I just recorded a CRAAAAZAAY video (you can view it here) a couple days ago. I thought it would be all serious, informative and an opportunity to demonstrate my obvious true calling as an engaging TV personality. To achieve this, I had a plan to hide from my kids. I set up my makeshift studio (aka my bedroom) and within minutes nine of my ten kids had bombarded me... all the while, unbeknownst to me, my two year old daughter had slipped into my bathroom and was meticulously caking mascara Lady Gaga style all over her face. Little monster!
At the end of it all, it wasn't what I had in mind. It involved lots of drool, continuous imaginative bed-fainting and braid-slapping, which I learned really is a thing (see 2:23). I'll admit I felt like crying a few times, and I'm not an overly emotional person. It was just so frustrating and not at all what I had planned, but I tried to embrace it and sewed together some kind of semblance of an informative video.
The next morning, I went to a lab for bloodwork (I'm 26 weeks pregnant with my 11th). I appreciated the quiet of the waiting room, as my head was still buzzing a little from the previous day's experience. While I was there, I looked out the window to the parking lot. A woman parked just outside. She walked to the side sliding door of her minivan and pulled down a wheelchair ramp. With great labor, she entered the van, maneuvered her husband's wheelchair down the ramp and fought the clumps of ice and snow to get her husband into the building. It took a good ten minutes to get settled inside and she was a little out of breath from the process. The technician sympathetically told her that she had been sent to the wrong place. Her husband let out a strained cry, a burst of frustration. It hurt my heart to look at him. His eyes were on his wife. You could tell he was burdened by the pain of knowing the effort it had been for her to bring him there. He lowered his head and shook it apologetically. I watched as his wife wheeled him out and braved the even harder task of wheeling him back up the ramp into the van. I jumped up at one point determined to help her, when it looked like the wheelchair was about to roll back on her, but she managed to summon the strength to finish the task. After they left, I couldn't stop thinking about them. Love. She was living out the hard, sacrificial, selfless gift of love for the good of her husband.
But my thoughts went, even more so, to him. Perhaps the greater burden was his: watching his wife die to herself to take care of his needs while all he could do was watch. I would find that one of the hardest crosses to bear. And I'm fully aware that that day may come. It is the cross of the sick and elderly in which they can often feel like burdens needing to rely completely on others, especially their loved ones (even though in TRUTH they are more powerful in their prayers and offerings than they could ever imagine).
I arrived home, so appreciative of the life I've been given. I thought of the huge amount of work it was sharing my life with all these dependent little people and was so grateful to be ABLE to do it. We can get so caught up in the crazy of the moment, that we neglect to remember that it is an incredible gift. I LOVE the new video now, because it shows the joy in my face as I'm being overtaken by kids and babies. That joy was there even without me realizing it. Please, don't buy the lie that this time in our lives is a burden. It is one of the greatest blessings to be able to take care of others.
The day may come when I can't chase after them, brush out their tangles, stop the excessive bed jumping, or clean up the major makeup mishaps. I'll miss it all tremendously and I want to find a way to remember that in the moment - even mid braid-slap.