Monday, February 16, 2015

Dandelions in Spring

I'm not sure where to begin, except right where we left off. Sick Sunday.

Part 2.

Now it's Monday.

A bomb went off in our house last week, starting immediately after my last post. Or I guess you could say, it had already gone off, we just didn't know it yet. It was in the doctor's pronunciation as Aquaman sat pathetically breathing in his first nebulizer treatment. Flu A.

To sum it up, none of us were spared, though I had it the mildest, with temp maxing out at 100 and only a few days of pure exhaustion, body, and headaches.

There was one trip to urgent care for Aquaman, and a trip to the emergency room for JT since he decided he should work when they told him he would need a doctor's note to go home...and then ended up with a headache so bad he couldn't stop throwing up.

We've been to the pediatrician's office one day. Both times were just routine follow-ups, but both ended in the diagnosis of ear infection for the oldest and youngest.

The youngest seemed to have avoided the flu altogether until the day after his ear infection diagnosis, Valentine's Day in fact, when it became abundantly clear that it was his turn.

Which means another week of no work for me. Well, no nursing other peoples' kids at least...

And another trip back to the doctor again, though not for the baby yet, who so far just has a stuffy nose and high fevers, but for The Dude, who has the same bronchospastic cough and wheeze that landed him on prednisone 2 months ago.

Last night was a long night, yet another one, something I am becoming used to. 2 back to back albuterol treatments, and wondering if we'll be racing out into the night for emergency care. Clutching the feverish baby close and thanking God that he was strong and healthy before this illness took hold, and thinking of all the babies, mothers close beside them, with heart disease and down syndrome, whose mothers did not have that same reassurance. And knowing that their babies and both of mine were in the hands of the same big and loving God and that it was ok to rest for a few minutes between the coughs and fevers.

This was supposed to be a very special weekend for our family. JT and I were going to celebrate Valentines day with a trip to the spa together. He had taken 4 days off in a row, after a season of working often 12 days without one day off.
Instead, today he goes back to work more exhausted than he left it, having stumbled together through what was definitely the sickest week in our family's history, and hopefully the sickest week we ever have.

And I will sort through the rubble, and note the life peeking back through.

 I'll nurse a little and then some more, and turn on another episode of sesame street, and try to remember what it was like to feel normal again, and thank God for the sick times as much as for the well, for they are all from Him.

"He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might, He increases strength."
Isaiah 40:29

Valentine's day wasn't what we'd planned for it to be this year. In the morning I woke up and stumbled through making pancakes with strawberries for the boys. I coughed so hard while I made them that I almost threw up. I was too tired to cut them into heart shapes, and the boys ate them sitting on the kitchen floor.
Then I took a shower, thinking that would make me feel better, but all it did was make me so tired that I had to lay down.

After my nap we dragged our tired bodies to the park and went through the motions of swinging on the swings and sliding down the slides, and wandered down the pier to look at the boats.

As a family we went to Doubles and ate smoothies, and I realized I was starting to feel better when the food actually tasted good.

But when JT's parents graciously offered to keep the boys so that JT and I could have a Valentine's date, the thought just seemed kind of exhausting. Going and sitting somewhere and coughing at each other seemed like more work than it was worth.
So we looked at the movies, but none of those seemed any good. Until we discovered that the 3rd Hunger Games movie, which we missed when it came out in theaters a few months ago, was out at the discount theater.
 It wasn't done quite as well as the others, I don't think, but we still had a great time, and it was the perfect sick Valentine's night activity.

I just finished reading the books, which I suppose is a little adolescent of me, and what's even more adolescent of me? I cried at the end.

"On the night I feel that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that."

"What I need is the dandelion in spring."

That was the part that got me. Because JT is my dandelion in the spring. That always points me back to Jesus, the bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. Hope, springing up in the meadow.

There is so much destruction today. And there is so much hope springing up around us. And I am nothing but thankful. For the man coughing beside me, and the Savior who holds all of us carefully in His arms. Numbering all the hairs on our heads, capturing all the tears that fall in the night, watching every sparrow that falls, and whispering into our hearts the promise- life goes on today.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sick Sundays

It's Sunday morning, and we should be on our way to church. But this week church is on the Roku, because it's February, and we're sick again.
Right now everyone seems happy, and I'm taking advantage of it.

 The older 2 boys are playing happily with the Lego table, and not even fighting. One is naked, you can probably guess which one.
The littlest one, newly mobile, but still hesitant, is basking in his ability to scoot like a chimpanzee along the living room floor grabbing whatever toy, or kleenex that he can get his hands on.
So far his mobility has not been as hard as I anticipated, but then again, it's new, I imagine he'll get a bit more adventurous before long.

Aquaman is wandering the house now saying that he's bored, and that he's cold, which isn't a good sign. He's the sick one this time. The two little ones have runny noses and The Dude has pretty much not stopped coughing occasionally for 2 months now. But, they're both doing fine. But the night before last Aquaman started with a very harsh cough and by bedtime was complaining about his eyes and head hurting. His temperature shot up and his cough got worse in the middle of the night. But then yesterday he acted perfectly normal and there was no more fever. Then last night, he woke up with fever again and this time coughing so hard he couldn't catch his breath  and almost threw up. I borrowed some of The Dude's albuterol and in an hour and a half he finally settled down enough to go back to sleep.

So now this morning there is no church, and we will probably be going back to urgent care. Again. This will be our 3rd time in 3 months visiting urgent care. The 3rd 2nd Sunday of the month. Because there is only one day a month when I absolutely cannot miss work, and it is the 2nd monday of the month for cleft clinic. And every month without fail since December, someone has been sick.

But we'll get through it. And cold season will soon come to a close, and so will this beautiful weather, so we'll take the good with the bad today, and enjoy our days.

Especially our Sundays.

There are so many things to cross off my to do list today. Nothing ever really feels done, and I continue to struggle with surrender and with the anxiety of it.

JT is gone for a few hours this morning, spending the weekend training for a ministry opportunity that centers around his 2 biggest passions: Jesus and physical fitness, We're missing him, but I'm excited for him too. An opportunity for growth and stretching, which are both really hard things, but are also the best things. I love that he's not afraid of either, and I want to be the same way.

This week, the verse that has been on my heart is Romans 12:2 (NIV):

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

How much do I desire to live a life that's different, that's bigger and means more than the futile struggle of the everyday, and this is the answer to the struggle.

A puzzle. Which my boys love, but can never seem to stay focused long enough to finish. The pieces scatter all over our house, and usually at least one is missing. If it's one of those noise making puzzles, that means that at night when you turn out the lights, the sounds go off, thinking you have at last covered it over with the correct piece.
Sometimes they try so hard to fit in a piece that doesn't belong that they end up grotesquely bent. 

We're part of a puzzle, and we're all trying to fit somewhere. And the world has this whole pattern it wants to squeeze us into, and sometimes we get pretty desperate to squeeze ourselves in there too. 

But as I read this verse the other day, a picture came to me- of a flat puzzle. The world's ways. That seem so much to matter here, but even when we click perfectly into place there is a sense of dissatisfaction. 

And then I saw a 3D one, A bright and vibrant bigger than this world reality that we can't fit into ourselves. We have to be transformed. Our minds have to be made new. Not just one time, but every single day.

" Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
-Romans 12:2 (the Message)

Some moments this week I have failed to let him transform me. Sometimes maybe it's easier just easier to just stay flat. Lay low. Though if you belong to God, it's never easier to stay that way.

Transformation can be painful, but it is always radically satisfying. So that's what I'm going for as we head out into our day today.

We have had a great week.

Greystoke, as fun as he has been to have as an infant, is perhaps even more enjoyable as he becomes more independent. How much fun it is to watch him learn and imitate. His new faces,

 his belly laughs.

When you tell him no as he reaches for something, sometimes he cries, but always he stops. This new form of compliant child is a total mystery to me, but I can't say I'm not enjoying feeling like a rock star parent with him.

Of course, one of the other 2 are always quick to put me back in my place.

The Dude seems to be maturing, and I think he will outgrow some of the worst of it in this next month as he eases into four. "uh, you know what?" is his new favorite intro to pretty much everything he says.
We'll be signing him up for VPK soon. It's so hard to believe.

The older 2 boys have recently become friends with the neighbor boys who have been living close to us for almost 2 years now, but recently they are living with their grandmother, and she has set up their whole garage as a playroom during this beautiful weather. They are 8 and almost 6, and The Dude charges into combat with their toy guns (something he has never owned, but is completely fascinated with), as if he were not half their size.
Even Aquaman overcame his shyness when he saw the size of their Lego collection, and most often he finds himself in the garage, with the also awkwardly shy older boy, playing side by side with only a few words necessary between them. While the younger boy and The Dude come to our house to see what mischief they can get into, and trust me, it is a lot. If I thought my children were wild, this boy has cured me of that presumption. We've had to have more than one conversation about appropriate language.

But he's so little, really. And yesterday when I was upstairs putting away laundry while they played, I heard someone calling: "mom! mom!" and as I made my way downstairs, I realized that it was not my child calling my name, but him. I guess he didn't know what to call me. And I guess because he doesn't have a mom and hasn't since he could remember, calling me mom didn't mean too much to him. And if that didn't win me over, probably nothing would.

And I suppose some wouldn't want their children spending time with children like that, but I think that's exactly what we're supposed to be doing, and so we'll keep doing it as long as we can.

And it turns out, this week, Aquaman came home smiling from school and said "at recess now, I have 4 friends." He named some boys who seemed to have been pursuing him  in the past but he was too shy to know what to do. However, he has gotten so comfortable with the neighbor boy that he was able to be the bridge that brought them all together.

So now it's nap time, and the other 2 are whining, and Aquaman keeps saying he's bored, which is insane considering how many toys are scattered all over this house, and considering how sick he is, but there you have it.

Happy sick Sunday to all.