When I talk of discernment with my friends I speak from the heart. Most of the time when I hear someone say, “I felt led by God to do —–” I don’t buy it. They are typically noisy faithfuls- the ones that talk so much about their faith I’m certain the holy spirit never got a word in, but I bite my lip and pray that God is moving something through them. To me I don’t hear God… it’s a feeling sometimes like in my last blog post where you just know you are doing the right thing. Sometimes the choices you make fall apart and you aren’t sure why and maybe it’s because you weren’t listening closely to God’s call. God has the reasoning for you to listen ever more closely. It’s a lesson and a message in the mix up. When you get it right that is when God winks.
On August 10, 2009, my precious daughter Maggie was born a beautiful healthy ginger baby. She was perfect and everything went perfectly during the delivery and hospital stay. At home everything was just smooth… other than projectile vomit. I had eight weeks off to regain my strength and ability to walk before I returned to the classroom. I knew it was going to be a hard year, because having someone else start my classroom off for the year was going to make it challenging. We had signed my kids up for a brand new daycare, but it suddenly closed right before I was to go back to work. Finding good daycare is extremely important and I was panicked. I called or e-mailed local friends for their sitter recommendations- everyone was full. Finally, I started responding to sitter adds.
Well we eventually found one that we liked at the right price. It was a weird set up where full time lady didn’t live there but part time lady did. They seemed reliable. The house was set up nice, the daycare area looked safe. While on our interview Maggie needed to nurse and the home owner was incredibly offended even though I was draped. I should have known right then… but I didn’t. My husband and I called ALL of the references and we talked about it and eventually went with this duo pair. We were cautiously confident about it and just rolled with it.
Things started off great. The kids were well fed, the house clean and full of activities. It seemed fun and the kids were all happy there. Then things started getting weird. The first thing was when she dropped an entire bottle of breast milk- all the mothers who ever nursed just gasped.. we all heard you. Honestly, for me it wasn’t that she spilt it, but how she acted about it. It was weird, her reaction, and there was more to that story I will never know. Then John forgot to tell the sitter he would be returning mid day once to pick up Maggie to take her to the doctor. When he arrived someone else we had never met was there taking care of Maggie. This breaks so many protocols I can’t even begin to tell you… I mean John could have been a stranger taking my child. Who knows who this person was doing this unbeknownst to us and how many times had this occurred since she didn’t let us know. So we talked to the sitter, she apologized and we moved on. Part time lady at this point just lives in the house… we never see her. Then the sitter takes them to parks and such not a problem. We leave the car seats and everything is fine. She’s now calling daily to take them somewhere to do something. Then it hits the fan. My mom runs into her at a local mall. My son- not properly restrained in the car. My daughter- where is my daughter? Again with a friend back at the house. I’M DONE!!!!!
She pleads with me over the phone and apologizes repeatedly to say she was sorry and proceeds to tell me all the other things she did while they were in her care. Apparently, it was ‘what you see isn’t nearly the half of it’. She took Maggie out to urgent care with her daughter… a tiny baby to urgent care with her sickly daughter instead of closing and left our son with??? See a lot of parents do this they walk in with the baby in the carseat carrier… I never once thought you just left them with the freedom to drive your baby legally. She says part-time lady is an alcoholic and she didn’t want them around the children. She confesses that she left my son in part-time ladies care and took my daughter, my little baby girl, into a local housing project to “visit a friend”. This was around the same time that a 2 year old had gone missing and was later found murdered from this same housing project. The list went on and on and on… and I lost my nerve… my stomach… my mind.
In my panic I called Bridget. I figured out a way to get both kids there with her sitter for at least a temporary fix. Miss Julie the fabulous sitter saved the day and it was nothing but a blessing for us. Alden eventually had to go to daycare across town. Part time alcoholic lady lost her house to my knowledge and pretty much disappeared. Full time lady left the state and was eventually audited for her business. The door was closed and I moved on with it.
All the while my husband is working… I am teaching the kids I didn’t have at the beginning of the year. I still had trouble walking. I was exhausted… mentally, physically, and emotionally. When the news came about my sitter in December and January… I really had had enough. It’s hard enough being a mom and a teacher. It’s hard being a new mom. It was hard to walk. It was just hard and I needed to perform to a certain standard with my students and my own children. John has his emergency appendectomy in March following this. I was a ticking time bomb of distress… who in the world wouldn’t be? As you can see I wasn’t listening to God in the quiet still of my prayers. Life had gotten so loud that I couldn’t hear. I decided it was time to regroup and listen. I thought and I prayed, but there was too much of a mix up for me to be doing what I needed to be doing and be on my right path. It took a while for me to realize my motherly and professional obligations were going head to head and I wasn’t about to stop being a mother.
Around the same time, my friend Crystal found out she was pregnant. She had helped me so much during my pregnancies and recovery with walking. Learning about my babysitter problems was hard on her being pregnant. Hearing this and watching me go through this struggle was so hard for her to listen to, but it wasn’t something I could really avoid or protect her from. When she had her first ultrasound I was waiting anticipating her call. When it rang after school one day, I answered with a quick- “How did it go?” She responded with, “Well, we heard the heartbeat and it was amazing and then we heard the second heartbeat.” —– This is where I flipped out interrupted her and seriously ridiculously flipped out with excitement… nervousness… completely elated. We still chuckle wishing that we had it recorded. Too bad neither one of us have a good memory anymore or I might be able to give you more detail… but mostly I just said, “You’re kidding. No really. You have to be kidding!” She wasn’t.
The message in the mix up was that I needed to step down from the job I loved and stay home with my children and Crystals. So I started my own business watching both of our kids with others to make ends meet. I promised to keep her girls until they were in preschool. When you get the message things begin to run smoothly, calmly and with ease. I addressed my emotions and wrote my resignation letter and began to move on. The twins were due in a few weeks and I was closing out the school year. You know when God closes a door he surely opens a window… well I like to tell people in this moment of discernment God closed the front door and opened the side door because in this case there was no window.
June 11, 2010 was the last day in the classroom and John had taken the day off to help me clean out my classroom. He knew this would be hard for me to leave, because I love being an educator. I was saying my emotional goodbyes and loading everything into the car from my years of professionalism. I went into my classroom one last time and finished out my time on the clock when my phone rang. I was being invited to the hospital to visit two precious little girls that were born that same morning. We turned off the lights and closed the door on my classroom and rode the short distance to the hospital. Literally closing one chapter of my life and opening the next. This is when you know you have it all right and you get to see God wink.