Thursday, June 18, 2015

Flexibility

Summer went according to plan for almost 2 weeks.
We spent our mornings at the beach or pool the first week, and VBS (while I went to work) the 2nd.
Our afternoons were spent reading and relaxing and doing housework.
And occasional short, hot, walks.





Then, last Tuesday while I was making dinner, Aquaman, The Dude, and Greystoke were running laps in the living room. Aquaman was pushing a truck, bent over as he ran when his hands slipped and he went straight down onto his pinky finger. The minute he showed it to me, I told him it was probably broken. But we decided to wait a little while and see since he wasn't in terrible pain.
The next day, it still looked funny and still hurt when he moved it, so the pediatrician suggested urgent care for an xray. Where we found out it was broken.

Which still wasn't too big a deal since the doctor taped it and said Ortho would probably just give us a splint to wear for a few weeks.
That night, The Dude woke up in the middle of the night with a 104 fever, and threw up the medicine I gave him.
At the doctor's the next day, it was pronounced to be viral. He charmed everyone with his pathetic puffy eyes for exactly one day, and then returned to completely normal.
The end of VBS came and went. The Dude was the only preschooler who felt the urge to perform with the older kids. He didn't notice everyone who was telling him to sit down. But he was so earnest about performing the motions that nobody cared.
Friday morning, I woke up and my wrists hurt. I figured it was from lifting Greystoke up and down all night since he was sleeping terribly. Then I got to my feet and realized that my knees hurt pretty badly too. I figured I must be sick or something. The strange fever illness of Greystoke's must have hit me a little differently.
I went to bed achey, and when I woke up Saturday I could barely move. Both knees and ankles were swollen and stiff, and I couldn't fully flex or extend them. My fingers wouldn't close and my knuckles were swollen. When I put my feet on the floor they throbbed.
I didn't see any point in going to urgent care for a doc-in-the-box so we all just went about our day as best we could. Sunday was just as bad...maybe worse. But Monday I woke up about 50% percent better, and have pretty much stayed that way since.
Everything hurts...but only a very little bit. Like I imagine it must be to be 65 years old. It's hard to get up and down off the floor, or tie shoelaces and texting hurts my thumbs.
But still, I am much much better than I was over the weekend so I am very thankful.
My sister has rheumatoid arthritis.

She has always been a little more achey than the general population, I can remember it even in high school. Now she deals with daily pain and stiffness and difficulty doing a lot of things that the rest of us 34 year olds take for granted.

When I told her the problems I was having, she said she prayed that my pain would come to her instead.
She has always been that kind of sister.
And I hope she hasn't been in any more pain lately, now that mine is better.
I'm holding out hope that mine is just some sort of strange post-viral reaction.
But it has been good for perspective. For just a couple days I was granted the opportunity to experience what she, and so many others, have experienced, The physical and psychological pain of staring a chronic illness in the face.
The day to day difficulties of struggling with tasks that I have always taken for granted.
The wondering at what I must have done to cause this.
The creeping fear of what will happen in the future, and watching your husband face the same fears.
And the reminder of the importance of finding my identity only in being a child of God and not in anything I can accomplish.
I am young and healthy, and I am that mom who sits crosslegged on the floor with her kids. I need my coffee to keep up, but I have been able to lug 3 boys and a surfboard and other gear to the beach without batting an eye. 

 When I imagine our future, it continues that way. Right up to when they are grown up and gone, and JT snd I are going to the gym together again.
 But we are never guaranteed to even have a tomorrow. Just as God keeps our babies breathing in and out, he keeps us, in all our presumed strength, breathing in and out too. And waking up pain free. With the energy to face each day. The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. And He is Good.
Maybe it is easier for me to say that, because there is a pretty good chance that this is just some strange viral reaction that will be completely gone a week from now.
 But I also believe Isaiah 26:3
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace: because he trusts in You."
 Life can be hard, and I'm not going to say that I am always calm, cool, and collected. As a matter of fact, my boys have been driving me crazy today. Even the joints are tons better, today I just feel unbelievably drained, and their energy and their running in circles around me trying to break more bones is just...unnerving.
 But I also know that I don't have to be afraid of the future. I've seen how God has always provided the strength I have needed for every trial that I have faced. It might not always be pretty...well...it's rarely pretty. But it's real, and it is beautiful.

Aquaman ended up needing a cast for his finger, since the fracture was near the growth plate.
Which was the next damper in our summer plans.
 No beach, no pool, no water play....
in Florida summertime what else are you supposed to do?
 We're waiting for his cast cover to come in the mail, which will hopefully help us survive our vacation with JT's family....at the beach.
 In the meantime, we're having to find other creative ways to burn energy, without completely withering from the 100 degree heat index.

 Greystoke is getting vertical more and more. Occasionally, he takes off walking without even realizing it.
 He has recently fallen in love with books, and brings them to me, saying "uh uh uh uh" until I read them to him.
He says "hi" now to everyone. Before I even see them, he has extended his greeting.
Today he said "book" for the first time. And yesterday "duck". He is exploding with growth, and thriving in the company of his big brothers, who, broken fingers and cancelled summer camps or not, seem to be enjoying their summer.
 It's funny, because I have always struggled as a parent with the expectation that children need constant routine. Though I like routine to some extent, I have always been flexible with mine. JT, even more so. So our family is in a constant fluid state of change, and that has often made me feel guilty, as often parenting books will convince you that you are somehow depriving your children of something if you do not have a rigid schedule.
 But the circumstances of these past few days have reminded me that sometimes flexibility is the most important thing you can teach your children. That yes, routine is comforting, but routine is never a guarantee in life.
 So sometimes, we read books in the morning, and sometimes we wait until right before bed. And sometimes we rush right out of the house, and other days, like today, I am still not dressed, 4 hours after we woke up (though I better change that soon so I can make it to our appointment).
And I can't be sure, but I think my kids are going to turn out just fine.

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