I have seven children. Three or maybe four of them have Special Needs. I am an adoption advocate. I am a writer. I run an adoption website. I homeschool. I am a blogger. I have a medically fragile child who requires a lot of care. I am a wife. I am a daughter, an aunt, a friend. I cook. I bake. I do the meal planning and the shopping. I used to be a scrapbooker and a reader! I think that most would not argue with me that I am busy.
But the thing is, I was busy when I had two kids. Back then, I had a sick baby and my body was recovering from a difficult pregnancy and I was nursing and getting up at night and my husband was a full time student and I babysat and held craft sales and sold scrapbook supplies and held workshops at our house to try to bring in some extra money. Man, was I busy!
And then when I had four kids (because we were foster parents, we pretty much jumped over three!), I had fostering paperwork and case conferences and four kids and Bible study and foster parent training courses. I was busy!
And then when we had five kids (three through fostering), my oldest was five and I had two three year olds and an eight month old and a four month old and I used to go for walks pushing the double stroller wearing a baby in a backpack carrier or a Snugli and wow, then I was REALLY busy!
And then we went down to only three kids for awhile and at first, I felt like I had all the time in the world! I read; I scrapbooked; I took baths; I threw the most awesome parties for my kids’ birthdays. But I began to fill in my time…I started homeschooling. I began leading a women’s Bible study and I took extra courses and before long, we had taken another few kids and then, I turned around one day and we had (including fostering) six kids with four of them in diapers!!! Ok, I was finally really busy!
And then we fluctuated here and there but mostly had four or five kids and we started adopting some of our former foster kids and there was a lot of paperwork involved with that and we moved two times in one year (not my idea!) and our sweet Granola Girl was born and came to us as an awesome surprise with just a few hours notice and then we were suddenly parents to six, our five and our beloved long-term foster son. And he had appointments, many, many appointments and Granola Girl didn’t sleep through the night until she was 17 months old and we had our house for sale and I had to try to keep it clean for showings and I was The Husband’s assistant in his work and it’s a wonder I didn’t go crazy, because I was really busy!
And then we helped transition our foster son to his forever family, we moved to an acreage, and could almost breathe a sigh of relief. Except that that was about the time Miss Optimism’s health issues came to light and a few months later, we found out that Einstein had Aspergers and The Husband was going through some career changes and we were in the middle of pursuing an international adoption! Are we nuts?! Oh, and we were renovating to add bedrooms and the house flooded three times and…I was busy!
And then I was homeschooling five kids and the kids were a bit older so we were no longer getting up in the night with them or changing diapers, but we were driving them to activities and friends’ houses and the oldest to his job and then we got the phone call that we had been referred siblings, a boy and a girl from Ethiopia. Now, I was busy!
And then before we could even catch our breath, our adoption agency went bankrupt and we had to rush over to Ethiopia and in the blink of an eye, we had seven kids! And two of them spoke no English and had experienced a lot of trauma and had a hard time adjusting. I was driving to play therapy and pulmonary specialists and the hospital and art classes and The Husband was driving to hockey and Cadets and soccer and their work and his work and my mom was driving them to swimming lessons while I did laundry with just two of the kids home those few hours every week. I was homeschooling kids with Special Needs and kids who spoke no English and one in Junior High and we put our oldest in school and I don’t know how we made it through but we did, but we were busy!
Busy is relative. Busy forces changes like finding systems that work. My friend Tracy says that if you need something done, ask a busy person because they are more likely to say “yes” and figure out a way to make it happen!
See, the thing is that I have friends who just have one or two kids, but they have an aging parent that they are caring for or are juggling a career and being a single mom or are battling a chronic illness themselves. They are busy! I mean, really, really busy.
Whatever your circumstances are, chances are, you are busy. You are filling your time with the things that matter to you, the things that you have to do to meet your needs and those around you. You don’t need to qualify your busyness against someone else’s.
I know that in our society, we are programmed to think that we have to be busy, but at the same time, that being busy is a burden. I get trapped in that way of thinking sometimes too, but when I really sit back and think about it, my being busy is a blessing. It means that there are others in my life. It means that I matter to people (even if sometimes it feels like I only matter because I feed them and clean up after them!). It means that I am of able body and somewhat sound mind. It means that I have. If I did not have (gifts God has given me, children, a husband, friends, extended family, money for food, a house to clean, passions), I would not be busy. And that is not the life for me.
So today, I am embracing my busyness. I am going to find the blessings in it. There are a multitude.