Since childhood, I’ve always been encouraged to put family first. Now that I have a “nuclear” family of my own, that sentiment has come to have new meaning.
I realized this specifically last March when I found myself in the hospital, having a heart attack as a result of neglecting my diabetes. The only time I ever really took diabetes seriously was when I was pregnant with my girls. I was the lowest risk patient in my high-risk obstetrics practice. My sugars were in the perfect range through both 9-month periods. I exercised. I ate right. I was a machine. I thought of them, not me. That all changed when they were born healthy and happy.
Seeing those beauties at 6 and 7 staring back at me through the lines and equipment in cardiac intensive care took me back to those pregnancy days. As I sat in the hospital for the next few days, I realized that the “mamma bear” attitude I had in pregnancy was supposed to live on. It was supposed to become my new MO.
Family, I should have seen long ago, has more than one person in it. It has multiple – who have, or should have, a sort of symbiosis to them. Of course there are families, or parts of families, that have never realized this idea. And for those, I truly weep.
Families who allow the members in less than arms distance experience a world where the needs and desires of one are the needs and desires of all. My health and well-being isn’t about my lack of motivation or even my desire to look good. Its about being available to two girls growing into young ladies, who need to know to button their jackets in the cold and to sit with their legs together and their dresses pulled down. Its about illustrating that no matter how good that cupcake may be, you might want to put it down if you want the pretty princess dress to fit.
But its more. Its about being awake enough to support my husband after a long day of work, even if he is going to fall asleep in his favorite chair right after dinner. It’s about reminding him, when his mind is at the office, not to criticize the girls too much when they hate dinner or spill ice cream on their clothes.
My husband and my girls do the same for me – they remind me of the greater world of the family, and set me on course to play the roles and meet the needs within the family God intended me for.
All of this came back to me again today, as I was explaining to my 7 year old that “it’s not all about you.” She had been promised she’d share in whatever treat her older sister would take to school for her birthday, which apparently meant she now had the right to choose what said treat would be. We delved into the conversation about how she needed to stop passing on her chores, because having them done was important to everyone in the family.
Being a stay at home mom was not what I imagined God envisioned for me when I became a parent. I saw the Wonder Woman working in fabulous clothes by day, bathing and reading stories by night. Yet looking back, I see He has gone out of His was to place obstacles to working outside the home in my path. He was telling me “it’s not all about you.” I get it now, maybe. So my resolutions are:
Be a better house keeper
Get all of the laundry done at one time
Know which child has which activity which day
Recognize my husband’s contribution to the family
Be healthy so I can be available for my family
Thank God for the support and love in a family
Keep my glucose in check.
A family has many moving parts. I promise in 2014 to keep mine oiled and working for the good of us, not me.