I don't know how to begin to write about yesterday.
I2 is sick, so I cleared our calendar for the week--cancelling field trips and outings that we had planned. Then I found out there is a rather large snow expected today, so all of those field trips and outings would have to be cancelled anyway.
I'd settled into a quiet week at home (I was even so proud of myself for checking the older girls' school books early, early in the morning so they were ready) when I found out about the snow.
I took mental stock of our food and supply situation.
It was good enough to get by, but not good enough to be comfortable, not good enough to be easy when there is a sick toddler in the house.
And we're on 'Q' for preschool. I'd promised to make quesadillas with H4, but we were low on cheese.
I faced a choice between keeping my promise of our afternoon school session or heading to the store while the sun was shining and the roads were relatively dry.
I determined to do both.
I pulled the kids together, told them of the quasi-emergency we were facing and told them that they had a break but not a bye from school.
I raced out the door only to find that every other person in our city was running the same errands I was; the traffic and store lines were desperately long. It took me 3 hours to run 1 hour's worth of errands.
I was so late coming home. There was no time to have afternoon school. There wasn't even time to put a proper dinner together. How grateful I was for good leftovers that made a mighty fine "Garbage Soup."
But now I2 was complaining that his ears hurt. We haven't had an ear infection around here in a loooong time, but his symptoms were such that I'm quite confident an ear infection was starting--perhaps even two of them. And I'd been thinking he was on the mend.
I'd checked our supply of Tylenol and cold remedies, but I'd failed to put them on my list earlier, so I hadn't restocked while I was out. I faced the dilemma of a sick toddler getting sicker while snow fell and knew that it was now or never for a trip to the drug store. As soon as scriptures and prayers were over, while my family finished eating, my husband left for work, and a couple of my older girls started cleaning up, I raced out the door again.
(I'm ever so glad that I went. I2 had a rough night. We used the medicines I bought all night long!)
By this time I was frantic. I'd promised the girls we'd do school, but I needed to attend to I2, the kitchen was untidy, A6 and H4 needed attention, and it was getting late--our evening routines awaited.
As I sat with I2 in my lap holding a rice sock to his ear and applying garlic-infused olive oil, I took stock. Would it be so terrible to let go of the schooling considering the circumstances?
And my answer was--yes, it would be. I'd promised. I needed to keep that promise.
We organized. I took care of I2. M11 took care of H4 and A6. S11 emptied the dishwasher. E13 loaded it and generally tidied up the kitchen. J10 cleaned and vacuumed the living room.
At 7:09 pm my four big girls and I sat down at the table together and read from the New Testament together. Then we read a little bit of history. Not much, just enough to be interesting and for me to keep my promise.
My children need me to keep my promises.
I'm so thankful for the work they did--pulling together to help me keep my promise and keep our home comfortable. They work like this every day, but yesterday it was of particular value to me. I'm so thankful.
And I told them so.
Our evening routines were necessarily brief, but everything that needed to be taken care of was. Somehow--and I believe it was one of God's tender mercies--we took care of the errands, the cleaning, the childcare, the food, the school, and the loving of one another all in an intense and compressed time. I usually am a proponent of removing what is unnecessary in order to fit in what is truly important, but on this day it was all necessary.
A promise is a promise.
Now the snow can fall (7-10 inches predicted!).
We can prepare and eat food that nourishes us body and spirit.
I can cuddle my littles.
I can inspire my big girls.
We can sit by the fire and dream . . . at least until it is time to tidy the living room again.