I've had it happen many times in my young adult life—which I'm by no means saying I'm not a young adult anymore, the 30s haven't hit me quite yet so slow your roll!—whether it was in the midst of a treacherous part of my teenage years, a tumultuous part of my early 20s or simply the challenges of a my post-grad college student days while trying to make my mark on the world. I would feel defeated or lost or inconsolable, and then a moment would happen and it wouldn't fix everything but it would lift my chin just enough so that I could see the goal again.
|photo from a 2010 trip to spain|
As it's overtly documented, my life is swallowed up by my constant reality that I'm a mom to toddler quadruplets and they consume every waking second of my life. Sometimes they even intrude on the unwaking seconds, too, and that really tries my patience! But God decided that I could handle it and I can't even begin to count the number of days that I truly wonder if He thought far too much of me. I have dealt with some pretty heavy stuff in my life and some impressively heavy obstacles from a young age, but having quadruplets has been the most difficult thing I think I've ever experienced. Yet God doesn't make mistakes and in His infinite grace and wisdom, He has given me the strength and endurance I've needed to survive it all. From the difficult pregnancy to our NICU journey with the babies to my continuing recovery more than two years later, He's never left my side. It's like a trail of bread crumbs, if you will, that simply leads me from one step to the next. Never faster, never slower, just one step, one day at a time.
In the beginning of our adventure with four babies at home (they were two months old once they all graduated from the NICU), we were sleep deprived beyond belief and challenged beyond measure. Many of you know that story well by now and I appreciate that you're still here reading! The husband and I—as well as our parents who so graciously helped us through—experienced many days during which we felt like we couldn't take anymore. Then a baby would roll over or smile or laugh, or we'd get a rare break to go out for dinner together and reconnect or a chance to sleep for an extra hour, and somewhere deep down we'd find that ability to muster and do another bottle feeding or change our 24th diaper in as many hours.
Now, at two years of age, our sweet quad squad is challenging us and themselves more and more. There are the littlest of moments that keep me going on a daily basis for which I am so grateful. Like the afternoons when all four monkeys decide to stop climbing the walls and actually sleep...at the same time....for more than two hours. And then I go to check the mail and find it full of new reading material and Netflix DVDs.
Or the solid 30 minutes I get when new toys are introduced and they're all infatuated and play contentedly before screaming like hyenas because she touched my arm and I pulled her hair, mommy. I value the menu of sure-fire meals that the quads will inhale when I don't feel like playing the guessing game about who's going to actually eat their scrambled eggs this morning when I made extra last time by request and no one touched them. I love the moments when I've had enough of the bickering and complaining and wonder just how long the teething is going to last, when I look in the play room and spot a completely naked toddler putting her pots in the play kitchen's oven and cooking up a storm without a second thought.
A perfect weather day is very treasured when we can spend time outdoors sans any ear-piercing screams or encroachment on personal space, and also not worry about triple digit heat, overzealous mosquitos or the two-minute sunburn. And thank God, thank the sweet Jesus, for Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol and, dare I say it, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse—they are responsible for peace keeping and sanity saving on a near-daily basis. They are also often the reason that the laundry got washed or the dishwasher was actually emptied. (But don't judge me on the fact that clean clothes never get put away, they seem to simply get pulled from the basket until it's empty and ready to refill!)
It's hard to keep a brave face on all the time, which is exactly why sometimes I think I hit a low spot so that I can be on the upward curve again. There's power in feeling rejuvenated, even if it's just for an afternoon! The littlest moments can have the largest impact—on my life, on your life, on the life of someone you barely know. As I've matured into the person I am now and as I've learned so many compacted life lessons in the past two years, I know that I take joy in those fleeting seconds of complete determination and hope they'll help me coast onto the next phase, the next challenge. It's like a calm in the eye of the storm...