Recently I have not been my usual bouncy, energetic self. Recently, instead of being the carer and comforter and provider (otherwise known as "Mum"), I have been the one needing caring and comforting and being provided for.
Everyone hates being sick, but carers and mothers have an added feeling of dread and guilt ... who will look after the family? I am not good at being confined to bed and not being able to jump up when I hear one kid cry with a nightmare, or another kid run around trying to find something urgent for school, or the girls giggling in the bathroom instead of cleaning their teeth. For several days I couldn't shout out, and I couldn't help – I had to trust them to sort it out.
The joys of teaching kids household chores
I am totally blessed with a wonderful husband and a competent family, and they can cope. I have written previously about how strict we are in making sure our large and diverse family all pull their weight. When I was sick, this is exactly what they did. They kept to their usual routine, and did much more to help care for me too.
I am so proud of them; they all came up to the standards of the Biblical verse 1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV): "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Following our ancient customs, our girls are usually in the kitchen with me while our boys are helping my husband, Eddie. However, we have also made sure that all the kids can cook, and all the kids can do simple repairs if something breaks – both boys and girls. In fact, Eddie loves to cook. And I love him to the moon and back for all his efforts when I was sick.
Due to an infection in my mouth, I wasn't eating much at all - only yoghurt and fruit smoothies. Can you imagine how wonderful the smell of Eddie's Sunday roast was, and how sad I was that I couldn't eat it? Then the other day he made home-made rissoles with gravy and mash potatoes ... ooohh ... I must be getting a bit better, because I really wanted to join them for dinner!
Everyone pulls together
I am also proud as Punch to say that every one of the kids' dentist appointments and sports practices and optometrist visits were kept; Eddie made sure they were all safe after school, so I was able to rest a lot to help my recovery.
He also made sure everyone got breakfast and a packed lunch, and the children did the cleaning up and extra chores. They made me my smoothies (except the day I was well enough to go out with them, and we bought one as a treat), and they gave me lots of extra kisses and cuddles.
The advantages of having such a big family as ours, is that there is more love to go around. Hopefully, with the miracle of antibiotics and (finally) a correct diagnosis of my problem, in a few days, I will be taking my normal place at the table and they can proudly show me all the new skills they have learnt.
Caring for others brings rewards in the end
I absolutely love being a Mum, and I have taken on the responsibility of the extra-large family happily, knowing what I was letting myself in for because I had seen them living at their dysfunctional community before they came to us. I have absolutely no complaints, and I know I am doing absolutely the right thing for me and for the children.
But it is very exhausting, and sometimes I think my body just collapses and tells me to rest. But the Bible reassures me that I will also be cared for when in need, and my family has shown with this minor illness of mine, that they can certainly make this come true!
Galatians 6 verses 9-10: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."
Tisha Williams is an indigenous home maker and mother on the Gold Coast / Tweed. He husband Edward is an indigenous painter, training to be a carpenter and teaches their children his language and dream time stories which have parallels in the Bible.
Tisha Williams' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tisha-williams.html