It often feels like the things worth fighting for are made up of long roads of small constant battles, big changes, emotional roller coasters, all with little reward along the way.
We all have things that we want to fight for, that we believe in, that we desire for our life. Sometimes we let those dreams or ideals or goals go because we look at the road and we don't think we can do it. We grow weary just looking at the obstacles right in front of us. Surviving that road makes us exhausted just thinking about it.
If I had a penny for every time I heard, "I don't know how you do it", I could pay off my last student loan. I hear that comment about our diet every time someone asks why we aren't eating with the rest of the group.
I remember sitting in the nutritionists office that very first time when we were going through Big's blood test. She told me that we would have to start a Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet. I understood that what she was telling me was a very big deal and it would change the way we do things, but I didn't understand the extent or depth of that change. I didn't understand the way it would radically change our lives, for the better.
I was home in MI for two weeks, and most people there we hadn't seen in a year. Last year at this time we were still figuring out the diet, our house had just been hit by a tornado and we were all a little dazed and confused. Now here we were, a year later, and I could fill the pages of a book with all the observations people were giving me about my children.
When we live day in and day out it can often be hard to see the benefits of the choices we make. I wish I could express to you the joy, satisfaction, and pride that I had for my children. Everywhere we went, all the people we saw, my kids were full of joy, manners, politeness, energy, and helpfulness. I got to experience them for the first time like everyone else was. I was able to see what they see, instead of the day to day grind of life, little bickering moments and meltdowns and great expectations.
I used to live in a world where our bad days/moments far outweighed the good. My world was dominated by correction and discipline, explanations and talking down the over emotional child. Please don't misunderstand me, those things still exist, but they now exsist within the boundaries of children who can mostly control themselves. Children who have multiple good days with the bad thrown in. Children who share with the occasional fight. Children who follow the rules with the occasional defiance.
It feels like what having children should be, a joy. I stepped back and really observed my children so I could see what they would see.
Last year I wanted to take my mom out for dinner, but Big couldn't handle it. He always struggled with me leaving. He would cry and throw out all the things that make mothers feel guilty leaving. And I did, and he came with us. This year, mom and I wanted to sneak out so that the kids wouldn't be upset. We ended up having devotions together and giving the kids breakfast. When it was time for girl day, Big told us to have a great time and kissed me goodbye. Whenever he was told it was time for bed, he would go and get ready. In the morning, it was never a reminder of what he needed to do before he could play. He was Papa's big helper with the boat. He was always helping with the smaller kids. He was full of joy and gentleness and kindness and goofiness. When he didn't agree with a decision, he told me he didn't like it, then it was over.
One morning I went for a run and he cried because I didn't take him with me. When we talked about it when I got home, I told him, running was mommy time. He looked at me with clear eyes and said, "Oh, just like when I need my alone time and I go downstairs to the pull up bar? I get it. You just needed alone time. I am sorry I got mad. I understand. Will you forgive me?"
Wait?! What?! No big fight, no long explanation, no more tears and fighting that I left him behind? It was just over. He understood. He figured it out himself.
A parent has immensee pride when others enjoy them as much as they do. When other people consider your children a joy to be around.
In the last four years, before I would go home to visit my folks, I would always say, "Dad, I am so tired. I need your help. I don't know what to do and I dont' know how to get my kids to listen. I need you to be the heavy. I need your help because they are out of control." True statement. You can ask my parents. I would go home, guilty, exhausted and out options. I felt like I crawled home needing bandaged up and my kids needing boot camp.
This year it was just a fun trip home. It was a joy to bring my kids and they weren't the reason I was tired. No discipline needed. No help required, (except for the fact that it is always way easier to raise kids with a fleet of people).
My children can be who they were created to be. Seeing their real personalities and hearts come through all the time instead of occasionally is a huge reward for homemade cooking.
This was hands down my favorite trip home. It was easy, relaxing and just so much fun. It was fun because my kids were so much fun. We enjoyed a trip together instead of me sleeping while my parents dealt with the kids. I hate that phrase, but that is how we existed because we knew no other way.
We know differently now, and I will never go back. I stand behind our diet more now than ever. For all the work it is, the reward of my children having the life they were meant to have is worth every dish I have to wash, and that is saying something.
If the idea of this diet is tinkering around in the back of your mind, don't ignore it, explore it.