I thought I was having a bad week. There were sick kids, and a sick me. Day after day of sharing our lone bathroom as the stomach flu ravaged our family. At one point, late at night, my middle child and I sat next to one another, perched in front of the toilet, taking turns being ill and hoping this delicate give and take was not unbalanced.
There was laundry piling up, the normal variety as well as the extra caused by the germs that ran rampant. The house smelled of sick, and bleach, and Lysol. Extra blankets were pulled out to counter the chills that seemed to have taken root deep inside, never allowing any of us to feel quite warm enough--despite the fact that fevers raged and brows dripped with sweat.
The ill tempers of three tired children and an exhausted mother made us poor companions as the germs and fevers began to subside. We were all cranky, and weak, and ready to get back to normal. So off to school and work we all ventured, still a bit shaky, but desperate for the company of someone who had not thrown up next to us, or stole the remote control, or drank the last of the ginger ale.
A midday call from my husband broke the news of the shooting. The rest of the day was filled with the bits and snippets that filtered through the news, some true and some not. The details began to fill in, and the full horror of the Newtown massacre began to emerge.
There is a desire, in times of crisis, to try to find out more details, more images, more information. We consume the stories, gorge on them, gnawing on every morsel that the media presents. Each grainy moment frozen in time, every sound bite....
No one wanted to be at work. Even though there was over a thousand miles between my hometown and Newtown, my mind remained there for the rest of the day. No one wanted to be anywhere but home, with their family, holding their children, and thanking God that it wasn't their daughter, their son.
I thought I was having a bad week.
Thank God for the piles of laundry, the bickering voices bellowing from another room. Bless their messy rooms and their hair that needs brushing. I am so blessed to tuck my sassy, loud, unruly children into bed and to kiss their heads before I stumble over a stray Lego on my way out.
Tonight, we will have a special dinner, all of us, and I will try not to cry as their voices--always intentionally out of cadence--bless the food. As they complain, and goad, and talk over one another, I will sit back and bask in the beauty of my wonderfully imperfect family.
Tomorrow, they can clean their room. Soon, I will shush them, and sigh, and roll my eyes again...but for tonight, I will remember my blessings.