Jelly in the Peanut Butter

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at From Dominique’s Desk about Time-Saving Batch Cooking, and I’m excited to welcome Andi from Bringing the Sunshine to The Finer Things in Life.

Jelly in the Peanut Butter

I grabbed my jar of peanut butter and two graham crackers for a quick snack. As I spread the peanut butter on the first cracker, I noticed a dark blob. After a semi-surgical extraction with my table knife, I realized the dark blob was grape jelly – evidence of Sarah Kate‘s decision to fix a PB&J for herself over the weekend.

Now, I’m not a neat freak or a germophobe, but I am quite, well…structured (i.e., you’ll never see me mixing up all of the food on my plate before I eat it, and it drives me a little crazy when Mr. Andi does it). I hesitated for a second, and in a very un-Andi-like fashion, I finished spreading and took a bite. Not only did the extra jelly not make me gag, but it didn’t change the taste much and actually made some bites a little sweeter.

Parenting my two children with special needs is a lot like that snack. I was expecting a very specific thing, but what I got wasn’t exactly what I wanted. My first reaction was “I don’t want this!” but when I embraced what I had, instead of trying to change it, I realized that what I initially thought was a burden turned out to be a wonderful gift.

Some more jelly in the peanut butter moments:

  • Having a preschooler who couldn’t walk unassisted was tough, but having a preschooler who couldn’t run away when she was having a tantrum was an unexpected bonus that I actually could appreciate when I watched my friends battle their typical kids.
  • Having a daughter who isn’t able to run inspired me to attempt a marathon. I’ve since completed five, which is an achievement in itself, but it also gave me the confidence to do a lot of other things (“I ran a marathon while pregnant – I can definitely do THAT!”)
  • Becoming pregnant at age 39 when I thought I was “done” seemed like a disaster, but with it came endless joys – watching my children (who are eight years apart in age) interact with each other, and becoming a part of the Down syndrome community by way of my son, Nathan, just to name two.
  • Having a child (or two) who is differently-abled caused some people – friends and even family – to distance themselves from me, for reasons I still don’t understand. Other people amazed me in the way they embraced us and our special children. I now know, without a doubt, who my real friends are – some of whom were previously only casual acquaintances.
  • Mourning the death of my dreams and letting go of the life I expected to have were painful, but once I got past the grief, I discovered a new and better purpose for my life. I found my voice, and now I’m sharing my message.

No doubt you’ve heard it said that “Man plans; God laughs.” I look back at the person I once was and I see a woman who was driven to better her station in life, but really needed to better herself. No doubt God laughed at me, knowing I would one day be given two precious gifts who would show me how to enjoy the small things and fight for the big things (the ones that really matter). I didn’t want jelly in my peanut butter, but once I tasted it, I realized it wasn’t so bad.

We all have jelly in the peanut butter moments. What are yours?

About Andi

Andi Sligh‘s blog, Bringing the Sunshine, is about life as a mom with a “double dose of special” – two children with special needs, that is, both by chance, with very different diagnoses and very different abilities. The blog’s name comes from a quote by Anthony J. D’Angelo: “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” It’s a reflection of her belief that no matter what struggles or disappointments we face in life, we can always find a blessing if we just look for it.

Visit Life…Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this post. And the reminder that His ways are not like ours!

  2. I love this perspective. I am so NOT a half full kind of person though I wish I was and frequently vow to become one. My knee jerk reaction is not to appreciate the jelly in the peanut butter. I feel renewed inspiration to try.

    • I’m not that person, either, Heather – as I freely admit upfront on the “About” page of my blog! In my mind, structure has always meant control, but having my life deviate so far from what I had planned has caused me to rethink how I feel about a lot of things (including having jelly in the peanut butter!)

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  1. [...] I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at The Finer Things in Life about embracing the unexpected, and I’m excited to welcome Bernice from Living the Balanced Life [...]

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