‘I curled up next to my son in the hospital bed, careful not to disturb his chemo dripping into his body. We had been in the hospital for 28 straight days.’

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“I curled up next to my young son in the hospital bed, careful not to disturb his IV of chemo dripping into his body. We had been in the hospital for 28 straight days and it did not look like we were going home anytime soon. His body was frail and weak, and his bald head glistened in the moonlight coming through the window. But he still smiled at me when I curled up next to him and reached for my hand.

It was such a privilege to take care of my son when he was sick. That time with him was precious and he taught me so much about faith and courage during his illness.

But that had become our life. Our new normal . . . living in the hospital. I had to rely on family and friends to help care for my other 3 sons and to take care of our house. I wasn’t there to wash the clothes, take my boys to school, fix them dinner and tuck them in at night. And it was so hard to be away from my family. Yet as I would lay there in the darkness with machines beeping and my son’s hand in mine, I knew that is where I needed to be.

I used to crave normal days during those long nights at the hospital.

My heart ached for the ordinary.

My soul cried for the mundane.

I desperately wanted our old life back. The one we had before my son was diagnosed with cancer.

I wanted the comfort of routines and the noisy squeals of healthy children. I wanted to be folding laundry and going to the grocery store and cooking on my stove. I missed the stress of getting four little boys to bed and I missed the long talks with my husband once they were asleep.

Before my son got sick, the days were long and busy. And they felt so monotonous . . . take care of kids, fix meals, pick up kids, clean up, play time, wash clothes, read stories, repeat. My husband and I were barely surviving with four young boys running us ragged.

I never thought of those days as special. They were hard and exhausting.

But after my son got sick, I realized what a gift those ordinary days really are. And I missed them so much.

So, whenever I start to feel overwhelmed with the busyness or bored with the mundane days of life, my heart reminds me to be thankful. And the memories flow through my mind, changing my perspective and reminding me to . . .

Slow down.
Celebrate each day.
Be thankful.
Live Intentionally.
Choose joy
Laugh Often &
Love Big.

Because life can change in an instant and nothing is guaranteed. And I don’t want to take these beautifully, blessed normal days for granted because I know things could be so much worse.

Normal are the best type of days. These are the days I prayed for during those hard times in the hospital. These are the days that remind me that my family is home and healthy. These are the days that make me fall to my knees and thank God for the normalcy.

Ordinary days are a treasured gift . . . yet so often we don’t even realize it . . . until they are gone. Those normal days mean you are living and loving and growing.

I will never look at an ordinary day the same way again. Because those normal, mundane days mean life is good. It means everyone is healthy. It means all is well. It means we are showing up, trying our best and loving boldly. And those ordinary days add up to a life full of wonderful memories with the ones we love. And that is pretty extraordinary!”

Young boy with cancer asleep in hospital bed with an oxygen tube up his nose

This story was written by Heather Duckworth of Love, Faith & Chaos. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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