Life is messy. Things happen. Situations are challenging, and circumstances occur that you never ever want to experience again. But, thankfully, those difficult times sometimes contain hidden blessings that you never would have anticipated.
We are currently experiencing a challenging time, but some unexpected enjoyment, in our family. My husband was laid off from his job on Election Day. Due to the economy, his company scaled back their operations, and his position was one of the casualties. When he was first laid off, it was all I could do to keep it together and constantly fought back tears for the first few days. Figuring out how to deal with health insurance and assessing our financial situation consumed the first week or two.
Knowing that Christmas was swiftly approaching threw another heart-breaking wrench into the picture. We certainly wanted our children to have a memorable Christmas, regardless of our financial picture, so we cut back where we could. We didn't send any Christmas cards, and my husband and I cut back on our gifts to each other and family members. But, you know what, I truly enjoyed this Christmas more than any other in recent memory because I just let it be. I didn't worry about buying just one more gift because I couldn't go out and buy it. We didn't run around trying to attend every Christmas gathering and event, especially ones which charged for admission. Instead, we drove around several times just to look at Christmas lights and Nativity scenes while singing carols in the car and spent time with close friends who were there to offer a kind word. Instead of focusing on all the extraneous details of the season, we just concentrated on enjoying the holidays and being thankful for all the things we did have.
Best of all, though, we have also been given the blessing of time. In his former position, my husband traveled a lot. Patrick was an outside sales rep and covered thirteen states, so he was frequently out of town. In the last two months with his previous company, he was out of town more than he was home- as in leave Monday morning and come back Friday night road-warrior traveling. Our children missed their dad; I missed my husband, and honestly, I sometimes felt like a single parent. As the kids and I were anticipating Patrick's return one Friday in late October, my seven-year-old broke my heart when he didn't get excited about Daddy coming home, but instead asked me how long Daddy would be here before leaving again.
So having my husband home has been a treat. For the first few days Patrick was here, seven-year-old Car Guy was so excited about daddy being home that he acted like it was a vacation. He so loves to snuggle with his dad in morning and play a game with him in the afternoon. Eleven-year-old Curly Girl likes having someone more fun than me to joke around with, and I love having an extra set of hands to get everyone up and going in the morning, as well as adult company and conversation during the day.
Now I completely understand and expect that my husband's next job will again involve some traveling. We've coped with it before, and we'll cope with it again. Patrick is beating the bushes for a new job, and we certainly hope things look up sooner rather than later. But instead of fixating on the challenges of our current situation, we choose to focus on our hidden blessings that this season of life has awarded us instead.
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