I resolve to stay home more.
I resolve not to yell at my children.
I resolve not to freak out.
I resolve to stay on track with our homeschool plan.
I resolve to complain less.
I resolve to smile more.
I resolve to stop binge-watching Netflix.
I resolve to pray more.
I resolve to go to mass every Sunday.
I resolve to love my life.
I resolve to live my best life.
No matter what I seemed to do, my child still got an infection and we ended up back in the hospital. We were home less not more. I sit, stranded in a side room with medical gloves unable to interrupt this medical routine, yelling to my children who are dancing around the dining table instead of eating their vegetables to “quit screwing around and eat their dinner!” I yelled more. There is a break in my son’s central line catheter, which is inserted into his body and ends right above his heart. With tears flying from my eyes, I panic, calling the doctors for directions in this emergency. My toddler says, “I’m sorry, Mommy” again and again. I freaked out.
The doctors want to follow-up after my son’s malformed eye got “stuck” in a position. The
speech therapist wants an additional meeting each week. We fall behind in math.
I rant to the friend who will listen to all the medical jargon and makes an effort to remember
what it all means…I complained and I felt better. Pregnant, I drag my nauseated body off the couch to respond to the beep of his pump. In tears, I set dinner on the table because of exhaustion and the twenty minutes remaining minutes before my husband comes home. I do not think I smile more. Television feels like an escape. The shows are so good. Indulging in the beauty and character drama bring relief when it feels like every time I sit down to read a book I get interrupted. So much for not binging.
Every time I wake early to pray, my son starts wailing because he cannot navigate his medical pole through the barrage of Legos on the ground in his room. In order to avoid waking the other kids, I rush to him to begin the 15-minute process of getting his little toddler body ready for the day.
Thirty-minutes before mass begins I am halfway to the hospital because my son has spiked a fever. Then, at the end of the year, when I reflect on all the things outside of my control because I followed the advice to make a gift-of-self in my vocation, I realize that loving my life is the opposite of losing it. When I suffer for the sake of another, I find in myself something greater than the modern belief founded by Carl Rogers to seek self-fulfillment at all costs. Living my best life does not mean doing everything I want to do, but choosing the task in front of me, if not with joy, then with acceptance that there is something greater here.
All my other resolutions melt away. This year I will keep it simple. I resolve to try to accept the will of God, what he offers me in the present moment, and to know that is enough.
Kathryn is a Northern Californian wife, mother of five children on earth and three in Heaven, speaker, newspaper reporter, columnist and author of 'Journey in Love: A Catholic Mother’s Prayers after Prenatal Diagnosis'. She splits her time reading, writing, homeschooling, attending to her Peter’s medical needs, and shuttling him to appointments at University of
California San Francisco while listening to her favorite podcasts. To read more of her writing, go to www.kathrynannecasey.com.