Sixteen years ago yesterday, my family got a phone call saying that my grandfather had a heartattack and passed away. What devistating news to receive the day before Thanksgiving! That was the only time I really remember seeing my dad really cry. I remember getting ready to go to my grandma’s house in Iowa. My aunt and uncle came over to see what they could do for us while we were gone. I don’t remember the conversation but somewhere in the middle of it all, my dad broke down and cried at the loss of his father. My aunt and uncle put their arms around him and just let him cry. What a tramatic thing, to lose a parent. I dread that day in my own life.
But, at that time in our lives, home was a place to grieve and feel the pain of losing a loved one. What happens if home is not that place? Our homes should be a “Trauma Unit”. (Its funny how the chapters in this book seem to correspond with what is going on in my everyday life. Probably a good sign that God wanted me to read it! ) Anyway, all of my kids have been fighting colds just about from the time that Derick left. Christian’s has finally got the best of him. He was supposed to spend Thanksgiving with his daddy. (Joe is daddy, Derick is dad.) I talked to his grandma yesterday and felt obligated to tell her about his cold because I knew that she wouldn’t want to be around the cold germs. She said they would wait and pick him up on Thursday morning instead of Wednesday night to give him a chance to rest and recover. Then she called back later that day to say that they wouldn’t be getting him at all. Christian’s great grandparents are leaving on Friday to spend the winter in Florida and they don’t want to get sick before they go. I understand that, but it was so disappointing for Christian! I gave him a hug and tried to comfort him as best I could. I tried to explain to him why he needed to stay with me instead of going with them but in the end it still hurt his deeply-sensative, 7-year-old heart, and I just had to let him be sad for a while.
“With home as a trauma unit, I know my wounded heart will find healing when I am at home.” This is the kind of home environment I want to create for my family. Not just a place where it is ok to let down your walls in everyday situations, but also in the really hurtful and disappointing things in life. I want my children to know that if they had a really hard day at school, they can come home to recover. I don’t want home to add to the stress. With all the stresses that children face these days, the last thing they need is for home to compound the problem.
Most people have heard the phrase, “Its different when its your own kids.” I don’t think it is possible to fully comprehend that phrase until you actually have kids, and furthermore, until you have kids in school. It hurts me when my kids get hurt. I cried when we had to take Aida to the ER to get stitches in her forehead. But it hurts me even more when kids are mean to Christian at school. Maybe its because I knew the solution to the cut on Aida’s forehead, but I can’t always do anything about the mean kids at school. But what I can offer is a safe place to go after a stressful day in my kids’ lives.
Everyday, I am reminded of what a key role our family has in our personal lives. Yesterday afternoon I went to Salon True to perm my grandma’s hair. I love doing hair and during those 2 hours, I really missed working in a salon. And when I got home, the evening was crazy. But I wouldn’t change my job as a mother right now for a six-figure job at Bumble and Bumble! (That’s a well known, top of the line salon in New York City, for those of you who were wondering.) Everyday I am more convinced of the foundational role that family has in our lives. If the foundation is faulty, the rest of the structure is going to be faulty. Now is the time, while my kids are young, to develop habits of listening to them, and praying with them, rather than trying to just brush their problems under the rug or trying to solve it for them. Yes, my problems may have a bigger impact on the family as a whole, but to Christian, yesterday, no problem was bigger than having to stay home on Thanksgiving instead of visiting his Jolliff family. As a mother, its my job to recognize and understand that.
Today, I am thankful that I am a wife and a mother. There was a time in my life when I thought I couldn’t be both. But God is faithful and he heard my prayers. I am so proud of my husband. I am proud to say that I am a United States Navy wife! I consider it a privilege to stay home and raise 4 children so that Derick can do his job protecting our country and our family.