It's fitting that today is Memorial Day. For the past 8 days, I've been thinking a lot about military families and their separation during times of service. And even though I've tried each day to reflect on a different type of single parent home, for whatever reason, I keep coming back to those military families. I thought I had this whole "reflection/offering it up" thingy all planned out and set it up just right for God to teach me something about single parents. But I'm pretty sure I heard God laughing at me this week.
See, originally, my intention was to offer up my difficult moments for the parent who has full responsibility at home. And though I've got empathy for both parents in this situation, my perspective kept coming from the parent who was out fighting - not the one at home, like myself.
I'm attributing that to the fact that my week has been kind of easy (and that I can't tell God how to teach me stuff...). I haven't missed the "help" like I thought I would. Charlotte's been pretty low maintenance - sleeping through the night and keeping herself busy most of the time. It wasn't until yesterday that I finally got tired of holding her - and I was only tired because I had to hold her all during Mass.
And so, my focus wasn't on my exhaustion or the exhaustion of the parent staying home, but I was more saddened that Jude was missing out on us. At that moment, I thought he had the more difficult role and I assumed it would always be me.
I thought, what if she starts walking while he's away (and with no camera in my possession to capture it...)? What if she says, "Papa?" What if he misses all of these great milestones?
The men and women fighting for us, with children back home - especially infants - are missing these great moments. And it's not the same to check in for 20 minutes over Skype or watch a video or see a picture or hear the story over the phone. There's no high five, no kiss, no hug. And that's too bad.
When my kids experience something, I want us both there to enjoy it, to share in it together because they were made from the both of us. Just as much of me is in them as Jude. They came from us both, willed by God, and they deserve us both.
I'm so thankful to the men and women who sacrifice these things so that my family and I don't have to. And I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit, guiding my reflections and humbly reminding me that I know very little.