What to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed…

What to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed… July 31, 2012

Penny with her great-grandmother

In mid-July I was alone with my kids for six nights and I happened to come down with a nasty cold. We had just moved from New Jersey to Connecticut, so the house was still in boxes, and my list of things I was supposed to have done before Peter went away seemed longer than ever. To top it off, our kids seemed to have decided that 5 a.m. was a fabulous time to wake up for the day.

(I should add a disclaimer before you feel too sorry for me–I had a babysitter helping out during the days AND my mother offered to come up for one night. So although the reality of my situation wasn’t very fun, my sense of being totally overwhelmed was somewhat subjective.)

I fell asleep the first night dreading how quickly the morning would come, ticking off the numbers of things I needed to try to accomplish the next day, wrestling guilt for not being as present to my children as I wanted to be. And, finally, praying. It was then that one of the simplest and most often repeated words of wisdom arrived: Be thankful. Count your blessings. (See Philippians 4 for more…)

And so I did. All week long.

Thankful that Marilee all of a sudden decided she likes books, especially Sandra Boynton’s Belly Button Book.

Thankful that Penny loves visiting her great-grandmother, who lives next door.

Thankful that William was awake one night just as the sun was setting over the marsh, and we tiptoed upstairs to watch it together.

Thankful that Marilee has decided it is fabulous to talk to her dad on the phone rather than screaming and running away from it.

Thankful that Penny loves being a big sister, that I caught her trying to comfort Marilee when she was crying in her crib, and caught William pulling Penny back because she was breaking the rules about staying in bed.

Thankful that William wants to be my helper “dead heading” the daisies outside, which involves dozens of perfectly good daisies strewn on the ground and a very proud boy.

Thankful that Penny can read whole books to herself and her little brother.

Thankful for hugs and kisses and a cool breeze off the water.

In the midst of blowing my nose and rubbing my eyes and piling more unanswered mail on my desk, thankful.


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