...yes, we're alive, and no, we have not taken a vow of silence or just decided to become hermits. Seems like we have on this end, though! Ryan had a nasty little stomach bug last Tuesday, mae got it Thursday, and I kept thinking Richie was going to get it, but don't think he ever did. He did wind up wheezing and barely breathing all night last night, and after a trip to our wonderful family doc, a steroid shot, albuterol and steroid breathing treatments, zithromax and prednisolone, he's on the way up. Eric is too after having the stomach bug today, and tomorrow we have our first trip to the neurologist to discuss the ruptured disc in his back, but more about that later.
Gotta put a disclaimer on this one... I'm not trying to be whiney. I promise. This is just the stuff that's been going on, and nothing is ever meant to sound like we're not grateful for our lives and the way God has planned to let us live them. I'm also not saying that I always act like I'm grateful, because I try not to lie.
When we decided to purchase this house, we were thrilled at the aspect of having people over, as in holidays, church stuff, and just plain get-togethers. But with every one, something has happened. Nothing major-crazy, nothing that hasn't happened to anyone else lately.
So the first thing, we have our best friends over from Fairfield. Their poor kiddo got sick, and they had to leave. I tried not to pout (but I did!), and tried to put on the happiest face I could and just say that we needed the extra time, I guess. After all, it was before Christmas and I was the most disorganized I've ever been, mostly because I was still grief-roasted from losing my Nanny and fried from the move and all that nebulous cloud of stuff surrounding the holidays. Then we try leave to go to Waco to see family we rarely get to see. At the last minute, my husband makes a trip to a friend's house to return some thing we borrowed. His truck won't start, so they drag it back over here. We do manage to leave, and Mae gets a fever while we're there, but hey... babies do that when they teethe, so I gave her some ibuprofen and all was well. We leave for our start to Christmas with Eric's parents, and hear in the dark that sound from the backseat about halfway to Dallas. You know the one. That "oh dear, we're gonna have to pull over and get someone new clothes" sound. Ryan had lost his pizza (and it was great pizza, too) all over himself, the backseat of the van, and some hanging clothes. Ok. Find a place to get off I-35 and clean up for an hour, and we're good. He's fine, even eating before we could get him cleaned up.
We make it to Richardson that night, so relieved and happy as usual to be with Grammy and Grampy, then Maelynn's fever returns. Ryan throws up in his bed again, but thankfully it was just one of those coughing things. So after a trip to the quack shack and some good ol' antibiotics, we can treat Mae for the ear infection that had been causing her fever. Whew. Now we can get on with Christmas!
Christmas Eve is just too cool with my husband's family. We actually go to the Christmas Eve service, and before that my sister-in-law and I always go out for lunch during the day. When I got home from lunch and a trip to good 'ol Target, Eric was in some super-awful real pain. By dinner, he was unable to find any way to sit, stand, or lay that wasn't excruciating. So off to the ER he goes, thankfully accompanied by his Dad. I could have gone to the Christmas Eve service with Mom and Nana, but the thought (and sheer logistics with three kids) made me sad. Christmas Eve was spent with Eric doped up in the recliner, and I on the couch, settling down for a short wifey's nap. Christmas morning, Eric was still in so much pain he kinda propped himself up long enough that he didn't miss Mae's first Christmas, although through the Vicodin fog I'm not sure what he remembers. He did make it to dinner, though!
After a couple of days, we made it home with Eric still limping to host my Mom and sister. I couldn't wait to make Christmas dinner just like Nanny would have for them! Ok, I've been making pies with Nanny since I was in junior high, folks... and I INCINERATED two pie crusts. Incinerated. Made black. Burned. Charred. I felt so stupid. But we had a wonderful time anyway, and dinner did manage to make it to the table, thanks to my patient family. (Shh... I completely forgot the mashed potatoes.)
I won't keep droning on about the National-Lampooniness of our holidays. We did, despite all the ups and downs, have a beautiful time with all our families and friends. I have to say that we have the best family and the best friends we could ever have dreamed, and their love, grace, mercy and understanding were and are a godsend. But it's just kinda continued... the plans we make have been yanked out from under us seemingly a lot lately. At the same time, we're doing a bible study on Jonah by Priscilla Shirer, subtitled "The Interrupted Life". All about how God has had our purpose planned for ever, quite literally, and how our plans may not jive with that. So why do I whine because something I planned two months ago is overturned because my daughter comes down with a stomach bug the night before? More than that, why in the world do I keep asking God if He's outside his ever-lovin' mind thinking I'm good enough to raise a special needs child... or any child? In that, I'm saying not only that I know better than God, I know myself better, I know my kids better, and I know my life better, I'm putting down His creation and His plan. My addled attempt to express my own unworthiness and show how selfless I wish I was turns to selfishness.
So many times I've been encouraged by a friend and just could not accept the compliment, encouragement, or uplifting statement. I just don't know what to do with myself, honestly. See, I live in my brain and my heart, just like you live in yours, and I know how frustrated and angry I feel. I know how frightened and nervous, selfish and lazy, procrastinating and stubborn I am. I totally feel unworthy of that statement of encouragement or praise, whatever it may refer to. But from now on, before the wonderfulness of the precious gift of those words begins to fade into "you're really not that great, you remember your attitude about so and so?" I hope to take them into my heart and file them away under blessings... not to keep them out too long, because as I'm finding out, even something as wonderful as a Christmas tree can stay out so long it loses its meaning.
To all of you... especially the special needs parents out there (including my Eric and I)... please remember that you were created by God and His plan for your life has and continutes to equip you to not only deal with your child's behaviour and issues, it is part of your purpose on this planet to nurture and love that child/children the way Christ loves us. Stay in the Word and feed your heart and soul good, nourishing food, and stop telling yourself that you're not up to it. You can tell God you're not up to it, and He can handle your frustration, anger, disappointment, and exhaustion. He will also always give you what you need to make it. At times, not just make it, but He'll run your cup over if you'll let Him.
Something I'd never realized before this really, about six months of sick kids, missed appointments, lost loved ones, and changed plans... we have to apply a certain measure of grace and mercy to ourselves. I get so frustrated and have told my husband over and over lately... "I'm just not good enough! I can't get it all done! Just look around!" And you know what? I can't. But I CAN choose my attitude. I CAN laugh some more things off, kinda like those cajun pie crusts, and the fact that yes, it's mid-January and my Christmas tree is still prominently displayed in my living room. And I can learn to accept that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that includes all the parts of me, inside and out, upside and down.
So I will likely have more plans overturned and things won't go the way I thought they should. I will likely get upset, and in my own rebellious way tell God that He's messing up my stuff again. But His mercies are new every morning, and I will learn to more often take comfort in that and continue on in a new day, and I will learn to not only smile and say "thanks" to God's grace and mercy, but to truly accept it. After all, it's His plan, and none of this shocks Him, right down to my little fits of significant insignificance.