Thursday, October 20, 2011


I've been thinking a lot lately about perspective.  A week or so ago (all my days run together...) I went with 3 MOPS friends to visit a pediatric care facility that houses 119 severely disabled children.  I think the term 'disabled' is now a faux pas, but you need to understand these children have extreme physical needs.  A few times I had to pray to God to stop my tears from coming out of my eyes...He did.  I had to put my mind in a different place once or twice, because to be actually emotionally present would have led to completely breaking down.  Now, because of Bailey's quarterly CHOP visits, I have seen many children incapacitated and what usually brings me to tears is not their lot, but the way my child reacts to it.  With empathy, and deep love.  Prayers, and giving her deserved stickers and erasers to them, even though they can't see or know she is giving.  But this time, my emotions were for the children...all that they would never be able to do, and their parents.  I'm still thinking about the parents.

My children can run, skip, swim, dive, jump.... their children will never set their toes to the floor.

My children can read, write, sing, communicate, say 'I Love You'....their children mostly can not.

My children can eat and drink...their children will never know the taste of a cherished family recipe.

My children see, hear, feel, understand....these parents are left to wonder what their child thinks of their world.

My children have social relationships, and will have boyfriends....these parents will never sit in a pew on their child's wedding day.

My children's bodies are healthy and able to have babies someday....their children will not be able to make them grandparents.

From morning to evening, there a million things my girls will do that these kids will never be able to.  Of course I knew this before, but it was not a presence in my mind, certainly not daily.  It would come to mind when I saw a particular child with needs....the whole "Lord, care for him/her.  But thank you it is not my child."  True, right?

Both Bailey and Taylor have a need that yes, I wish they didn't.  Bailey's future is unknown (except by her Maker!!!) with her CF, and I admit that I feel much fear sometimes.  I try not to, because I know God doesn't want me to and I pray it's all for naught, perhaps there will be a cure or perhaps her mutation is mild enough it doesn't ever manifest itself into serious lung disease and, God forbid, premature death.  I pray.  Taylor's sensory needs are manageable, and getting easier for her and Kevin and I to navigate every day.  Both of our girls are just so healthy, I just have been FILLED with a spirit of gratitude that has not left me, since my visit to this center.  I catch myself appreciating things in a deeper, more emotional way, than I had before.  The way their hands clasp together when we pray.  The fact that they can pray.  The way they shimmy their bums after a shower in their towels.  Running ahead of me in the store.  Sitting cross legged together playing with their polly pockets, using their fingers to grasp the tiny pieces.  I've been marveling at the complex way - yet easily overlooked, seemingly, effortlessly simple - their bodies work.

And still...and STILL...I have been also forgetting.  Catching myself exasperated when they're running ahead of me in the store.  Playing polly pockets before school....hurry up the bus is going to come!!  Stop dancing around, it's past your bedtime, dry off already!

To be sure, I try to be patient with my kids.  It is in my mind daily, that this little-girl time of their life is precious.  Speeding by.  If you have read my blog at all, you know this is a struggle for me!!!  I enjoy where we are now, but I mourn for days that were, even though I have already knowingly romanticized them in my mind!!!  I try to enjoy them, knowing their childlike hearts are sacred.  Knowing that they won't always want to crawl on my lap....when they do now, their long, gangly legs curl around mine, toes touching the floor.  I know they won't always want me to sing them bedtime lullies, so I try to be patient when they ask for one more.  But I get tired, I get shortsighted...I am a MOM.  Pulled in many different directions at any given time.  Feeling underappreciated, feeling spent.

But I am praying to keep my perspective, I want to keep my sight on how blessed my life is with my family.  Sure my children will need disciplined - often - and it would be a rare person that doesn't lose her cool when she happens upon a child who mistook a permanent marker for a regular one and didn't have a placemat underneath...on the carpet.   But that really doesn't matter.  My children need to learn of course, but I need to remember what really matters, what's important.

I need to keep perspective.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I thought I'd never allow it...

As I write this, my girls are watching a Barbie movie.  UCK!  I was thinking about how pre-children, especially pre-girls-influenced-by-other-girls, I thought I'd never let them have Barbies, much less 10, much less watch Barbie movies.  If we had a bigger house they might even have a Barbie house with a Barbie car parked out front.  With 2 scantily clad Barbies who have perky, big breasts compared to their skinny, tiny waists, tucked inside.

And here we are.  Why did I abandon my principles?  How did I get over my disgust of Barbie enough to let her and some of her closest pals move inside my house?!  It happened slowly I guess.

Another I-thought-I'd-never is Spongebob.  The girls saw a show playing on the tv somewhere - I forget where, maybe a dentist's office or something - and they cracked up.  A lot.  Which made me crack up.  So I let them watch a show once in a while, saying "Remember girls, we don't talk like that..." when Spongebob would say 'stupid' or other offensive comments.  Recently, I have said no to them watching that particular show at all, because I thought I could actually hear their brain cells dying.

For now, Barbie has a home here.  And Ken.  What happened to Skipper, wasn't she Barbie's right hand girl?  Anyway, I think most parents have relented on a thing or two.  What has been yours?

My pretty pretties, at Easter.  The Easter bunny gave them a Barbie.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My 2 cents about marriage

So Kevin and I recently started attending a marriage tune-up series within our small group at church.  We had become involved with this small group several months ago - there are 6 or 7 couples, most of them were good friends of ours already and the rest we have been getting to know better.  What's nice is that we have become more comfortable over these past months so that now as we're getting into more "heavy lifting" we can feel more open with sharing with the group.  Well, I'm usually always open and most of the girls in our group are too...I'm thinking about the men.

Anyway, this past week was the first video in the series.  Then we went over a handout and answered some questions and talked about it a bit.  It was a catalyst for Kevin and I to talk more with each other, which is always good.  We are talkers (yes, shocking I know!) yes, but we don't often really delve into our thoughts about our marriage, unless it's positive.   When we do talk about the negative, it seems to be before or after a fight.  Or during.  Hmmm.

This week I have been thinking about marriage - the different marriages I have witnessed, and why some have failed, some have survived but not thrived, and the few that are simply amazing.  I have a few opinions - and like this blog itself, it's JUST my opinion.

For a marriage to thrive I think -

*They need Jesus!!  Jesus is the only true model of grace, forgiveness, selflessness, love.  For a Christian marriage that prioritizes faith and following Jesus, I believe they will receive blessings.  Going to church regularly as a family, and participating in other church offered activities seems to bring couples and families closer together.

*It helps to have some money.  That is a blanket statement but from what I see/read - many couples fight A LOT about money when they have none, and when they have a lot there are other problems caused in part from it.  So some seems good.   Also, when you have some, you can enjoy the money...a decent home in a good neighborhood, paying your bills in full, having some fun with it.  When you are broke, the stress both partners feel trying to earn the money, and then deciding what-gets-paid-when, etc etc...adds a lot of stress.  Stress leads to arguing, less sex, and other unpleasantries.  They say money is a big factor in our country's horrid divorce rate.

*The couple should have very similar parenting philosophies.

*It helps to have a strong support system of family and friends that have BOTH of your backs.

*A couple should prioritize time alone, and not just 15 minutes while the kids watch a cartoon on a Saturday morning.   Date nights and getaways are priceless...but come with a this is where the some money part is helpful again.  And the strong support system so you have babysitters.

*Now this is JUST my observation, so please no offense.  AND this is true only for couples who have children living at home - but it seems to me that the more outside work both partners do, the more stress at home. SO, in an ideal situation, I would think a marriage would benefit from one partner working less or not at all outside the home.

*Along those lines, it seems that when a couple has defined "chores" or if they're both on the same page about housework and childrearing, all the better.   Fighting about who does what/when and how much sleep they get or lose, or whose turn it is to do what....these small fights add up to feelings of resentment and bitterness.  When a couple fights about who's going to do the laundry, or take out the feeling is, they are saying "I feel disrespected that you haven't done this chore, because I have done this-this-and-this and I am feeling used and abused...."

*A strong daily language of gratitude and love goes a long way.  It appears that the more respectful and loving the couple speaks to each other, the more respectful and loving they feel towards each other.

*A couple that lays together, stays together.  That's not true...but it helps.

* about a couple that prays together, plays together...

*BUT having your own hobbies and time with friends separate from your spouse is healthy too.

*If a family has a special needs child, it seems to me that for a couple to remain healthfully and happily married, they need to have MORE of everything listed above.  More money - insurance.  More support - time outs individually and together.  More attention to detail, more sweet talk between the couple, more respect, more gratitude, more more more.

*And last but not least....HUMOR!

I am sure there are many other factors that lead to a healthy marriage, and every marriage is different.  For me, I had to have the kind of man that helped me shower after my difficult labor and c-section with Bailey.  I still remember the feeling of love that came over me as he so tenderly washed me and didn't mind all of the blood and gore that came with childbirth.  For others, the wife is happier keeping everything under wraps - literally.  But finding what works is key, and feeling satisfied, heard, and loved.

Kevin and I love being married, but certainly have had too many arguments to count, and more tears than could fill a bucket.  It's a work in progress and will be until the day we die.  But I'm excited to learn more tools and ways to help our marriage along, so we don't just endure it, but enjoy it.