The first thing I thought of when I realized that today’s FMF theme was tree, was swaying. I’ve watched the way the trees in front of my house move in the wind. Even in high gusts and the tail end of tropical storms, the branches sway and bend, usually without breaking. I don’t know enough about the science of trees to explain why some break and others just bend. I just know that I want to be one that sways and bends without losing branches everytime the storm comes.
I come from a family of strong women. These are the women that hold fast, and keep marching on when the world is crashing down, (or to continue the metaphor, the hurrican gust winds rock the trees). I have a small but close family and we have always been able to rely on each other. My mother and father, sister, brother-in-law and nephews, all live in the same town as me. We see each other regularly. My daughter never had a babysitter until she was four because there was always a family member available to watch her. But we’re entering a new season as a family, the trees are swaying a bit more than we’d like.
My grandmother is unwell, not for the first time, but is regularly in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation centers. This strong woman is fighting to keep her independence and losing ground fast. My mother has stepped in to help her, turning her stay-at-home wife of a pastor and grandmother on call life into that of caregiver, chauffeur and therapist. On the flip side, my sister has two little boys, eighteen months apart, the second of which has severe reflux who cries most of the day, most days and now refuses to take a bottle. Understandably she feels trapped and stressed.
Though my problems seem small by comparison, the last week has led to new upheavals in my own life. I’ve been asked to come back to my old job as an administrative assistant for a non-profit yet again, to provide transitional help. I don’t know for how long, and I can only offer them part-time hours, but it adds a new level of dimension and stress to my life. (Then again, we prayed for financial provision, so perhaps this is it). This week I was slated to start and my whole family comes down with a plague of cold and flu. Not a great time to be asking your family for help with childcare. Next Saturday is my book signing and I’m incredibly excited. But when I should be sending press releases and marketing emails I am wiping noses and popping enough decongestant just to get through the day.
So as this crazy week comes to an end and I let my somewhat recovered children watch yet enough Kipper or Thomas the Tank Engine (go ahead, judge me, it’s OK) I realize how blessed I am to have these wonderful people in my life. We may not have seen much of each other recently (I didn’t want to spread our family illness to my frail grandmother or infant nephew), but we are still on the same tree, swaying in the wind. Leaning to bend but not break. We can hold fast to each other and pray to the One the wind and waves obey for calmer times to come.