“Get a life!”
• When things aren’t going my way I think, “Wow, if I could just get a life!”
• When frustrated, I sometimes say, “This is life?”
• As a young mom changing diapers I’d catch myself thinking, “This is not what I thought children were going to be all about. I wonder when I’ll get a life.”
• When our son wasn’t developing on schedule and we’d be doing the same therapy for the trillionth time, I’d sometimes say, “I just wish someday he’d get this, and get a life.”
• When others don’t get in line with our wishes we sometime say, “I wish they would get a life!”
I guess it’s true that the grass is greener in someone else’s yard, but do you ever feel stuck in yours? It would be such fun to be able to pick up and take off – to the other side of town for dinner – without calling on someone to care for our 32 year old with special needs. It’s not an easy task to find someone to “fill that bill.” A teenage (boy or girl) would not be appropriate to watch our grown son. A “service” to bring a stranger to care for our son (who would not be able to tell us if anything went wrong), is not a comfortable option. I’d love to be able to travel with my husband like we had dreamed when we were younger. But if a night out is hard to accomplish, a week is not much easier. And it would be such a treat to say “yes” to friends who are going to see a movie or go to a play – last minute! Oh…If I could just “Get a LIFE!”
But, while the grass is often greener on the other side, I face the fact that life is different for us than for some of those around us and that we have choices to make. And for us (and you) choosing what we feel is right means choosing what we value. It’s that simple and it’s that complicated.
In our society we want to fix things so life is not interrupted or inconvenienced. If we could take a pill to make everything perfect, we would. Because no pill can cure us from challenges and struggles, we have to decide what we value because that’s how we’ll decide what we’ll do. For us the reality and choice was valuing and caring for our son, and the knowledge that doing so would last a lifetime-either his or ours!
So how does that look today? As a woman who now has grown children and two grandchildren, I thought I’d have outgrown this saying, but sometimes I find myself seeing others in retirement doing what we’d hoped, and hear myself saying, “I wish I could get a life!” But on good days – and most of them are, I realize that all of us have times when things don’t go our way, and we all have to “grow up” and learn to go with the flow. I occasionally get frustrated, or feel sorry for myself, but see many of my friends do too – their frustrations are just a different flavor. And, we all look back on those mundane days of child-rearing – doing the same thing over and over again with much fondness, and sometimes with a secret wish to return to or re-do a few of them!
I realize I do have a life. It’s one that includes caring for our son who has brought so much to our marriage, family, and life. It’s about being tethered to home more than we thought we would, but being able to look out over our beautiful wooded back yard and say, “I’m pretending to be on vacation today,” while reading a book and sipping my Café Vienna, or actually traveling somewhere but keeping in mind the pace will be very slow with Joey at our side. It’s about being thankful for a sweet handful of family and friends who stand in the gap to care for our son when we have opportunities to speak at conferences or for ministry. It’s about recognizing we’ve met wonderful people that we wouldn’t have, had Joey not been given to us. It’s a romantic dinner for 3 which still means I don’t have to cook!
Yes, I’ve come to realize that while we all want to “get a life,” we wind up finding that the phrase just needs to be reworked: “This IS our life!”….and it’s really pretty special.