I feel like one of those plastic snow globes. Just when I think I can see the picture inside, it gets shaken up again and the snow falls everywhere blurring my vision. I have to wait for the snow to settle so I can try, once again, to clearly see the picture. And it never is clear. Not completely. There is always something still swirling in there. Even the tiniest bump sends it all flying once more.
Lately I am trending towards a negative outlook on everything. I don't know why. During Clare's first year, I definitely had my horrible moments, but, as a whole, I felt like I had it going on. We went through some very tough times as a family. Even though my life had been turned upside down, I felt like I coped amazingly well with it. Now this could just be my perception looking back three-plus years later. Maybe I've been this crazy all along. Recently, however, my coping skills are falling apart. Everything is catching up with me, and the stress is burying me in negativity.
I know how blessed I am. I count my five biggest blessings every day - my incredibly supportive, loving, hard-working husband and my four beautiful children. No matter how bad the day was, once everyone is tucked in their beds and sleeping soundly, I reflect on how much God has given me. Yet it's easy to feel this way when all is at peace in the house. It is so much harder to hang on to that feeling when the baby is crying, the 2-year old is biting the 4-year old, and the first grader is complaining that he doesn't want to do his homework, the little kids are too noisy, and dinner smells yucky (in that order).
It is incredibly hard to hang on to that feeling of blessedness when tragedy hits close to home. Last week, one of Clare's classmates passed away. He was a sweet little boy who had celebrated his fifth birthday only days before. During Clare's first year of preschool, it was just her and this boy on the extra day of the week. She loved him so much, and he was her first friend at school. She talked constantly about him at home. (See my April 2008 post Day Two.) When I heard the news on Thursday of his death, I was in shock and tears immediately filled my eyes. Sorrow for the family overwhelmed me - what a devastating loss for his parents and sister. How do you go on from there? I truly believe that this child is in Heaven with Jesus and is finally freed from the handicaps of his earthly body. Yet, at the same time, to mourn the loss of your child... I cannot even fathom it. And, selfishly, I rage against the fact that I, as a parent, am part of a community where children die. It's a reality here. Special needs children, children with heart defects, children with all sorts of medical problems.
I know I am blessed because four of my five children are still with me (my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, so I have one angel). And I have never lost a child who I had the chance to feel, hold, love, however long a life. A good friend of my sister's recently lost her baby less than an hour after birth. I have been keeping up with her blog and her loss overwhelms me as well. Overwhelms me with sorrow for parents in mourning and fills me with guilt that I have four living children when some people do not. I have always been a believer that God has a plan. But I can still question, at times, what could that plan possibly be? Why are these children taken away from their parents? I wish for just one moment that the snow would finally stop swirling to allow us a quick glimpse of the full picture.