When the new year ticked over, I felt such hope and promise for a wonderful 2020. In fact my first Instagram post for the year said ‘I have decided that 2020 will be a ridiculously amazing year’. Today, I woke up with similar excitement. I decided that no matter what the circumstances are, I am going to have a great day. I had a delicious breakfast with lots of yummy feijoas. Our neighbour gave them to us over the fence a couple of days ago, making sure we kept our 2-3 metre separation of course! Actually this neighbour and I have chatted over the fence more in the last week, than we have in the whole 22 plus years that we have been neighbours. See! Good does come out of bad situations.
Back to today. While eating breakfast, I had worship music playing and I was singing and humming along with my faith in God strong and sure. ‘Waymaker’ is an amazing song that speaks truth about God working in this world and in lives without us even knowing what is going on, or what the outcome is going to be. We just KNOW that He is working in our midst, and we praise Him for it. He is the way maker, a miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God, and that is who He is! I had found a recipe that I had post onto my Facebook last year for a feijoa loaf, and planned on making this loaf straight after breakfast. Life was ticking along nicely, no big dramas, everyone was happy and entertaining themselves without conflict. So peaceful and my heart was happy.
And then, once again, before I could gather myself, I was once again in stress mode! The strong-willed youngest argued over a teaspoon! A teaspoon! She wanted the bigger one, not the one I gave her! There is always a trigger. My response should be ‘walk away’, but when these so-called little things happen ALL THE TIME, I react! And ultimately, I’m the one who suffers! This is the reason that Grand parents should not be in the role of a parent. We aren’t young and don’t have boundless energy for the growing and disciplining of young children. We are getting old, and need to have life slow down and become more peaceful. Life with children isn’t peaceful! Well certainly not all the time!
Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday! We have been talking about Easter all weekend, and the significance of the cross and what it represents for each one of us. I’m so thankful for my salvation and the hope for eternal life because of the fact that death has been defeated by Jesus, and that He is alive! He has risen from the grave! Hallelujah! Read Romans 10:9&10. Believe, confess and you are saved. So, where did I spend Good Friday morning? Not at home celebrating, but at the accident and emergency department, trying to find out what this annoying rash is that has been on my chest for the past few days! Turns out that I have shingles!
What causes shingles? Stress! One of the main causes for Shingles in my age group is stress! I have been told so so many times in the last 4 years that I need to have more down time, to slow down and have less stress. But it is actually impossible! We have three children aged 14, 10 and 6 to care for and raise. Living life with 3 children means that peace and harmony are virtually non-existent in our home, even though we as the adults are working hard for it.
Last November both my husband and myself developed Viral Conjunctivitis. A horrible horrible viral infection of the eyes, that cannot be treated by antibiotics, your body has to fight the virus in order for you to be healed. Four months later I was still having steroid drops in my left eye as there is still remnants of the virus in my eye. It has possibly caused permanent damage! When Corona Virus hit the world, my husband and I were very wary. We knew from personal experience that a virus is extremely hard to be healed of, especially if your immune system is low. To be raising three grandchildren in our 60’s means that we are constantly running ‘on empty’. The Corona Virus has put NZ in a state of Lockdown! That means for 4 weeks we are to stay put! No school for the children. No ability to distance from each other for a period of time, except for getting outside and doing projects around the house. My husband has been fortunate that he is still employed and is working from his home office. So from 7:30-5:30 Monday to Friday, he is ‘at work’, and I have full responsibility of the home and children’s needs.
The first couple of weeks seemed to be pretty successful. I made a schedule for the children which consisted of working in the areas of education, chores and exercise, to gain rewards of computer time, Playstation time and special treats. And because it was pretty much self-directed, I was able to find time to get out and sand and paint two walls of our house. A project that has been waiting a very long time to be completed. My husband also helped in the weekends. We also managed to pull out a lot of old tree stumps and add iron on a boundary fence. We have only 5 stumps left of about 20! I was feeling so positive and also elated that these jobs were getting done. But each day, there was housework, meals to prepare, check that the children were following the ‘program’ and also personal hygiene to take care of. Mostly, I needed to keep control of all these things whilst trying to get some freedom and alone time while doing outside chores. How people home school is beyond me. They must either have very compliant children, who have somehow grasped the idea that their education is a top priority in their life, or the parents are enforcing the ‘rules’ constantly in order to achieve the daily requirements! I personally can’t wait until the schools reopen. I thank all the teachers for willingly choosing a career that means they are surrounded by children for 6 hours everyday. God bless you! I need that school time break every day!
By the third week, I knew I was getting very tired and run down. I actually felt the challenge to slow down, but resisted because the sense of achievement was such a great reward and honestly a great feeling for me! I wanted to get all the delayed jobs completed before Lockdown finished. My mind was buzzing with all the plans I had, and even sleeping was broken and difficult because I couldn’t switch off.
Then the rash appeared!
Now to do a little reflection. I’m trying to ‘care less’ about getting the children to use the time as constructively as I was trying to do. I’m also trying to stress less and get more rest. I have to! This Shingles is slowly spreading from my chest to my neck and up to behind my ear, under my chin, and over my shoulder! I don’t want it in my ear or eyes as the prognosis isn’t good if you get shingles there! I have no control of it so I can only rest more and pray! I can still be thankful though. I am thankful that I’m loving Lockdown for the ability to stay at home and not have to meet all the daily commitments we used to have. Our weeks were so busy going places for this and that. I’m thankful for the internet, and the ability to keep in touch with family and friends via messenger video chats. I’m thankful that I have shingles and not corona virus (although shingles is so darn itchy and stingy). I’m thankful that I have constant companionship. Children may be hard work, but they are also great entertainers. I think I would be rather bored without them around. I’m thankful that these children are healthy, they eat well and they sleep well. I’m thankful that we get the opportunity to help show them what a good loving home should be (when I’m not overtired and stressed). I’m thankful to be able to give them the security that they have a stable home and that their daily needs are taken care of.
I’m sad that the children’s parents didn’t provide Easter goodies for their children. They didn’t even hear from their mother, in fact they haven’t heard from her since January. I took them down to say hello to their Dad for Easter (from the car). They had home-made cards that they wanted to give him. He was super happy to see them, but he had been drinking and was way too giggly and silly, and he didn’t have the promised Easter eggs for them. A 37-year-old parent who behaves more like a selfish irresponsible child than their own children do! I’m thankful that the children don’t see that behaviour, all they see is their Dad. They love him so much! They were so happy to see, and talk to him, and they quickly forgave him for his broken promise, in fact they excuse all his failings. Oh to love like a child!
PS I made the Feijoa loaf and it was delicious 🙂