I Am The Caretaker For My Family
I am a caretaker for my family, it’s what I do. Being a mom and wife is the biggest honor I have been handed and I have chosen to care for my kids with every fiber of my being – sometimes almost to a fault, I suppose. Since the day they were born, I have been attentive to Nash and Mac’s needs. I wouldn’t consider myself over the top or a “helicopter mom” (some may disagree, and I am content with that – if loving my kids too much is the worst thing I do, I will wear that proudly) but when God trusted me with my children, I promised Him that I would be the best mom that I could. Do I have my faults and mess up ALL. THE. TIME…you bet I do, but do I give it my best every single day, absolutely! We all bring different things “to the table” and parenting to the best of my ability has always felt like my biggest contribution.
As you can imagine, this instinct of strong parenting went into overdrive over the course of the past year and a half. Not only did I desire to be a great parent, but I was suddenly required to be the best parent possible for Nash and Mac. Our entire family got placed into a new realm of reality that was scary, demanding, exhausting, and overwhelming – and our children were stuck smack dab in the middle of the inferno. Nash literally fought for his life and then fought for his recovery while Mac was back home fighting for her normalcy and anything that resembled a reality that she recognized. All the while, Nels and I were swimming uphill in an effort to keep everyone afloat. This most likely sounds dramatic but trust me when I tell you that’s what it felt like to this mom. Watching your kids battle and wanting more than anything to take the pain and hurt away but not having any control over it is the hardest thing I have ever and will ever do. The only thing I could do as a parent was comfort, love, provide strength and a foundation of faith – the rest was completely out of my control – and so that is what I did – I loved harder than I ever have!
The downside to the journey we have walked is that it’s not sustainable to be everything to everyone, which you all already know. There is no “perfect parent”. There is no way to keep all of the balls in the air all of the time without at least one or two hitting the floor. I wish it was possible, but it just isn’t. For me, between juggling the kids' crazy schedules (which I love how involved they are), keeping life caught up at work, sharing my life with a man that works incredibly hard to provide for our family, attending countless doctors appointments and daily PT sessions, laundry, dishes, cooking….on and on and on…you know how life rolls because you are equally as busy…I got tired. In the midst of the grind, I got really tired and started to feel like maybe I wasn’t the awesome parent I had hoped to be. The devil started to whisper in my ear and I started to listen to him – the laundry isn’t caught up, I forgot about the parent basketball meeting, things were left undone on my desk at the end of the day, I probably didn’t give Nels the attention I should have when we were visiting, etc, etc, etc. I started to feel like I was failing, and I was feeling broken!
Fortunately, Christmas break was on the horizon, and we were taking a trip with family and friends to have some fun in the sun over Christmas. I love how God’s timing is always perfect! As we were on vacation, I was sitting on the beach watching the kids and was about to get up for what I swear was the thousandth time that day, this time it was to take Nash his crutches, and my dear friend hopped up and said, “you stay sitting there – let me take the crutches!” It was the smallest, but kindest gesture. It has been heavily etched in my mind since it happened. So, I sat there for a minute and watched as she took the crutches to Nash for me. It lifted the weight on my heart, if only for a second – and made me ready to face the next demand of the day. It was so insignificant to her but so powerful to me.
At the end of the day, we are all just parents doing our best to get through – none of us are perfect and none of us are without failure. But we love our kids fiercely and that comes with a price. What is your “crutch” that someone could help lift today or how could you “take the crutches” for a friend that might be drowning in their day-to-day? I would urge you to look around and see who needs a little lifting up – maybe you could take them dinner, pray for them when you go to bed tonight, or even just stop for a hug and tell them you think they are doing amazing. Maybe it’s you that’s drowning and all you need is to show yourself a little grace? Either way, I see you and I think you are one amazing parent and I would be honored to help you carry whatever burden you may be carrying! Keep at it!
- Karen Lindberg