Saturday, July 30, 2016

Success

It's Saturday morning with less than 2 weeks before school starts, and we are not at the inlet as we'd planned to be. We are not worn out from Sea World like we had hoped to be. But we are worn out.
Early Wednesday afternoon, The Dude, who had slept in until 8:30 that morning, took 2 bites of his quesadilla and declared himself too tired to eat. I felt his head but he seemed ok. The fever didn't hit until about an hour later.
He was still burning up all night last night, 4 days into it, though so far he is better this morning. Aquaman started Thursday afternoon, and like clockwork, Greystoke got it yesterday. So no Sea World, no inlet. Very few outings whatsoever. And the 5 minutes I did venture out in the car on Thursday were far more eventful than I wanted to handle.
A quick run to 7-11 for a last minute dinner item. Got it and made it home in record time. I often leave my keys in the car, so I always leave one door open until I get the last passenger out but this time I didn't, because I was trying to set the bags down first. I never lock my doors.
But when I went to open the door, all the car doors were locked and Greystoke was still strapped into his seat.
No problem. My neighbor had just pulled in, I asked her to stay with him while I ran to get my spare.
Which turned out to not be in its usual spot. We had taken it in JT's truck when we went out of town and hadn't returned it yet. JT wasn't due home for another hour, and by the time I made it back out to the car, a few minutes had passed and Greystoke was already sweaty. Quite calm, a little confused as to why I was just standing there looking at him through the window, but ever patient as he always is..., and definitely sweaty.
I called 911 and the police were there in less than a minute, looking a little worried about what to do next. I thought they'd have a tool to get into the car, but their only tool available turned out to be a baton and they were hesitant to use it. Until I offered to get my hammer out of the garage and do it myself. Then they broke the window for me.
It wasn't until I pulled Greystoke out of the car that he admitted, with a whimper: "that was pretty scary!" but he was none the worse for wear. My nerves were pretty shot though.
The police guessed that the car had some sort of electrical failure since one of the doors would also not open, even after manually unlocked.
Luckily we were planning to sell the old car in the next couple of weeks to our mechanic so for now we are sporting and sweating the garbage bag look. But the whole experience was highly stressful and totally humiliating and guilt-inducing. I think I have recovered now. I think.
Greystoke definitely has, I don't think he remembers it.

That night he slept straight through the night from 7 pm-6 am without waking up once. I had just taken down his toddler bed and moved him to a twin mattress on the floor because he did not seem comfortable on the little crib mattress, and it worked like a char. Unfortunately, I took forever to fall asleep since my adrenaline was still so high and also because he has not slept through the night for 2 years so 1) my body is used to waking up and 2) I had to keep making sure he was still breathing...because going from waking up every 2 hours to sleeping for 11 hours in a row is a pretty drastic change.
But trust me, I will take it!
I haven't been pushing potty training since we're also doing night weaning but today Greystoke has declared that he does not want to wear a diaper and has stayed dry in underwear all morning. So I don't know what will happen when he wakes up from his nap, but for today I am pretty impressed.
At first I was pretty bummed that our 2nd to last week of this awesome summer had to be spent indoors with sick kids, but by today I have come to embrace the opportunity for rest. I have no qualms about letting the kids have unlimited screen time when they are tired and feverish and have headaches so that has pretty much been the extent of the last half of our week and will probably continue through today. Yesterday we had some handy men come and spend 6 hours doing repairs around the house that we have been putting off forever, and we have had a little more time to clean, though for some reason I am so exhausted that I haven't done as much as I should. So it is nice to have the house feel more in order.
Except that JT, when cleaning yesterday, put away all of the kids' toys way up high in the garage where I can't reach them...all but the Legos and one bouncy ball, and then went to work.
So we are having to get creative with what we play with today. He cracks me up,
We are also spending this week getting everything ready for school so that we can have as many adventures as possible next week when everyone is feeling better. Our only outing yesterday was to the pediatrician to get Greystoke's medical forms for school. We sorted and labeled all the kids' supplies. And today I think our one outing will be to go get some school shoes. Then we will pretty much be ready. At least physically.

So all in all things are going well. We adjusted to our change of plans. We're trying to enjoy the process. At least they are not all sick the first week of school.
I have not been feeling well at all these past few days, and I thought perhaps I had some adult version of their illness, but I realized suddenly last week that of course...it is hormones.
Weaning is hard for me. Night weaning has not been hard emotionally. I am totally ready for it. I can't believe how nice it is to have my body back to myself all night.
But hormonally, it's a doozy. I got quite depressed when I weaned The Dude, and looking back it was a very chemical feeling. I am not at all depressed right now. But I am totally exhausted, ridiculously weepy, and just have a general crawling-out-of-my-skin feeling. I am not used to these hormones. Night nursing completely protects me from the usual swings of womanhood, and it is an adjustment getting back to it.
But I'll make it.
I have been going through some of Paul's letters during my quiet time lately, but the other day I deviated and read a devotional from "my utmost for His highest" that I saw on Facebook, and I was so glad I did.
"We should never have the thoughts that our dreams of success are God's purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite.....
What is my vision of God's purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me."

What mom does not need the exhortation to stay calm, faithful, and unconfused in the midst of the turmoils of life.
Life can be anything but calming, it can totally challenge our faith. It is ridiculously confusing.
Success as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as a nurse...these things are all so important to me. I am a perfectionist. I want to win at life. But winning doesn't look like succeeding. Sometimes winning is staying calm when you lock your kid in the car on a hot summer day, and telling the policeman that it's just a window when they thank you for not being mad that they broke it. I could really care less about that car and its windows.
It's embarrassing to have all your neighbors come watch while the policeman break your kid out of the car, it doesn't feel like success.

But it can be.
Success is staying unconfused when your hormones are raging and your kids are all feverish and there is less than 2 weeks before life greatly accelerates.
 And that can sometimes require a constant refocusing, but it's possible because of Him.
"What He desires of me is that I see Him 'walking on the sea' with no shore, no success, no goal in sight, simply having the absolute certainty that everything is alright because I see Him 'walking on the sea'."
"We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself."
Today is the goal. Today is the process. Even as I struggle with watching my fertility return as I pray for the infertility of my twin sister, who is preparing to do IVF again in the upcoming month.
We all went to Doubles yesterday just to get out of the house for a few. I love that they play Christian music all the time, and while we were there, I heard a song I haven't listened to in a long time: "Help me find it" by the Sidewalk prophets. I almost teared up right there in the restaurant surrounded by my crazy boys making enormous messes.


So in order to fully indulge in that emotional moment while in the thick of my hormonal state, I listened to it again by myself this morning after Greystoke fell asleep:
"I will wait for You: You've never failed me yet. I will wait for You. If there's a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever Your will, whatever Your will, would You help me find it?"
He always has. He always does. The uncertainty, the confusion, the sadness, the thankfulness. And He can turn them all into success.
His success.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Things Above

I wish I could think of something eloquent to say, but my thoughts are swirled into the nonsense of sleep deprivation and the never quiet,
I am happy. So happy. Life is swirling and chaotic. As the coffee cup given to me by JT's mom likes to remind me....one tent short of a circus.
My "me time" moments lately involve playing with my kids. Because between the laundry and the cooking and the potty training and the parenting, there isn't much free time. And every now and then I will just drop everything, pick one kid and tell them I will play whatever they want to play for 20 minutes.
With Aquaman it is always Legos. The Dude can be much more creative. Greystoke likes blocks. And books. But we read a lot of those while he is also on the potty.
We've had another chaotic couple of weeks. Another lifeguard competition. The team didn't do as well as they have in the past, but it was just as much if not more fun with JT having less responsibility and being more available to us.
The big boys spent a lot of time with Grandma,
They were all mostly pretty agreeable on the long drive down deserted highways. They enjoyed watching the cows go by.
I enjoyed the last half of the last day most...watching JT do the American Ironman while BCOR cheered him on. He is such a tireless motivator. He is such a grinder of an athlete.
He is such an amazing husband.
He is such a sweet Daddy.
The past couple of weeks he has started to text message for the first time in his life. This is a big deal, he is really not a technology guy. He has always been much too busy never sitting still.
It's absolutely ridiculous, we have been married for 9 years, but I can't describe what it feels like to suddenly be getting "I love you" texts from him while he is at work.
Greystoke is pretending to nurse on The Dude....
It makes me laugh remembering when we first started dating and even our early married days when I would write him long and eloquent notes with all the quiet time and my ever swirling thoughts. It wasn't until much later that I learned how much work it was for him to sit still and read them. Or how much work it was to write the short replies he sent.
I love him so much. He is a hunter gatherer in a world that is now designed for farmers, but he lives his life sweetly, simply, and fully. He loves us and whatever he is doing with everything that he has. And I have been thankful for that these past several weeks.
Thankful that he no longer has to work 2 jobs. That I can look forward to his coming home every night. That we can spend full days together even if they can't always be weekends. God is so good. He has provided so beautifully that most of the time, looking back over my life, over the potholes and the wrong turns and the tragedies, I can't really believe it.
It has been such a growing summer.
It has been such a relief to see Aquaman return to his normal, albeit quirky and occasionally prickly self. There are still moments. And there is still the occasional time of tip toeing.
But Aquaman minus school is the Aquaman I know. He is not depressed, he is not anxious, he does not isolate himself.
He just finished a computer coding camp and had a really amazing time. Next week he will go to our church's 3 day camp. He has attended all of their "Totally Tuesday" events and what I have come away with is that he does just fine socially when there are more adults per children to sort of maintain order, and when he can spend time with older children. His "friends" at church are the teenage chaperones. At camp, his "best friend" was an 11 year old boy. He just doesn't know how to relate large groups of same age kids, and I don't know if that is such a crippling thing or not.
But we are hopeful for a much better year. We are talking about it a lot, and he starts freaking out a little when I bring it up, but hopefully by the time we get there he will be ready. It has really been the fastest summer ever.
We have spent a lot of time in the pool. Greystoke is still obsessed with it.
He has been growing up the most, it is so hard to believe.
We started night weaning a few days ago and it was like night and day different from night weaning the other 2. No hours of screaming and tantrums. He has been up a lot, but he doesn't fight when I tell him he can't nurse until it's light outside. He gives a few half hearted "no's" and then snuggles against me and closes his eyes. I am still tired, it's still hard. But it's almost over. My baby is growing up.
Since we are tackling night weaning, we have only been half heartedly potty training, but that is going surprisingly well, too. He has told me he had to go and then pooped on the potty several times now, and pees several times per day. It's crazy how all at once they're not babies anymore.
Have your easy baby last, I highly recommend it.
At least, I am pretty sure he is the last. But we're not even going to go there right now.
The Dude will be starting Kindergarten 3 weeks from tomorrow.
With his shaved head and his developing freestyle swim and his first ever stand up surf session today he is well on his way to big kid-dom and it's crazy how that happens. Time just keeps on marching. I can feel it. I am tired. Time has a way of swirling by and leaving gray hairs with it. But it leaves also memories and beauty and growth and a story. That story is being added to every day.
It's a story that is ok with monotony, with endless housework, with a 7 year old who starts every sentence with "Mom? In minecraft...."
I want my speech to always be seasoned with salt. I want to always have a word of wisdom. But sometimes the best I can do is smile and pretend to understand or care about a house built with magma ("but why do they call it magma? It's lava, magma is inside the earth")
Some days I just keep moving, one foot in front of the other. Some days that can be really hard, especially when I decide to go do a Trinity Fitness workout with JT for the first time in months. It's funny because I am different from most people...I actually enjoy the workout. It is the after the workout part that is hard because then I am supposed to somehow take care of 3 incredibly energetic little boys for the next week when every muscle in my body hurts.
But I did it. And since it didn't kill me, I guess I must be stronger, though to be honest, I just feel older.
We are soaking up the last of the summer. We ordered all the school supplies online so I don't have to deal with more shopping than we already have to do with 3 boys, 2 of whom learn everything with their hands, which makes shopping an adventure.
One again, I would recommend to have your visual learner last. It's a big sigh of relief.
We have many more trips to the pool on tap.
More surf sessions.
Aquaman and JT went surfing earlier this week and Aquaman had a close call.
A couple of times a week he sneaks into our bed in the middle of the night when he wakes up. He always goes at the foot of the bed on JT's side because he knows JT will let him stay, but there's just no room. As I carried him back to his bed that night, remembering how he could have been swept out to sea,I was overcome with gratitude.
We have a Good, Good Father who provides for us and protects us. He has rescued us from so many disasters that we have no idea about. He has rescued me from my fear and anxiety. He has taken so many burdens from me, gently, lovingly. There are many to come. The school year is coming, and I find myself drowning in the Word trying to prepare.
But He has Good plans for us. He has provided for us, and He will provide for us, even if things don't look like what we think they should.

"if you could only see." I keep remembering the day that God told me that, as I lay in tears of uncertainty about the future. If you could just see what I see.
Someday we will.
So I am trying hard to walk by faith and not by sight.

To set my mind on things above, and not on earthly things.
To watch what beautiful things He is going to do.