What Kind of Mother

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.


15 thoughts on “What Kind of Mother

  1. Sarah Dye

    So happy for you and your Family! It sounds like you all had a much needed and earned Vacation! That is awesome! Glad you guys get to do some more.

  2. Laura Imlach

    I love how you capture details in such an amazing way – you are so talented, Jill. I saw first hand how last year’s vacation impacted each person in your family, and I agree wholeheartedly that it was such a great memory-building time of renewal and relaxed fun for you, and Sarah did just fine. She will again. I’m so glad you have these opportunities to pour into Jim, Kendall and Jack, and also be able to sleep peacefully all night, knowing Sarah is loved and cared for at home. I love you, sister.

  3. patsy-v@comcast.net

    Jill — Your Mom and Dad are truly amazing and their investment in you is reflecting the same — simply amazing! Thank you for so touching all of our hearts as you share your heart as only you can. Love, Pat

  4. Tasha

    This is beautifully written and I can relate so much! You are extremely blessed to have such Godly parents that would do this! Praise God that they walk so close to Him!

  5. Janet micale

    You do have the most wonderful, unselfish parents. I’m so glad you had the chance to make memories with you kids and relax.

  6. Charmagne Lundberg

    First of all, I love your kids!! And I especially love Kendall and the close friendship that she and Faith have. She was just telling me today how LOOONNNNGGG it’s been since she has seen Kendall (I think it’s been a whole 6 days!), and how much she misses her and hopes that she gets to hang out with her before you leave for vacation. I’m not sure that she could handle another week or so without her BFF! Secondly, on Sunday morning when Dave Riley was introducing your dad to our class before he spoke (BTW, your Dad did a great job!!), he said that your dad was one of the faces on his personal “Mt. Rushmore.” I knew exactly what he meant! BOTH of your parents are such amazing examples of what it means to be a spouse, Christian and parent, which I appreciate so much as I do not have quite the heritage that you have. You are truly blessed with them AND your kids, and I’m so happy that you are getting away to refresh, recharge and have some one-on-one time with the other kids. Sarah faired well last year…does not seem to have phased her, so go enjoy and come back refreshed!!!! Love ya’!!

    1. Thank you, Charmagne! Kendall feels the same! I am sorry I missed Dad’s teaching on Sunday! He is such a Godly man! And I love the Personal Mt Rushmore reference! Very cool!

  7. Sue Windle

    Once a parent, always a parent. The heart of a parent is to help, not hover; advise not control; listen, pray, pray, pray and be involved and with their their children and grandchildren to continue to bless them.

  8. Love this post. Good on you for realizing it is ok to fill everyone else’s reserves. I’m so thankful your parents are there to support you and that there were no ill effects on Sarah. My heart is with you through this journey, and so thankful you all had this time together. Huge love, Jill. Thanks for your vulnerability and transparency in this process.

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