Five Souls

Every once in a while I stop, look around, and am absolutely astounded at where life has taken me. Sitting here, listening to my almost-five-year-old and her best friend playing upstairs; watching my seven-year-old build amazing creations with Legos; the clanking of bowls and measuring cups revealing my ten-year-old is honing her gluten-free-baking skills; knowing the silence from my twelve- and fourteen-year-olds indicates they're deep in the world of Minecraft or other game, the enormity of what life has handed me hits, overwhelms.

God has entrusted me with five lives - with five souls to nurture and nourish. I can barely wrap my mind around the concept. 

So many times over the past fourteen years, I've felt like a total failure as a parent. Through morning sickness, psoriatic arthritis flares, and bouts of depression that have left me barely functioning, it has pained me to not to be able to do and be more for my kids. At the opposite end of the spectrum, when I have been able to do and be all, I felt like we were always too busy, with too little downtime - and definitely not enough time for me to take care of me. 
Living with a chronic illness, finding balance sometimes doesn't seem to work. I may go for a stretch of months where I'm physically unable to do much and when I need to rest as much as possible. Or there may be months when I want to go full speed ahead, willing my now-feeling-better body to comply. The balance, for me, is in living every day to its fullest, whatever that means on the particular day. 

Instead of looking for balance in a day or a week or a month, I look at a year. A year of time spent curled up in bed with my kids reading books and playing games; time spent exploring aquariums, museums, science centers, caves, beaches, and forests; time spent at church, homeschool co-op, sleepovers, game days, and other events; time spent at doctor appointments, infusions, and just plain old hibernating in bed. 

My week or day or month may not seem balanced, but it all balances out when you look at the big picture. And just when I start thinking I am not doing or being enough for my kids, someone comes along and reminds me that we all are doing fine.  Perhaps I'm not doing such a bad job after all with these five precious souls.


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