What to do today with an unknown future.
My husband found me standing beside our newborn’s bassinet, sobbing. Our first born was less than a week old, and we’d been home from the hospital for a few days, following an uneventful pregnancy and delivery.
Dave put his arms around me and (like any good husband) asked what was wrong.
“I don’t know how I’m going to raise this little boy. He is totally dependent on us – on me, today. How do I know what to do for the next twenty years?” I wailed, falling against Dave.
I’m sure Dave was relieved to find my quandary was not life-threatening. He didn’t laugh (not out loud, anyhow).
Instead, he wrapped his arms tighter around me and said, “Can you take care of him today? Do you know what to do today? Can you feed him, burp him, change him and rock him today?”
“Yes, I can do that,” I blubbered. “I know how to do that . . . ”
“Then just do that, Babe,” he said. “Just take care of him today. You don’t have to take care of him for tomorrow. Just take care of him today.”
“I can do that,” I said, still sniffling. “Of course I can feed him and take care of him today. I know how to do that!”
“Just today, dear,” Dave kept holding me, patting my back. “All you have to do is take care of him today.”
Our tiny newborn slept contentedly in his bassinet, no idea he had caused his mama such consternation. The years loomed ahead. I felt inadequate raising this little one. Who knew what the future held for him or for us?! I felt I had to be ready to conquer any mountain, slay any giant, in defense of our precious son.
The molehill became a mountain as postpartum hormones and emotions bombarded me. I was inadequate and unprepared. What made me think I could be a good mother?! Sure, I’d had lots of experience babysitting over the years; I was a nurse, and had a good sense of parenting. Yet, this was something I’d never faced before. I was afraid. Could I handle the responsibility? What if I failed? So I stood there and blubbered like a baby, worrying about the future when all I had to do was walk through this day.
There are days when we wonder how we’ll make it through the day. These times are trying times. Moms (and sometimes dads) are home with kiddos all day long, waiting for the quarantine to be over. When will the quarantine end? How will the bills get paid? What if?!? How am I going to handle this testosterone-driven teenager today? What am I to do with the insecure school age child who is overwhelmed with being schooled at home? How in the world can I handle the fussy toddler one more day?!
Focus on today
Looking ahead is overwhelming. The end isn’t in sight, and there’s no telling what else is coming down the pike. So we tremble and worry.
We struggle with isolation, loneliness, and despair. When we think of the unknown future, we blubber about as though we had no moorings. We forget to focus, for today, just on what to do today.
And all we need to do is make it through this day. Can we do that much?!
Certainly, there are times we need to do more than consider what to do today. We need to prepare today for what needs to happen tomorrow. Yet, many times if we’d focus on today, we’d find that tomorrow will take care of itself.
For today, can you fill the spot you are called to fill? Can you do it cheerfully and happily? Can you make it through this day, facing that teenager, encouraging that pre-teen, or soothing the fussy toddler? Do you know what to do today? Do you know how to do that?
Of course you do.
Don’t look ahead at twenty years, twenty months, twenty weeks, or twenty days. Just do today. Do what you know to do, and do it well.
When you focus on making it through this day, you can do this. It will be all right. You’ll see.