The Ohio Turnpike: the jewel of Ohio! Smooth roads and service stations that have clean restrooms, Starbucks and Cinnabon stores; truly divine! With Jack’s lacrosse tournament this past weekend in Ohio, it was the best $2.75 I spent to drive on the turnpike! We didn’t even have to use the restroom on the way home, but we stopped anyway. (I wanted to get my money’s worth!) I think I could live at one of those service stations and be quite content!
What a difference from last year’s vacation when I struggle with contentment!
David has always wanted to take the kids to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to show them the majestic beauty of the Picture Rocks that he remembered from his childhood visit there. We found a house that we thought was a good midpoint for our various day trips; Picture Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls, Soo Locks, etc., but also seemed isolated enough that Sarah’s crying would not bother the neighbors. As we prepared to leave, though, we wondered how Sarah could handle the long drive up north.
“If she cries just driving around town, how is she going to handle 6 hours in the truck?”
She wouldn’t. She couldn’t.
We debated on whether to cancel the vacation or have either David or myself stay home with her. When we discussed these options with the other kids, the look of disappointment was evident.
David said, “The kids are going to resent her if we don’t go. They make a lot of sacrifices because of Sarah and this would be very hard on them as they’ve been looking forward to this trip.”
Thankfully, amazingly, sacrificially, my parents offered to watch Sarah so we could go on this vacation. While it was extremely generous of them, I felt incredibly guilty.
“What kind of mother leaves her child so she can go on vacation?!?”
This wasn’t a work related trip. This wasn’t an anniversary trip with David. This was a family trip and I was contemplating leaving a part of my family at home! What mother leaves her child so she can have fun? Is it fair to leave my parents to take care of her knowing that she doesn’t always sleep through the night, wets her diapers (or worse), and cries all day with no relief? I cried, wrestled with this and prayed for wisdom and in the end we decided that Sarah would be happiest at home while we went on the vacation. She loves my parents and would enjoy having one on one time with them.
As we drove up north, my mother’s heart strings pulled on me for leaving Sarah, but I saw a different side of my other kids. They were relaxed. I never realized how Sarah’s crying affected them. In many ways, they seemed relieved as they laughed and talked. At one point on the trip I sat in the back seat and had one child asleep on my shoulder and the other one laced her arm through mine as she was telling me what was going on in her life. David looked at me in the rear view mirror and smiled. I have spent so much time and energy pouring into Sarah; I didn’t realize how much my other kids needed their mom and her full attention. I felt the Lord reminding me He has given me 3 other children that still need their mom. In a few years Jim will be off to college, then the others will soon follow and I need to treasure these moments with them.
We did things that we could never have done if Sarah was with us. We played miniature golf, went on a 2 hour boat ride to see the Picture Rocks, went out and sat down to eat in a restaurant and saw a movie. There was no way in a million years Sarah could have handled any one of those things! David teased that we spent more money than we planned because we could do so many things we normally couldn’t do!
I thanked the Lord over and over again during that trip that He gave us this time together. I truly felt like Mary in Luke 2:19:
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
When we came home everyone was glad to see Sarah again. We missed her, but this break from her helped us come back refreshed and renewed. My mom said that Sarah was fine and whether good or bad, didn’t seem to be affected that we were gone.
We are making vacation plans again for this summer and bless my amazing parents for their willingness to watch Sarah again. My mom said it something they can do to help and give us a reprieve. What a precious gift! I am so deeply grateful for my parents!
I have a feeling I am going to be treasuring and pondering a lot in my heart this summer for all of God’s goodness to us! Thank you for your prayers!!
**The first background of Sarah’s prayer blog is a picture of Iroquois Island that David took with his phone from the house we stayed at in the U.P. The newest background is from our second trip to the U.P.