Saturday, January 20, 2018

Even If

It's 7 am on a Saturday morning, and there is chaos in my living room.

On week days, I start trying to wake up the older boys at around 7, and usually have to drag them out of bed at around 7:15. But on Saturdays.....everyone in the house is up and moving at a vigorous pace by 6:30 am.

I look forward to the weekends all week. I miss the big boys when they are at school all day. I just wish they didn't have to start with such....intensity.

The Dude was the first one up this morning. He is the one with the most energy and intensity right now and usually he is the one who sleeps in the longest, which is convenient. But not today for some reason. Today for some reason he was up first and he turned on every light in the house and forgot to shut the bedroom doors, and since I am sleeping with a baby, it is not a simple matter just to get up and shut the door because if I get up she will wake up too and she will look around and see lights on and it will all be over.

It turned out that way anyway because she stirred and looked around and saw all the light flooding into the room and started poking Greystoke (who had crawled into our bed half an hour before) in the eyes and then it was time for everyone to get up.

I went downstairs and made breakfast and then I went to turn down the volume on the tv that The Dude was watching and he tried to put me away with his foot in my stomach. So I sent him upstairs and turned off the tv and a few minutes later I went upstairs to talk to him and when I came back downstairs I found Scarlett in the bathroom eating toilet paper.

Aquaman could see that I wasn't doing well before my coffee. He offered to take the other 2 boys upstairs to play with them and give me a few minutes to wake up. I was touched by the offer and it helped me have a better attitude, I told him that I was fine. A few minutes ago, The Dude was in my face telling me the details of the workings of the Ninjago techno blades and Aquaman said "Dude, mom is trying to write right now, back up a little bit." I told him it was fine, and he said "I guess your coffee is starting to work." But what was really starting to work was the mental dialogue going through my head, reminding's Saturday. There are a million things to do and they will not all get done, and that's ok.

My battle continues with the urgent and important. If you do not make time for the important, the urgent will crowd it out. The important to me this morning is sitting down to write for a few minutes. Even if they make a mess and I face constant distractions while I am doing it.

The important is letting them distract me with their arguments about how many times bigger the sun is than Jupiter, and ask me for 2nd breakfast.

But it's hard to remember the important sometimes when the multi tasking seems to have reached such an intense new high.

Life is great. Most of all of our stress is good stress, stress for positive reasons.

But sometimes what it feels like is death by a thousand cuts. Not a moment to think my own thoughts. A million interruptions. New tires. Physicals. Another school fundraiser.

It doesn't help that Scarlett isn't sleeping well at all. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she is currently teething, finally. She will be 9 months on Monday, and she is getting her first tooth. But it is not the ones you would expect. It is is one of her canines. And it has been trying to push through for weeks. I should probably change her nickname to Fang. Of course at the rate this tooth is pushing through, it will be another month and she may have more teeth by the time it is actually out.

I wish it would just come through already and she would start sleeping again, but I have learned by now that with a baby it is always something.

School has also been pretty exhausting. I finally negotiated a plan with The Dude's teacher regarding homework....she was sending home an 8 page packet every Monday, and that had to be done on top of reading every day. Which I guess might be manageable, but after 6.5 hours of school, what little attention span the Dude has left is gone. It's hard enough to get him to read a book to me which I think is far more important than doing the same worksheets he does all day at school. His teacher ignored my several requests to change up his homework, saying that she would have to check with his IEP team, but never getting back with me. So I finally went to his resource teacher who agreed with me. Apparently histeacher is the squeakier wheel though because after they talked, it was decided that he would do his writing homework during his resource time, and his math homework at home. Which I think is kind of a stupid use of his one on one time, and that the resource teacher should get to choose what he does in there, but whatever. He doesn't have to do it at home.

I am not a huge fan of the Dude's teacher.

Aquaman is just tryng to survive this year too. He has gotten more and more stressed as the year has gone on, and he has gone from straight As to what will probably be Cs by the time the year ends. He is a perfectionist with anxiety, and that looks different from the typical perfectionist. When he starts to struggle with something his anxiety goes straight to a 10 and then in order to alleviate that anxiety he stops trying.
At the beginning of the year, I told him his homework would be his this year, he would be in charge of it. I told him I would be happy to help him with it, but I would not make him do it, or check it over to make sure it was done perfectly. I thought that would work fine, but I am struggling a bit with it. Given the choice, he just chooses not to study. When he gets a C on a test, he shrugs his shoulders. When I ask if he cares he gets tears in his eyes and says yes but it doesn't do any good to get upset. I am not sure what the answer is, really. Even if he can recite his spelling words and multiplication tables to me perfectly, when it comes to the anxiety of a testing situation he will forget to put the t in staircase and miss it anyway. So I can kind of understand his laid back attitude toward studying.
To be honest, I kind of agree with the more balanced approach to life anyway. I don't think life is all about making the best grades and I don't really want that to be his focus. But I would love for him not to feel like a wound up ball of stress.

Speaking of stress, conditions are deteriorating around here. The Dude broke one of Aquaman's huge lego masterpieces....again. He breaks everything he touches and Aquaman is obsessed with his stuff.
I have been trying to write this blog for 2 hours with thousands of interruptions, and I haven't even written about what is really on my heart, and that is what a gift it is to be back to regular life and death by a thousand cuts. We have stayed healthy for an entire 2 weeks (minus some colds which pretty much never end this time of year). And I feel a little guilty about that, to be honest. I am still processing my emotions from our New Year's adventure in the hospital with Greystoke.

On Christmas Eve he woke up with a fever and complaining of ear pain. He has had fluid in his ears off and on for several months, so I wasn't surprised. On Christmas Day he also developed a couple of strange spots on his face. I knew he fell off his new trike and figured they had something to do with that, but couldn't figure out how he would get them in that location. The next day I took him to the doctor. His ears were fine, and apparently throat pain can be referred to the ears. They thought the spots were weird too so they did some bloodwork. Strep was negative and the bloodwork was fine, so they pronounced it viral and we went home happy. But it didn't go away. And 5 days into it his fever went to 104.4 and he didn't get out of bed all day. He barely ate or drank anything. He didn't play. He didn't pee. The doctor's office was closed for the holidays so I took him to urgent care and we were admitted to the local hospital in the middle of the night. Scarlett had to come along because she won't take a bottle and won't sleep without me. That night was a comedy of errors, and one of the most exhausting nights of my life, which is saying a lot. The urgent care told us to go straight to peds, but the front desk sent us to the emergency room to be admitted. There is no way to go through the hospital so I had to walk around the building outside by the homeless people with two kids in tow on a freezing cold night with my flip flops, a carseat, and a diaper bag. Once we got there, transport forgot about us for 2 hours. We weren't actually in a room with IV and medications going until about 4:30 am. I am glad Greystoke won't remember any of this.

The hospital gave him much needed fluids and some toys but not much else. The hospitalist came in once for 5 minutes during our 2 day stay. Greystoke started peeing but didn't get any better otherwise. His fever went up every afternoon. He got too tired to get out of bed and had to wear a diaper all day. The 2nd day I was starting to lose my mind and wanted to see his own dr, so when he came in and declared Greystoke to have viral tonsillitis and asked if I wanted to take him home I signed the papers right then and there and did the happy dance walking out even though I knew it wasn't over.
I took all my stuff down while the nurse stayed with Greystoke, and then forgot the stroller in the van. So I had to carry Greystoke down in the Tula, with Scarlett on my hip. And somewhere in that chaos I lost my key and had to call JT's dad to come and get us (JT had to work all this time because his job is so awesome).

We came home and stayed for a day and a half. I was trying to get through New Year's so we could see the pediatrician, but by the time we got to the next evening I knew he had to go back to the hospital. He lay in my bed crying and asking me to sit with him, but if I touched him he cried out in pain. His back hurt, his legs hurt, everything hurt. I hadn't seen his smile in over a week.
I didn't want to go back through the trauma and nightmare of an overnight admission again so I packed our bags that night and we left the next morning. JT had to work again. The big boys were off school but luckily Grandma was available to keep them entertained. We drove an hour to the children's hospital and when we got there we checked in and then went to the bathroom and when we came out, they were calling us back. Within 15 minutes we had seen the doctor, and within an hour we were admitted. They didn't want Scarlett to stay with me and gave me a hard time about that, but what was I going to do? She stayed. The next 2 days were a blur. They finally started antibiotics. His fever continued. He turned white. Despite improved hydration, his capillary refill got more and more sluggish. It was the morning of the 2nd day, looking at him small and curled in his bed with all those monitors, all white, barely able to keep his eyes open, listening to the dr say that he had a hemoglobin of 8 that it occurred to me that this wasn't just a terrible episode of suffering we had to get through...this was very possibly a matter of life and death.

I didn't cry. How was I supposed to? I was running on adrenaline. Caring for a baby and the sickest of terrified kids, dealing with all of these strangers. When they both fell asleep, I listened to one of my favorite songs: "Even if you don't". It got my through the loss of K's first adoption a couple months. It reminded me that God is God, and I am not. I let a few small tears run down my face and then I wiped them away.

JT got there later that morning, and he took one look at Greystoke and his eyes filled with tears. We said a prayer together. We sat together.

They started a new antibiotic and a few hours later took his blood again. He sat up. He asked to play a game. His blood came back and was improving. He asked for and ate a hot dog for dinner.

The next day he was skateboarding on his IV pole. He was climbing in the windows. He was asking me for bacon. Scarlett and I praised the Lord as I bought his bacon and Lucky charms, and I looked at the other parents in the elevators, and I looked at the kids being pulled by in the wagons as we went to explore the playroom, and I wondered why. Why did my boy get better, and why do some boys not?

It wasn't until a week later that I finally cried. I was finally alone in my car, on the way to work, and "Even if you don't came on the radio."
"You've been faithful, You;ve been good all my days. Jesus I will trust in You, come what may. I know You're able. I know You can. I know You're able, I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don't. I will trust in You alone. I know the sorrow and I know the hurt could all go away if You'd just say the word, but even if You don't I will trust in You alone."
All that emotion I didn't even know was there came pouring out of me.

He said the word, my boy is fine. I didn'teven remember what his laugh sounded like, but I have heard it countless times in the past couple of weeks. That day that my son turned the corner, my sister K got the text that she was a Mommy. She went and picked up her son. Her son. And I met her as a mother this past week. I met my long awaited and prayed for nephew .

JT has been quoting this verse lately from Psalms: "Our days come to seventy years, or eighty if our strength endure; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and we fly away....teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:10,12

But the Psalm doesn't end there. It's true of course. JT and I are in the "prime" of our physical life. Our 30s. And we are tired. We are overwhelmed, overstimulated, over tired.
But it is the trouble that makes the victory more beautiful. The sorrow that makes the beauty more victorious.

"Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, Your splendor to their children....May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us....yes establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90: 15, 17

And now I had better return to the work of my hands.