A little over a week ago, I received a call from my dad, and over the next 12 hours regarding my mom, I heard words and phrases like bad fall, ambulance, ER, something on the CT scan, and broken arm.

By the next morning, I told my husband I wanted to take our two oldest children, 12 and 14, and make the four-hour trip to my parents’ house. He didn’t hesitate to agree to take care of the four youngest, and my oldest two agreed to quickly pack a suitcase and hop in the truck with me.

As we headed into my parents’ town, we grabbed a grocery pick-up and prepared to help them out over the weekend. After their long, overnight stay in the hospital, we met them at their home.

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In their mid-60s, my parents are fiercely independent and blessed with health that has kept them this way. Accepting help is still a learning curve for them, as it is for most of us. My mom fell hanging decorations and hit her head and arm. Her head was fine; her arm was not. She had a cracked humerus and was in a lot of pain. My dad was beside himself.

Yes, I cooked some meals, washed dishes, and did another grocery run in the next 48 hours, but wow, my big kids astounded me. As a parent, I see my failures and mistakes in technicolor. I look at my kids, I see their struggles, and I wonder how many are because of me. But watching them care for their grandparents was a clear indicator of the grace of God in our parenting.

My 12-year-old daughter helped with dinners, wrapped Christmas presents, and finished the decorating my mom had started. My 14-year-old son worked on outdoor projects with my dad, and this kid, whose face we rarely see before 8:30 a.m. thanks to homeschooling, readily agreed to be up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday to go with my dad to church and help on the tech team.

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By the end of the weekend, my parents’ spirits had been lifted and they were in a routine, and a new hope had risen in my chest. Despite changes, fumbles, hurts, and hiccups in my parenting, I witnessed some pretty incredible kids over those 48 hours.

As we drove home listening to historical podcasts and Christmas songs together, all I could feel was overwhelming gratitude for the blessing and joy of these incredible human beings I have the privilege of raising. The wonder of it all will never be lost on me.

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Crystal Fulmer

I am a mother of three biological children and an adopted sibling set of three, a homeschooler, a pastor's wife, a former teacher, and a group-home houseparent. I am a trauma and mental illness survivor. I love to write for encouragement, and I've been finally been convinced to write and publish a book, The Grace of Getting Up, now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Westbow Press online bookstore. Please join me on this journey on FB or insta @thegraceofgettingup.

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