Twice this week we had 2-hour school delays due to frigid temperatures. At first, I was excited - "Oh yay, we can sleep in a little!" And we did sleep in a little but the whole day was thrown off because of our love for sleep. Not to mention, it kind of messed up the girls getting used to a full day at school, going to bed early, getting up early. I'll be honest - we are all a little grumpy this week having to get back to homework, school and work schedules, packing lunches, and all the other regular household duties.
Yesterday in the rush of getting out the door to avoid anyone being late, Mattie was left out of the kitchen. Our dogs are never left free roam of the house while we are away or sleeping. Their "room" is the kitchen. They have plenty of space to walk around. Their beds are kept there as well as their water bowl and food. I think they even think of it as their room sometimes - a space they only have to occasionally share with the rest of us. Yesterday I unknowingly locked Mattie out of her room giving her freedom to the rest of the house. If only I could have been a fly on the wall to see what she and Bella thought of that whole deal.
Con for Mattie - her water bowl and food was out of reach. Pro for Bella - more than a double portion of breakfast as evidenced by Mattie's empty food bowl. Fortunately (? not sure this is really 'fortunate' but) for Mattie our toilet seat was left up. She does love her potty water. Gross I know, but it is very much true. My first reaction when I realized she had been left out all day was panic. The girls' rooms were the first to be checked. I could only imagine what favorite toy, crayon or clothing Mattie got into and chewed to destruction. Surprisingly the rooms seemed to have remained untouched. Peculiar enough though Mattie was not on the couch when we entered the house as I would have expected. Instead she came from down the hall, from the bedrooms. I am certainly curious where she hung out all day. And I am very curious whether Bella enjoyed having the room to herself or if she sat at the gate, with her back towards the living room, her usual stance when she is mad or pouting.
Although nothing seemed to have been ruined as far as being chewed on, Mattie did leave a couple of "presents" on the carpet which was really baffling considering she manages to hold it all in all day when in "her" room.
The dog incident is just one of several examples I could give on our week not going "smoothly." Finding normal is tough and I guess to expect it to happen in as short of a time period as a week is unrealistic.
Yesterday I was reminded though by the words of a dear friend that for some us, "finding normal" this year is a lot more painful than simply adjusting to getting up early and homework. For many this will be the first new year without loved ones. For some this will be the first new year as a single parent. And there are other struggles, other challenges some are facing the beginning of this new year.
It's painful. I know. I've been there. With each holiday or big event the year after my dad passed away and again after Ed's mom passed away brought on a lot stress, anxiety, sadness - even confusion and this feeling of being torn in two. After all, some of these events should have been full of joy like my wedding and the birth of my second daughter. But with each of these, there was also the reality that someone was missing. Someone I loved and missed dearly. And it was painful. Sometimes, despite the fact so much time has passed, it still is painful.
This week I finished a book by Beth Moore, "Feathers From My Nest." In one of her chapters she wrote this:
The goal of life is not the absence of pain. It's the presence of glory. God's glory. And sometimes that comes most vividly with pain.
I am learning it is okay to feel pain, to be angry with the circumstance, with what I can't understand. I am still learning to go to God in those moments of pain, of missing someone, of facing a seemingly impossible challenge. My hope and prayer for all those faced with a difficult "finding normal" is to hold onto hope. Hold onto God's promise for all of us. Seek God to get you through the difficult moments.
"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."