No need to beat around the bush, this summer has been tough. We have taken residence at my parents in rural South Dakota, while working and traveling in the Twin Cities. My mother and father have graciously offered to take care of the boys while we are away, couch surfing and working in the city, and traveling on mission trips. Royce & Arthur are LOVING time with grandma and grandpa, and for the most part, I think grandma and grandpa are enjoying them!
I spend most of my time away worrying, and the remaining percentage trying to scramble to finish the work I have laid out for myself this summer, which includes two classes, a summer internship, a sister who is getting married and a baby shower for a dear friend. But most of the time is spent worrying. Worrying that I’ve asked too much of my parents – especially my mother who is staying home all day with them, worrying about what travel will do to my terrible back and neck pain, worrying I’m doing too much, worrying that they will miss me so much they won’t forgive me, worried that they will be so confused by all this switching houses and mom and dad back and forth, worrying what the world thinks of me, worrying that my husband thinks I’m selfish for working instead of staying home with my boys, worrying that I’m not a good mom, worrying that my church thinks I’m not doing enough because I’m spending too much time at home – it’s exhausting.
What I know is that when I’m home, I have so much fun with my boys – and I love watching how deeply they’ve bonded with my parents. I remember to cherish every snuggle and silly giggle, and even the frustrating, screaming moments – they are precious, and this time is fleeting! When I’m working with the youth at my church, I feel like I’m doing what I should be doing – I’ve had several years to get to know these wonderful people, and I cherish these last few weeks to get to spend with them – ministry seems to be about brief periods of complete joy, and all too many reminders of time’s speedy cruelty.
I know there are many who don’t approve of my traveling and spending time away from my boys this summer, and these choices I’ve made are affecting my family. I know that my boys will remember little more about this summer than mom and dad were gone a lot, but that grandma and grandpa are so important to them because of the care and love they show. I know my ministry has had an extra summer of blossoming, doing God’s work to help better me for future ministry. I know Marty’s job will continue to allow him flexibility and provide us benefits that help us out immensely. I know God will continue to walk with us as we figure things out, and I feel fairly certain we will not see these kinds of summers often – and I know I need to cherish the time with my parents as well as all these others. Thank you, God for this time, and help me remember that all stations of life have their own ups and downs, and help me to remember to enjoy the ups rather than lamenting the downs!