If I had a Christmas card list… Aka a selfish rant about sick kids

I wrote this a few nights ago while up most of the night with a terribly sick William. I wanted to wait awhile to see if I really wanted to post it. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do believe though that this is something all mothers go through and thus as a part of ‘the mother experiment’ it has a valid place. As with all of my 3am ramblings it is fairly long but I think it is surprisingly coherent. I hope.


If I had a Christmas card list then the person who got my children sick would be off it.

No I don’t really mean it? Do I?

I have a friend. No that’s not the shocking part, although after she reads this she might not want to be friends with me anymore. I have a friend who is a bit precious when it comes to sick children. I think we all have one of those friends.

You know the type I mean? The one who death stares anyone who brings a sick child within 2km of her little darlings but who will happily drag her kids out to a party when they’re coughing and spluttering and dripping with snot. I think we all have one of those friends don’t we. I think deep down all mothers are a bit like that. Love me love my children, snot and all, but keep your germs away from me.

I can’t really blame her. Her kids seem to always be sick. It must get incredibly lonely. I know it gets isolating. Trust me. I’ve given up so many things in the past due to my kids being sick. I’ve missed playgroup, I’ve missed church and church events, I’ve missed birthday parties and football games, bible studies, weddings, “me time”, food shopping, sleep… For me though if your kids are buckets of snot then you keep them home. Or their grandparents’ place which is just an extension of home really. Unless of course one of their grandparents is on immunosuppressants and you barely see him because of it. My friend knows that…

I know it isn’t always so clear cut. Sometimes they are only a little bit out of sorts and so you go but the next day you realise they were really crook. Sometimes kids are well and then all of a sudden they come down with something while you are already out. You appologise for any inconvenience and move on, it’s not your fault.

However.

If your kids are coughing their lungs up and dripping with snot then please don’t force your sick kids to cuddle and kiss me or my kids. Even if it is normally part of their routine. I don’t want to catch their snot in my mouth. I don’t want my children up all night for weeks. I don’t want to miss all the important events I was looking forward to going to. I don’t want to get ridiculously exhausted to the point where my depression rears it’s ugly head. I don’t want to isolate myself and my kids and give us cabin fever when it’s hard enough to function day to day as it is. My baby having terrible croup to the point he struggles to breathe at night doesn’t exactly help my anxiety either.

If I had a Christmas card list I would take my friend off for a little while then feel like a cow and write her back on. I would get over myself eventually and realise that it is winter and kids will be unwell. I would be angry for a little while but eventually I would have to stop and feel some compassion. Eventually I would have to think, “oh the poor lady, always being sick, always being stressed, feeling so isolated.” I would be inconvenienced for a little while but eventually I would see it as a wonderful opportunity to love unconditionally and share the love of Jesus with this friend.

It’s not Christmas. I don’t have a Christmas card list. I don’t feel like being very Christ-like right now. I am exhausted I am fed up I am overwhelmed and I am a little bit angry. I want her to know that she has upset me and I want her to be upset by that. That’s terrible isn’t it!

So I pray for a reality check. I pray for God to forgive my sinful pride and soften my heart. I pray for an increase in my compassion and love for other people. That way when I’m praying for sleep and praying for healing for my children nothing is in my way.

I choose to forgive and apologise for harbouring a grudge. I seek forgiveness because I’ve done the wrong thing. I ask God to give me strength to weather this storm and I be thankful for yet another opportunity to develop perseverance, patience, strength, humility and a servant heart.

I chose not to worry about the seemingly very real possibility that I cannot cope with this. I know from my therapy that it’s best to not get exhausted and it’s best to stick to routine. Yet I know that being upset by this interruption is only going to make things worse. I just might be able to cope well this time. If I mope around convinced I’m going to collapse in a heap then I’ve already failed.

I really really want to get to church on Sunday but if they’re not a hundred percent I can’t take them because I don’t want to pass it on. Corey has to drum so if someone has to stay home with the kids it has to be me. That’s life at the moment. It’s hard but it’s the way it is. I will survive. Hopefully they will be well though. There’s still three full days and nights before Sunday morning. Kids heal quickly. Kids bounce quickly. I can hope. Stressing about it now isn’t going to help. Getting angry because my husband gets to work all week, go out with his dad and drink beer on Saturday and escape to church on Sunday isn’t going to help either. It’s not. I might just get in my order for a bubble bath (alone) Sunday arvo right now though. Ok Corey, you’ve been warned.

I have two young children and they’re both sick. It’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t have to be a terrible drama unless I let it. I don’t need to blame anybody, I don’t need anybody to rescue me, I just need to keep on keeping on, one snotty tissue at a time.

If I had a Christmas card list and it was nearly Christmas I would love to be able to write something like this:
“dear friend. Thanks for sticking with me even though I am a pain sometimes. I hope your kids are better soon. Jesus loves you and I would really like to tell you more about him sometime. It doesn’t matter if the kids are full of snot or barking their heads off , if you need me call me and I will be there for you because Jesus is always there for me. Merry Christmas.”

At the moment I would just write “merry Christmas love from Karlee.” seeing as it is June then there is no Christmas card duty anyway. So, my e card for a happy June:

“Dear friend. You annoy me. But I still love you because I’m annoying too. I’m glad our snotty barking children have each other and I pray that they will have each other as best of friends for many years to come. Love Karlee. Xx. Ps sorry my daughter kept pushing your daughter over, turns out she is allergic to oranges including orange natural confectionary lollies. I guess I’ll know for next time. Sorry.”

Hopefully my friend forgives me for blogging about her. She probably will. She’s cool like that. Much cooler than me.

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