going on, since it was a very bad reaction, worse than they had ever seen. His poor heart was going at almost 200 beats per minute, even while he was sleeping, and his kidneys were not happy. I finally left the hospital at 4 am; after being given the not terribly reassuring "he's stable right now; go home and rest" from the doctor. I had to consider the possibility of losing my husband while pregnant with our fifth child. It was so odd; James has always been my rock during times where I was weak; beginning with my bout with a terrible flu and tonsillitis while we were dating, up to the miscarriage I had eight years ago, and even the happier times when I was more vulnerable than usual, like during my pregnancies and births. He is one of those people that is rarely sick; and I had never seen him in that role, being vulnerable physically, and needing my help. It's funny because I never brought our boys to visit him in the hospital, and he never asked to see them. It was only afterwards that we discussed it and found that we both had the same thought; we didn't want our boys to see their big strong daddy in such a state. We both expressed feeling that we wanted our boys to see him as strong and capable; and thought that seeing him sick would scare them and stick with them. For the day and half when his health was up in the air; I've never felt so alone. I also was trying to stay upbeat and take care of myself and the baby. I brought some crocheting with me to keep me occupied and cheerful at his bedside; in fact; it was the blanket you see in the picture above. I crocheted, dreamed of baby, and tried to stay positive. That blanket has special meaning for me now; it is Elvis' BLANKET; the one he sleeps with and goes with us in the car, and every time I see it; it's bittersweet and special. After Elvis was born at the birth center, I couldn't wait to have that moment I dreamed of while crocheting it, joyfully wrapping my baby in it; saying "We made it!". The midwives were very sensitive to my wishes, and wrapped Elvis in it right away as I asked, even though it was July!
I don't think I can ever look at things the same after that experience; I find myself most often very joyful; although my life is far from perfect and have daily worries and struggles like everyone. Sometimes I even feel guilty for being so joyful; how can it be that I am so lucky as to wake up in the morning, under a quilt that I adore, and although getting five children ready and out the door is not easy, and at times makes me grumpy; I know how fortunate I am. I don't have to look ahead to a day at a job I don't want to do; I get to make my own schedule and be with my children. If I decide (as I did last week) to take them all out for Cherry Cokes after school, get home later and throw a simple dinner together before Daddy gets home; I can! Right now in fact, I'm trying to decide whether to work on my mom's reception dress or make more soap; not a bad choice, is it?
I'm grateful that as I get older, I have the maturity and experiences under my belt that make me able to focus on the "good stuff". I'm not always perfect at this, but for the days when I feel "cheerful for no reason"; I am grateful!