Not sure how I captured this photo, but thankful I did. At a point of high stress in our day, my simple prayer was, “God, please let the boys smile even for a few moments today.” Within a few minutes, they both stopped crying, crawled into my lap, relaxed, and started giggling while looking at the ceiling. God hears the simplest prayers—I asked for smiles, and He gave us smiles and laughter!

It’s Wednesday. A wacky Wednesday—a day you think you have planned, that starts out peaceful, and then quickly turns into unplanned ups and downs. Nothing atypical for a day with toddlers, but little reminders that life is crazy, and God is faithful! 

We are always off work on Wednesdays, so sometimes we are at home, sometimes have appointments, or sometimes we spend time with friends and family. The boys slept in a little today, we had a calm breakfast with little food-throwing or chaos, and had our normal Bible time together. A minute after I closed my Bible, that calm became a little less peaceful.

Our littlest son’s ear started turning bright red and he started screaming in pain. It was the inconsolable, loud, hot tears screams that startles you. It didn’t stop. It went on for over an hour and a half. The dogs were barking, my oldest son was covering his ears and running around the house (also yelling), and my heart was racing. I couldn’t calm him down. I couldn’t calm anyone down. All I could do was silently pray, “God please help me” as I did the best I could.

Today I had woken up so excited. Mom and I were going to take the boys to see Grandma Paula. I hadn’t seen her in so long, and Covid and restrictions on assisted livings made it really difficult to see her this last year and a half. We were meeting Mom there at 10, and we were almost ready to go (somehow). Brecken was still really upset, so I was looking forward to getting out of the house—sometimes just a car ride helps change a mood! Maybe that would help calm him down. At 9:30, Dad called and said Mom had gotten sick all of the sudden. We wouldn’t be able to go. As I hung up the phone with now a calmer, but still fussy toddler in my arms, my oldest son came running in. “Are we not gonna go, Mama?” “Not today, we will reschedule. Grandpa called to say that Grandma is sick today.” He burst into tears. It’s so hard to see a little person show the emotion of true sadness. A minute or two later, he started praying out loud for Grandma to feel better and for God to please heal her soon. It was so sweet. There was my reminder to just keep praying. For the next half hour, the boys and I rocked in the chair together and tried to calm down a little. I was bummed. There’s something about knowing your Mom isn’t feeling well. There’s something lonely. You want to help, but you know Grandpa is there to take care of her, and you know she never tells you exactly how terrible she feels. She’s strong. She takes care of everyone else around her. And when she’s sick, she still has a smile on her face around her kids. 

While in the rocking chair, I sent a message to the pediatrician letting her know what was going on with our boy. Loud screams for a couple hours, a red ear, and obvious discomfort. Within 15 minutes (our doctor and staff is amazing) I had a message suggesting that I bring him in at 12:20 to get his ears checked. It was almost 10:00. We packed up the bag, grabbed a container of frozen chicken soup, and headed to my parents’ house. We figured we would drop the soup off at the door and leave, but as soon as we got there, Dad was standing outside waiting for us. With a big hello and smile, he came out to the car to see the boys and me. They were so happy to see him, and so was I. I love both of my parents dearly, and each will always have their own unique place in my heart, but when Dad is there, things are good. They’re calm, they’re safe, and they’re happy. Mom was sleeping peacefully, and he was taking good care of her. “How are you feeling?” He asked me. “Oh I’m fine,” without thinking I replied. He smiled and said, “Hmm. Ya look tired today. Need anything?” He was right. I had forgotten that I didn’t fall asleep until almost 3:00 this morning because of the bad heartburn and backaches I was having. Maybe 3 hours of sleep and 2 hours of crying kids took its toll—by 10:25 in the morning. 

By the time we left, all three of us were getting hungry. We had some time to kill before the appointment, and Rylan was asking about going to a restaurant (we were originally supposed to go with Grandma after our visit). I had nothing planned for lunch, and it would need to be somewhat quick to be at the doctor’s office in time. 

I had seen a drive-through Pepperjax on our way there, and it sounded so good. We could grab drive through, stop home and eat, or attempt going in. Brecken was still fussy, digging at his ear, and starting to get tired. I knew Rylan was hungry. My logical brain told me to just do drive through and eat at home, but The Who cares part of my brain said to just give it a shot and go inside. Then you all could eat sooner. Worst case scenario? Things fall apart and you take the food out of the restaurant. So we went in. I told Rylan that if Brecken got too upset we would take the food out. We briefly  prayed right before we went in and asked God to let us be able to stay and eat. Simple and maybe sounds silly, but we did! The boys were calm and we had an awesome lunch. To my surprise, there was a big “Kids Eat ½ off” sign right when we walked in. It was a Wednesday special apparently. Good day to go! The lady helping us was so sweet, made the boys smile, and even came by with Oreo cookies before we left. She commented how cute the boys were, asked their ages, and asked when our next baby was due. When she asked me, “How are you today?” She meant it. Not that most cashiers and people at restaurants don’t mean it when they ask, but there’s typically a rush and a habit of asking as part of the job. And on my end, it’s a quick, “Good! How are you?”  She took her time talking with us, and knowing that she cared, I could honestly answer, “It’s been a crazy day, but we are glad to be here!” She just smiled and said, “I remember when my kids were that age. You just enjoy your day no matter what, ok?” What a sweet lady. The boys gobbled up their food and had a great time. I was thankful. When we got to the car, Rylan said, “God heard us. We ate inside!” Yes, He certainly did. What a good reminder that he hears even our “silly” prayers!

We got to the doctor’s office 10 minutes early, and it didn’t take long to see the doctor. She is one of our favorite people. Rylan didn’t take long to tell her, “My mommy’s going to have another baby!” And she was so thrilled! She checked Brecken’s ears, found a possible issue with his tube and fluid, and a likely cause for the discomfort he had been experiencing. We didn’t leave with many answers, except a follow up appointment with our ENT, but I was glad we went. The doctor’s encouragement and knowledge was helpful after a long morning. I was happy we would be seeing her again in another week for a routine checkup. 

The boys were exhausted when we got home, and thankfully took good naps. About an hour later, my friend and her little girl came over and we hadn’t seen them in months! She and I used to teach together and she’s a wonderful friend, but we don’t live in the same city anymore. I was excited that she was in town for the afternoon. It was so refreshing to see her and catch up after a long time! 

After a couple of piano lessons like a normal Wednesday, we all went to Bible study. We figured we would try it, and maybe another change of scenery would be good for the boys. It definitely was! Between cheese popcorn and having some other kids there the boys’ ages, they made it to 8:30! It was so good to be with our friends from our community group. Catching up on life, doing a little Bible study, and praying for each other is always an encouragement. All day my mind had been preoccupied with my parents’ health. No one else knew that, but after mentioning my mom wasn’t feeling well, they asked about both of my parents’ overall health and spent time praying for them. My heart was at peace and I felt so encouraged. Here I had been a mess all day feeling like I didn’t know a single thing about being a parent, while feeling lonely because I just wanted to be a kid for 5 minutes and run into my parents’ arms and have them make it all better. Hearing them pray for my parents was so wonderful. God is bigger than our worries and over our health conditions. And sometimes, friends ask about an issue on your heart at just the right time—when they have no idea that’s what has been on your mind all day.

As we drove home, I was exhausted. What a Wednesday. Ups and downs, but so many times saw God’s goodness. My worries, fears, and weird circumstances in a day were mere reminders of God’s love. He doesn’t go away, and he’s right there. And if we forget he’s right there with us, he sends reminders through our kids, our parents, our doctors, and our friends. God is good!