29 jan 2018

I’m doing a short devotional on being a parent to a special needs kid and it’s helped me so much. I’m the first to say that all parenting is hard. It also feels good, though, to have someone else put an asterisk on “all” and write in the footnote: but I see you, Carolyn. It’s nice to have her therapist say they’ve loved working with us and appreciate my dedication. And I get a lump in my throat thinking about when I broke down crying in front of Gertie’s neurologist, and she, in a comically unemotional tone, said, “I’ve seen many children come through here, Carolyn. And not many of them have parents like Gertie’s.” In an immature way I guess I just crave a never ending stream of thankfulness for me. On earth. But this verse has been placed on my heart and it’s pulling me out of that shortsightedness, to appreciate the delay in gratification and focus on the finish line: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭9‬

If I do not give up.

23 jan 2018

Spaghetti nights call for a bath immediately afterwards. We’ve been working on chores and so far they are pretty good about helping me clean the kitchen. The more consistent I am, the easier it is for them. This week we’ve been trying to have it done before Ryan gets home so it doesn’t eat into their small amount of time together. One sweeps, the other wipes down the table, and the next week it switches. They both prefer wiping. I’m reading the last book in a series about rebuilding a community after everything falls apart and it always creates an urgency in me to turn them into hard workers. I’ve got a lazy streak in me myself, so it’s good for all of us.

21 jan 2018

57 degrees. Last week it was -1. We walked the long way to the park. Ruthie on her bike, scared to brake going down the steep hills. Annie sprinting the entire way, only hitching a ride on the hardest climbs. And Gertie, content and happy both in the stroller and out. We had a picnic of pb&j sandwiches, frozen blueberries, and chocolate pudding. We played freeze tag and climbed a tree house. As Annie said many times, “Mom, it’s such a beautiful day.”

But even better than all this, was the realization that it’s feeling normal again.


And Ryan and I couldn’t stop chattering about it.

19 jan 2018

I’m sitting in a parking lot at 8pm uploading this post, taking my time getting home. I told Ryan that not having one uninterrupted thought during the day feels on par to those first few months with a newborn, waking up every hour to feed, where you think you really might be going crazy. I actually begged the girls to let me drive in silence on the way home from swim therapy today, but it goes against every cell in their bodies to not ask a billion questions. It’s why we love them though too. So he shoo-shooed me to the store.

We didn’t need anything. ☺️

I was walking down an aisle without a cart and a little girl ran smack into my side. Her mom was behind her gently hollering. You know the gentle holler, where your voice sounds nice but you’re actually one second away from getting DHS called on you? She was yelling, “Watch where you’re going you just ran into this lady!!” And I blubbered all over myself saying how I hardly noticed and I have little ones, etc. I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed. So then she yelled, “Watch where you’re going, you’re interrupting this lady’s quiet time!!” And we both laughed. I wanted to side hug this comrade so hard.

I did lunch and recess duty at Ruthie’s school yesterday and it was so fun to see her in her element.

18 jan 2018

Sparkles on the ceiling. Afternoon winter light gets me every time. It’s so different than the summertime. I don’t know what it is about it that makes me so nostalgic.

The other night was a perfect storm. We were watching Planet Earth and all sitting amazed at the areal shots of the animals. First it was birds, millions, and then there was a gigantic herd of caribou migrating with their little ones. The girls were slack-jawed, staring.

I popped into the kitchen and whispered to Ryan that maybe this wasn’t one of those predator/prey shows and how lucky we were to dodge an emotionally charged bullet.

And then, immediately after saying that, it cut to the wolves.

Then back to the caribou.

Then to the wolves again.

Suddenly a small baby caribou was chased by a wolf. My eyes darted between the screen and the girls, but I couldn’t change the channel because the narrator would say things like, “The caribou can outlast a wolf.” and “He still has a chance.” So I watched with my heart pounding, begging the baby to run. And when the wolf closed in a little, I heard the girls make this long high-pitched squeal.

“As long as the caribou doesn’t make a mistake, the wolf will stop after a mile.” So I yelled to keep watching because the caribou hasn’t made a mistake yet, can’t you see girls?! The baby is gonna win!! [Because, really, why would the narrator set us up like that.]

And then the dreaded mistake.

Oh my gosh, how the girls cried. Later that night, after Ryan read books, I heard them talking long afterwards. Almost an extra hour of talking. When he came out, he said they had many questions about death and heaven and he laid in bed trying his best to answer it all. Gertie was curled up, awake, listening too.

17 jan 2018

Check out Gertie doing her thing. I mean, when did I post her first steps in the walker? Was it less than two weeks ago? Was it a week ago? Now I can’t even remember.

We still have a long way to go, but her therapists are impressed with how quickly she’s progressing.

I’m starting to notice something. And I don’t know if this happens every time or if it’s just a cause/effect thing, but the moment I start giving up control and giving in to life, to God, to contentment, good things happen.

And maybe they don’t just happen. Maybe they’ve been happening, but I’d clouded my eyes so much I couldn’t see them. Or maybe my definition of “good” changes. Maybe my standards lower. Maybe I magnify my tiny circle of life to the point that I can see the small things more clearly. And the small things have been breaking me lately. I’m determined to finally let them make me.

I’ve been dwelling on this verse: “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you…” 1Thess 4:11  

Make it your ambition.  Your ambition.

…to lead a quiet life.

This intrigues me.

16 jan 2018

Ruthie’s school was cancelled today and Annie’s was not. I jumped at the chance to focus on her during Gertie’s therapy. We bundled up and went for a hike around our woods along the deer trail and tried to find signs of life. Like a circle of dirt on the ground, picturing a doe laying there while the snow fell around her.

15 jan 2018

I actually had to write this down as a New Years resolution: be sillier this year. Also, take gun lessons and learn beekeeping. You know, a natural flow of goals.

But more important than those, this year I’m going to be gentle with myself. Right now that means going deeper with a few rather than spreading myself thin. That means attending Celebrate Recovery as often as I can to deal with residue from raising a special needs child. That means questioning what my intention is on social media, and removing myself from it. I want to be a participant rather than a spectator. Because in the end, spectating ain’t for me. It makes me angry and annoyed and cynical of others’ intentions and, sometimes, blue. I’ve gone off and on again, taking breaks. But, honestly, for me, I feel that if I’m to care for my friends and family, I need to be intentional with them.

One of my fears of truly letting go is not knowing if something is happening in another’s life. (The irony is that I should already be in their life.) I asked one of my girlfriends to become my mini-announcer if anyone in a certain circle needs help and she immediately asked to get coffee tonight. I’m taking it as a sign and moving forward.

Please pray for me in this journey to healing and silliness. It’s an odd combo to achieve.