It’s sweltering today as the heat from the sun and animosity suffocate us all. Tears flow from those who struggle with missing those who were left behind. The battlefield is full of frustration as people already begin to feel defeated – and yet the war has just begun. I often ponder how those who came before us were able to defeat these same enemies; however, this is no longer their fight. It is our job to face these battles, side by side, with the courage we have gathered over time. We must use any resources possible to survive these dismal circumstances.
While this excerpt from my imaginary journal may seem like that of someone who has gone off to war, it’s not. In fact, this is simply the life of a parent – particularly one who is dealing with kids home for the summer. Today has been one of those days where parenting three kids (all under the age of 10) is utterly draining. The potty-training toddler is climbing on furniture, daring to be the next Evel Knievle. The nine-year-old who is here for the month has the attitude of an entitled teenager with the emotional responses of a preschooler. And the seven-year-old can’t seem to decide if she wants to sit in her room alone or be the energetic center of attention. It all feels like too much sometimes.
I have to remind myself, though, that things could always be worse. I could actually be in the desert, dehydrated and malnourished, fighting for my life and the lives of others. I could be living under a bridge, having not eating a full meal in a week, wondering how to keep from getting pneumonia. I could be living in a massive home, surrounded by priceless paintings and precious jewels, with no one in the world who loves me.
It is often said that we should never compare our troubles to those of others. The fights that others face do not make our own problems any less legitimate. Our current struggles are still struggles. But it is similarly important to recognize that this is not the end. Even at rock bottom, you can always go up.
Perhaps you are shorthanded and feel overwhelmed with running a business on your own. Maybe your marketing plan isn’t bringing the results that you projected. You could even be facing the end of your long-standing business, staring at a “Closed” sign with pain and fear. Whatever your situation, a new chapter is always awaiting. There are also likely several small blessings surrounding you now which seem impossible to see. So, as I ready myself to face the battlefield of sibling rivalry, irresponsibility, and attention-seekers, I listen carefully. The laughter of kids playing together makes my heart smile. There is joy in knowing that my family will not go without as I prepare to make dinner. And besides, bedtime is just a few hours away.