So 2017 has come to an end and for the most part it was a pretty awesome year for our little family. Kids are getting bigger. Wren is sleeping a little longer at night (knock on wood) and Andy and I are getting to breath a little bit.
But there was a set back too. Every year are going to have those, aren’t they? Those amazing, incredible peaks and those horrible unrelenting valleys. Sometimes I think of each year as looking a bit like an EKG. It’s already drawn out on a huge piece of paper with all of the highs and lows, but we can’t see the paper. We’re just going through it blind, never knowing if we are coming up on a spike or a downfall.
We had a pretty scary downfall over this past summer and that, for the remainder of the year, became our “valley” or comparison day.
In July, we at a family birthday party on the beach. We had been grilling on one of the beach’s little picnic grills. While all of us were packing up, we heard a sickening cry and my two year old daughter came out from behind the picnic grill holding the palms of her hands, screaming for her life. She had touched the still hot grill and her little hands were already forming huge blisters on the palms. We were all right there when it happened, two feet away and it still happened.
After an afternoon and evening in the ER, my daughter was sent home with second degree burns on both hands and a bag full of bandages, cream and pain medication. We were sent home with massive amounts of guilt. How could we let this happen? We should have been watching her more carefully.
My daughter’s hands looked like little marshmallows for weeks due to the never ending bandages we had to keep taking off and replacing. I was able to let her have her thumbs on each hand which made it easier for her to play with some of her favorite toys, a huge win.
When we finally went in for our final follow up appointment and she was given the okay to go bandage free, a giant wave of relief found me, but the guilt over the entire event still haunts me.
This was our valley day for the year. The day that we used in the middle of all of the chaos of raising two kids to compare whatever we were going through with. Kids throwing tantrums in the backseat of the car? At least your not in the ER with a toddler with second degree burns on her hands. Someone wet the bed at 3AM? At least your not having to painfully wrap your little child’s hands every day. Late to an appointment? At least your not having to listen to your toddler cry, knowing there is nothing else you can do for her. She just has to feel the burns until the pain medicine kicks in.
Valley days are horrible, when you’re going through them. They feel never ending. But a wise friend of mine once said something that I wrote down and took with me,
“We are not handed things unless we are meant to do something with them.” July was full of valley days last year. This year is sure to provide us with more, such is the nature of life. But hopefully with those valley days comes the ability to shrug off the “not so” valley days.
May your year be filled with more peaks than valleys and may you be able to use the valleys when they do come along.