Yesterday was a mental health day. Our family needed one of those. Benj needed a break from work. I needed a break from online teaching. The boys needed a break from home school – oh wait, they didn’t get a break from that, but they got a happy ending for getting it done in the morning.
We needed a break from COVID-19 living.
I packed some snacks, cold water, and lots of sunblock, and we took off for Lake Okoboji. We got a different boat last fall and decided it would be advantageous to make sure it actually floats before summer boating season is upon us.
It floats. Woohoo!
The People in That Boat
Our 12 year old, Micah, thinks that this is his year to completely take over driving the boat. Just because he passed his boat driver test he thinks he can take the job over from me, who just realized last summer how much fun driving a speedy boat across the lake can be. Poor Benj is getting pushed down the boat driver line.
Lucky for Micah and Benj, I was happy sitting in the back reading my book as we cruised around the lake. When Benj did actually give the wheel over to Micah, my little 12 year old turned very manly on me. He takes driving the boat seriously. Not a joke. I can tell it makes him feel very grown up, which I don’t like. How is my oldest almost thirteen and driving a boat?
The other three weren’t begging to drive because they were simply too giddy for all the other reasons riding in a boat creates giddiness. You know – like watching for dead fish, putting their toes in the 52 degree water, bouncing with the waves in the front of the boat, eating the snacks, and watching the wake shoot out from under the back of the boat.
Jamin and Eli sat on the two seats facing backwards, giggling whenever we slowed down and the wake washed up over the small deck where their feet sat. Enduring 52 degree water on the feet is no small task. But those boys. And the giggles. Those giggles should be sold as a cure for depression and anxiety. Those giggles bubble my momma’s heart to overflowing.
Isaac commands every inch of that boat. First in the front, then in the back, then in the way back by Jamin and Eli, then stands by dad, then back to the front, then he finds the food, then he eats the food, then he spills the food. And nobody can do all that while pulling off Isaac’s “cool dude” attitude. Really no 8 year old should be able to pull off the confident attitude of this youngest child of mine. Makes me a little nervous, this one does.
And Benj, my hard-working husband. He needed this day. All the uncertainty of work during COVID-19 – my Benj needed to drive a boat across a calm, beautiful lake and leave everything else behind on the shore for a couple of hours.
Eli told me when I tucked him into bed that it was the best family day he’s ever experienced – those were his words, not mine. He went to bed – they all went to bed – with a smile on their faces and not an ounce of energy left in their bodies.
Yes, I read my book riding in that boat, but I also looked up. I listened. I watched. I smiled. I marveled at the family God gave to me. And as I often do when I realize what I have right in front of me, I whispered thank you.
Recovery Is Worth This
I could have lost all of this. I’m not one to live in the “what if” world, but I do know that if God hadn’t saved me from my eating disorder, I would have missed all these days. I would have missed “the best family days” and I would have missed the worst. But even the worst days of fighting boys and crabby parents are infinitely better than a half life with ED.
I know without a doubt why recovery is worth it.
God gave me life to be lived. I am grateful every day. Not so much for the things like a boat, but for the people in the boat with me.
God defined joy for me by showing me what I had to lose. Not the stuff; but the people. He showed me my priorities and gave me perspective on what matters. It’s not my size or my ability to control my circumstances that matter. What matters is what stands firm through quarantine or through recovery from an eating disorder – it’s love.
Unconditional love. Of a husband. Of children. Of a family. The unconditional love of God.
The fight for recovery was worth all of the pain, anger, and sweat. Recovery was worth the struggle in order to live each day surrounded by love. I can give love back because I’m alive to see it all around me. And I refuse to miss any more of the moments – good and bad – because those moments mean I’m alive.
And I love being alive.