Monday, January 1, 2018

I Don't want to Waste the Days This Year

The beginning of a new year offers hope and possibilities.

Like everyone else, I dream big dreams at the beginning of the year. I declare I'll lose weight and stop stressing over things. Then my daughter Jaycee goes into the hospital, and I stress eat. Yep, I break two of my rules simultaneously.

At some point every year, life gets chaotic, and things just seem to go into survival mode for weeks. Then it always happens. I realize those goals I had in my head for the year just aren't going to happen. I quit or resign or maybe surrender.

As I have thought over the past few weeks about what I should focus on for 2018, I have been torn. This life as a parent of a child with complex medical needs can make life unpredictable. I'm tired of making the same resolutions and coming up short. Therefore, I've been reflecting in prayer on what I can actually change in 2018.

Then, the answer came to me. 

I realized that I am quick to declare some days as wasted. It's those days that I spend all day driving my daughter to the hospital hours from my home, sit an unfair amount of time in the waiting room, recite my daughter's medications to the nurse, and then rejoice when the doctor finally makes his or her appearance for a few minutes. Nothing at home gets done. I don't seem to accomplish much with these specialty appointments. At night, I will literally tell my husband, "Today was a complete waste of time."

I have other wasted days too. These are the ones that I spend in the hospital when my daughter is admitted. Don't get me wrong; I want to be with my daughter when she's in the hospital. But there's a part of me that gets frustrated that I can't do anything in life that needs done. Responsibilities at home are dropped suddenly. I can't work at my job. Anything in my schedule gets canceled. It sort of feels like that time in the hospital steals precious time and days from all of us. They feel wasted. 

I went through my calendar for 2017 and found roughly 36 days that were either full days of driving to and from specialty appointments at a hospital hours from home or sitting helplessly in a hospital next to Jaycee during an illness or for a surgery. If I consider all of those days "wasted," then I lost over a month of our year. Yikes!

This is my challenge for the year. I don't want to consider any day wasted.

The thing is that I'm still going to have days driving Jaycee around to the doctor this year. There is also a possibility that I will sit in a hospital with my sick child. Yet, I'll remember something important. These days aren't wasted. In fact, they are extremely important.

I am caring for my child. I am doing something worthwhile. I will see these days for what they are: I'm doing my job as a mother. That's not a wasted day! That's one of my purposes in life. With that in mind, I bet I'll have a better attitude and can settle my busy mind down to focus on the important work that I'm doing that day. Because all of it is important!

After all, singing Disney songs with my daughter on the way to the doctor isn't a wasted activity. I just have to look at the huge smile on her face to know that!

So here's to enjoying and appreciating every day in 2018 with NO days wasted!

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