Y’all.

As I think about trying to describe the events of the past several days, I can hardly find the words . . . but suffice it to say, this seems as good a time as any to break my blogging hiatus and get back to it!

So, it was Mother’s Day this past Sunday, and according to Facebook, it was a day filled with flowers, chocolates, breakfast in bed, cute crafts from the kiddos, and generally a plethora of mystical, warm fuzzies.

Well, not at my house.

My day began by getting the kids up and doing the usual morning routine—except on my own, since Aaron was on call. Boo. While I knew he was on call, it still stinks when he has to go in and operate, especially when I’m secretly hoping he’s just minutes from returning home with a huge bouquet of flowers and something pretty for me. A girl can dream, right?

A little special treatment seemed particularly in order following our week last week—both kiddos and myself were down for the count with an awful cold bug that started out as something simple and turned into the bug from you-know-where. Coughing, sneezing, fever, and snots-galore. Fun times!

Anyways, we laid low until Aaron returned home in the early afternoon—just in time for me to start feeling rather queasy. I figured it was the usual nausea that follows a splitting headache, but that proved not to be the case. Nope, it was the stomach flu.

The stomach flu, people. As in the I think I’m gonna die, this is not the way I wanted to lose 3 pounds kind of thing. The last time I ever had something like this was many, many years ago, in our first year of marriage after a visit to one of our favorite restaurants in Mobile, Alabama. Naturally, said restaurant was quickly crossed off our list of favorites after such an experience. But I digress . . .

After several hours of misery, this evil virus tagged its next victim—Aaron. We were quite the pitiful sight Sunday evening as we rallied any bit of strength in us to keep the kiddos alive and fed until putting them down for an early bedtime. As I closed the door to Isaiah’s room, I had the uneasy feeling that I’d be seeing him again soon.

And indeed, like clockwork, he was the next victim. As I wallowed on the couch in pain and self-pity, the undeniable sound of heaving blasted through the monitor, and I could almost smell the stench. From there, the entire night was a circus and fevered haze of vomit, crying, laundry, baths, changed sheets, more laundry, more baths, more crying . . . if you’ve been through it, you totally know what I mean. If you haven’t, there’s no need to provide details and scare you—if you have little ones, you’ll experience it soon enough.

I always wondered what happens when the parents and the kids are sick . . . well, we found out in bright Technicolor, and it ain’t pretty! Seems as though I vaguely remember some of you posting about this type of biological apocalypse on your Facebook page, but to be honest, I kind of scrolled past it quickly in a “hear no evil” type of way (i.e., if I don’t read it, it can’t really be true and therefore can’t happen to me one day . . . I feel the same way about lice infestations.). Aaron and I feel as though we’ve earned our “stripes” as parents now. I suppose we should be thankful we made it nearly 2 years without such an episode! And as my mom so gently told me, this will likely be the first of many of these types of things. Yikes!

So, there you have it—not the Mother’s Day celebration I anticipated or dreamt about. But in an ironic way, my experience turned out to be the quintessential celebration of what motherhood is all about—love, sacrifice, enduring strength. More than anything, this experience shone a bright spotlight on my incredible need for Jesus as I mother these two blessings. I’m amazed at how physical illness highlights our great need for His strength, and how the only way we can survive and thrive is to “live and move and have our being” in Him. (Acts 17:28 NIV). This was a great (and painful) reminder that I cannot be a “super mom” in my own strength. I need the God who created these babies to give me the strength, wisdom, and courage to take care of and raise them.

Reflecting on the weekend, I am also amazed at God’s goodness, His blessings in the midst of suffering. Aaron and I firmly believe our sickness of late is an attack by the enemy, a sifting of sorts (see Luke 22:31). Even though the enemy’s hand feels heavy upon us, I see the Hand of my loving Heavenly Father shining through in many small gifts:

  • Aaron and I’s sickness was staggered, so that at all times at least one of us was capable—no matter how weakly—to take care of the kiddos
  • Hemingway did not progress in her sickness and, to this point, has avoided it—I’m incredibly thankful, since she’s so tiny and suffered the most from the prior cold bug
  • Aaron had previously made some changes to his Monday schedule that made it much easier for his partners to cover his cases
  • He was also able to come home early on Tuesday, as Isaiah and I were still sick and needed some reinforcement
  • I had just made a Costco run and happened to pick up some Gatorade (something I haven’t bought in months) and a big bunch of bananas

Best of all, there was a parting of the storm clouds the Saturday night beforehand. Our church held a special service that evening, and the four of us were able to attend and have Hemingway dedicated. I am super sentimental, and last Mother’s Day we had Isaiah dedicated at church, so I really wanted to do the same for baby girl. Looking back now, it was truly a miracle that this happened—Aaron had been operating all day but had a brief break that evening, and everyone had recovered from the nasty cold bug. Hemingway wore a beautiful dress her Aunt Cece made for her, and I was even able to snap a couple cute pictures of her wearing it. It was a joyful and meaningful evening!

So you know what? If your Mother’s Day didn’t live up to your expectations—it’s ok. If you spent your day sick, or paralyzed by the pain of longing to be a mother (oh, how I have been there, my friend), or disappointed that you don’t have the relationship with your mother that you wish you had, or overcome with grief that you no longer have your mama on this earth—He knows. He cares. We place so much emphasis on these holidays and so many expectations when, truth be told, such expectations rarely lead us to a place of peace and contentment.

No matter your experience on that day, don’t allow the enemy to distract your mind and cover you with discouragement. Embrace the vomit, the pain, the heartache, and all the myriad of blessings that are indeed present . . . you may, like me, just have to look a little harder to find them.