I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman's "What We Learned" series this month, where we pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future. Do you set aside time to examine your own life? It's not something I'm naturally good at, but these posts remind me to slow down and pay attention.
Here's what I learned this spring in no particular order:
1. Living with a diabetic is harder than I thought it would be.
Type 1 Diabetes is a disease that never sleeps, but I read the other day that there’s a 1 in 20 chance she could die in hers. I wish I hadn't seen that, but there’s no way to "unknow" it now. It’s been almost a year and a half since her diagnosis, and we’ve been functioning as her pancreas for every single one of those days. On one hand, it’s an incredible blessing to be able to do so, and on the other, it can be exhausting. The past three months it’s been particularly challenging to manage her unpredictable blood sugar levels.
As this school year came to an end and I turned in her enrollment forms for kindergarten in the fall, I found myself nervous about how the transition into full-time public school would go and how well she'd function under the supervision of others who don’t understand her like we do. We had her kindergarten testing this week, however, and I learned the school nurse is not only a RN (versus an aide), but she also has a diabetic son. She has a decade’s worth of personal experience caring for a T1D child. I don’t think we could’ve asked, hoped, or prayed for a more perfect scenario. Thank you, Jesus.
2. It’s never too late to make a new friend.
I know because I made one this spring for the first time in a looooong time. Random connections that seem so temporary or insignificant can yield some of the best new relationships if you give them a chance! You’re never too old to make a new friend, so put yourself out there (or find a more outgoing person who will track you down and do the same!), send that awkward text, meet up for coffee, and see what happens!
Also, coffee is the ultimate unifier, no? “Let’s get together and discuss all our differences over a cup of coffee," and over that same cup of coffee, you may be surprised to find out you’re more alike than you ever imagined. Works every time!
3. I don’t fall as gracefully as I used to.
My foot had a misunderstanding with a flower bed in March and I twisted my ankle in the process, dropping my toddler in the dirt and flinging my glasses across the pavement. Once I lifted both of us back onto our feet and limped to the car, I pulled up my pant leg to find my knee bloodied and scraped. Still, not realizing how bad it was, I briefly stopped home, popped a couple Advil, and kept right on going with my morning. A few hours later found me back at home with a finally-elevated, baseball-sized ankle. To this day if I’m on my feet for too long, it becomes sore and swollen again. When did I get so old?
4. Real writers write, of course, but they also have an email list.
I went to a local writing conference in February with some friends and learned a lot about the resources available for writers and what types of social media platforms are important to create. Some of the best tidbits I walked away with, however, were from fellow writers, like the importance of having an email list, which is something I’m fairly new at implementing. This is going to be a personal project of mine this summer––building an email list––and hopefully it will increase any chance I have of being published in the future. Is it weird to say that out loud? Another one of my goals this summer is to blog weekly. Y’all can hold me accountable to that!
5. Chaperoning a school field trip wore. me. out.
A simple field trip to the art museum with my first grader, which involved being on my feet most of the day and walking around, took more out of me than I’d care to admit. I’m apparently not in very good shape and equally not good at self-care, both of which I need to prioritize this summer. Anyone have any cheap/free at-home workout recommendations?
6. Lilacs only bloom for a week.
Whaaaaaaat?!?!?! How did I not know this until now? I thought they came and went last year before I had a chance to enjoy them, so this year I Googled my suspicions and found them to be accurate: Lilacs only bloom for 1-2 weeks at most. Spring is short-lived in a yard full of lilac bushes alone, so I now understand why people plant several different bushes/flowers with varied blooming schedules.
7. (I forgot that) I love to travel.
My husband and I got away (by ourselves!) in April for the first time in years to attended the Mockingbird Conference in NYC. I’d never been to NYC before, and I LOVED IT! If I could swing the millions of dollars it would take to move my family of 7 there and convince my husband it was a good idea, I would! A girl can dream, right? Speaking of which, sometimes our big, adventurous, pre-kid dreams get buried under heaps of practicality, tethered to finances, stolen by time, and, you know, crowded out by children (and more children, and even more children) and other important things like careers, school, and bills. But every once in a while, it’s healing to the soul to intentionally carve out time to remember who you used to be.
8. There are books I don’t like.
Since the end of last year when I decided to give audio books a try, I’ve considered myself a “reader” but hesitantly so, always wondering if I’d manage to stick with it or if this would just turn out to be a phase. Maybe I’ve had awesome book recommendations, maybe I’m not that picky, or maybe my reading palette hasn’t been wetted enough to weed out the good writing from the bad, but it wasn’t until last month I finally came across a book I didn’t like. I stuck it out and read the entire thing––and I’m glad I did because the last chapter ended up being my favorite––but I didn’t love it. I wouldn’t read it again. This is the first time I’ve ever been able to say that, so I figure I’m definitely, officially a reader now.
9. Saying goodbye to old friends is hard.
Dear friends of ours are moving across the country in June. I’ve been crying for months. These are people we have served alongside and marched through the trenches of inner-city ministry with for the last decade. Our kids grew up together and attend the same school. Even if we didn’t get together as often as I would’ve liked in hindsight (because introverts + kids + life), I always knew they were there if we needed anything, that they were only a phone call and a few minutes away. I knew as I struggled on Sunday mornings to get the kids ready to go by myself, my husband having left early to get things set up at church, that she was at her house doing the same. There’s an unspoken solidarity in shared experiences, especially the difficult ones, and we have shared many.
But we will have to acclimate to a new normal that no longer involves them here. I’ve never been good at maintaining long-distance relationships, which worries me a little, but I’m also trying to remind myself that the way things have always been is not necessarily the way things will always be. God is doing a new thing, and we still have hope.
What did you learn this spring that you never knew or realized before?
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