A new week is beginning. In some ways it feels like the start of a new year. I spent the weekend dreaming of just how much different this week will be than the last. I feel like somewhere I should have a list of resolutions. Turn the page on a calendar.
The reality is resolutions in this case would be pointless. The things that made last week a week to forget but one I'll always remember are completely out of my control. Ian's asthma flared up and he spent a couple of days in the hospital. At the same time, Mother Nature decided to drop 2 inches of snow on us, likely the result of a backroom deal with local students anxious to escape end of semester exams. They clearly drug our local VDOT workers into the negotiations. Many area roads were more favorable for Olympic speed skaters in training than automobiles 4 days after the event. The Ohioan in me refuses to call the event a storm.
Don't get me wrong, it wouldn't be unlike me to make a resolution to make this week better than last. I think there are days I believe I can actually control things like asthma and snow. Those are days I'm probably too busy dreaming or planning an alternate reality to see God's hands in the one before me. One probably not as comfortable at first glance than the one I had planned.
We can start with Ian's Asthma attack. A year ago Katie's job situation would have made it far less convenient to spend 2 days at the hospital with Ian. I say "less" convenient because there is never anything convenient about sleeping and eating and worrying bedside of a sick child. But Ian loves his mama, so the load of his ordeal was significantly lightened having her there with him. And believe me, there is no better mama to nurse our sick kids. (I do hope every dad out there wants to fight me over that claim).
Then there's the understanding that Ian's hospital stay will likely not be a cheap one. But just a few months ago we were wrestling with health insurance issues that now in hindsight got resolved just in time. So not a cheap stay, but a whole lot cheaper than it otherwise could have been.
Hospital stays often come with boredom. Ian's stay was a little more bored than it had to be because our family was without the iPad Ian quite unnecessarily broke the week before. I won't kick a sick boy while he's down, but for a while there it was a wonderful natural consequence for Ian to experience. Until mama grew tired of reading him stories, singing him songs and doing her best Caillou impressions - things an iPad can do when the parent runs out of batteries.
To the rescue comes dear friends Rob Smith and family. Rob, upon hearing of Ian's battle with sudden electronics depravation (SED), jumped into his car and drove across town through Mother Nature's "event" to loan Ian a Nook (iPad-like electronic device). A Nook that belonged to his daughter, who was more than happy to lend it to Ian with hopes it would make him feel better. They also brought some coloring books and an extension cord for Katie so it would be easier for her to charge her phone.
I must add that my mother-in-law made Rob some homemade biscuits over the weekend to thank him for his efforts. I've had her biscuits, so I know he has unexpectedly been compensated nicely for the trip.
Whether it was Rob's visit or grandma and grandpa's, countless phone calls and text messages, well wishes through Facebook and email, cards and gifts delivered from Ian's schoolmates, offers from teachers and friends to look after Elliott while he was out of school during the snow event, and persistent thoughts and prayers, our friends and family made their presence felt in such a strong way last week. Too often we forget how many of these folks we have in our life and how much they mean to us.
And then I must confess, with two boys in the house things often get chaotic. And loud. What I wouldn't do some days for quiet. Last week I had plenty of it. While Ian was in the hospital the house couldn't have been any more still. Within the early seconds of having it, though, I found myself begging for the return of chaos, and couldn't have been more grateful when it came knocking at the front door.
The quiet wasn't all bad, though. Katie sent me a text message while she was with Ian in the hospital asking me to help Elliott finish up a school project. I discovered it's much easier to finish something up that has actually been started. So we started and then completed the timeline of Elliott's life project. In doing so, Elliott and I spent some time going back through the articles and pictures on this blog to find materials for the project. What a trip down memory lane. What a blessing to discover all along God has been preparing through my blogging the absolute wrong person with the right materials to frantically complete a 1st grade homework assignment.
Do you want to know the real irony of the week. My plans for order and predictability last week were disrupted by hospital visits and Mother Nature. And then there was this area in my life last week where I had actually predicted chaos, and up showed just the opposite: unexpected delight.
I'm talking about my Upward basketball coaching experience. I previous wrote a blog post about launching my basketball coaching career in sheer panic: Nowhere To Go But Upward. This past Saturday we had our first game, though. The kids were great. They listened. They played hard. They looked out for one another. They treated the other team with respect. And they won. Elliott tried to convince me we actually lost, but it's an argument that will be hard to settle since we don't keep score. So just trust me, the Dragons won.
I guess last week was a good reminder that I probably spend way too much time planning for and trying to manufacture predictability in my life, when over and over life makes one thing crystal clear: it is unpredictable if nothing else. There is so much more value in taking time to see the lessons in it all. The stories. And being grateful for each of them.
I shared a quote last week that rings more clear in meaning this morning than it did when I shared it:
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for all good things that come to you, and to give thanks continually. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson