Laurelin Grace, our youngest, turned one recently. The first year of her life has been an eventful one for our family. She was born 3 weeks early, induced in a bit of a rush. For the first 5 weeks of her life, she nursed every 2 hours or less and developed strong lungs from all her colic-induced crying. Somehow, through all her struggles, my wildly fluctuating (high) blood pressure recovering from pre-eclampsia which took 4 months, and two older children who needed mummy (and school pick-ups, and dinner, and owies kissed, and stories read…) we survived. Probably only because of the generous help of many friends and family members, and the flexibility Ben had working from home.
A few months after her birth there was talk that Oyster would be selling to TripAdvisor, but it was all secret, so we couldn’t talk about it. But we knew that the prospect of moving back to the States if Ben was offered a job with them was a real one. Ben was super excited. I encouraged him, not knowing how I’d manage a move. Again. With a baby. Long term.
I think perhaps I was too tired to think too hard about it all, and just dealt with one day at a time, doing the tasks set before me. Organize furniture removal company. Fill out immigration forms. Try to get the household back on its feet with me doing the work instead of helpers. Just doing the next thing. We packed up, we moved back to the States, found a rental apartment, moved in; and we’re slowly finding friends, getting into extra-curricular activities and learning where to shop, all over again.
And somehow, day after day, God’s grace sustained us. I’ve learnt a few things this past year. I’ve learnt that whatever strength I have, is His. My health is a gift. I have been blessed with so much. So many lavish gifts… and it’s all grace. I had to have a little chuckle looking at the drafts folder here on the blog of things I thought about writing 2 years ago, when I felt a bit more like I had things under control in the whole motherhood zone. I am now much more aware of my weaknesses, and am learning to be a little less hard on myself. And on other mothers! And, more importantly, less hard on my kids, especially Marica who was starting to feel like she was never good enough. I realized that if my daugther was feeling that way at 7, I’m doing something majorly wrong.
So we’ve been lowering the standard a bit around here. I’ve been working on showing more gentleness and grace. How can I lavishly receive God’s grace and not in turn show it to my children? It’s been bearing some good fruit, for the most part. Seeing them as people with their own ideas, hopes and emotions instead of robots who only need to be trained to obey helps too. Obvious if you think about it, but somehow hard to implement.
This past year has been tough in many ways. Many days still are — raising kids, practicing contentment, missing friends and family, etc — but it’s been a good year. A year of growing in grace.