Monday, November 29, 2010

The start of the road

Once upon a time we all walked on the golden road. It was a fair highway, through the Land of Lost Delight; shadow and sunshine were blessedly mingled, and every turn and dip revealed a fresh charm and a new loveliness to eager hearts and unspoiled eyes.

On that road we heard the song of morning stars; we drank in fragrances aerial and sweet as a May mist; we were rich in gossamer fancies and iris hopes; our hearts sought and found the boon of dreams; the years waited beyond and they were very fair; life was a rose-lipped comrade with purple flowers dripping from her fingers.

We may long have left the golden road behind, but its memories are the dearest of our eternal possessions; and those who cherish them as such may haply find a pleasure in the pages of this book, whose people are pilgrims on the golden road of youth.

The Golden Road: 
Lucy Maud Montgomery 

 This excerpt has always spoken to me.  Most people know L.M.Montgomery only for Anne of Green Gables.  But I would dare anyone to read The Story Girl and The Golden Road and not tell me that they far out-weight dear Anne.  I had a mostly delightful childhood full of dreams and golden delights.  The road was clear at that time, full of promises and adventures not yet known.  I, like the narrator of those books have left the Golden Road.  But I feel strongly the need to dust the road off and bring it back for my children.  They are just starting after all; their lives are brimming with promise.  The excitement bubbles up in me new and fresh when I think about it! 

I was rather jolted in the transition from childhood to teenage-ness.  It happened with me kicking and screaming trying so hard to grab onto childhood as much as I could, angry at the world for forcing the joy out of my life.  After all, how can there be joy without child-like hopes and dreams?  Coincidentally, there were other sorrows in my life at the same time.  Beloved friends moved a world away, babies in my house made for exhausted parents unable to do anything other when what lay before them (which I understand fully!) and being so incredibly lonely.  I saw people other then my family only twice a week and had days where I didn't leave the house at all aside from my walks.  I remember at the time going on long long walks, having to force myself to turn back home.  My home was my prison.  I couldn't get away, I longed for people - but it was years before they were provided. I can remember begging to go with my mom to the grocery store just to get AWAY. 

Then I turned 18.  College was like a dream.  I had people all around me, and plenty to do!  Boredom I believe is my nemesis.  And I had many many years of it!  So to finally have classes to go to and homework to complete?  People to hang out with that had similar interest as I?  It felt like I finally had purpose, like the world had finally turn back to color!  It had truly been gray since I had left the golden road. I admit I had feared it would stay that way. 

Where am I going with this you ask?

I admit a new life always makes me look back and reflect.  You see the golden road starts now.  And it is my job as a parent to make sure it starts right.  I think I have done ok with the first two, so now the planning starts for the new one.  I find myself getting lost just in daydreams, thinking whether it is boy or girl, I will start a conversation in my head about when the new one is born...hoping while speaking to myself about it the name will naturally jump into my head.  I know this new one has been named already, I just haven't discovered what it is yet.  And while currently the thought of drinking in fragrances aerial and sweet as a may makes me a little nauseous...I feel almost ready to burst with excitement!  Excitement for a new road that is now being formed, a new life that has already been blessed, a new personality that is already being formed.  New stories, color, beauty and joy. 

You see we only get to walk the golden road once on our own.  But oh!  We get to walk alongside it again with each of our kids!   Remember the wonderful feeling of Christmas?  I so vividly remember losing it, waking up on Christmas and just wishing I could go back to bed.  After all, it is just a normal day.  I remember crying alone on Christmas Day because I feared that magic was gone forever.  But guess is back a 1000 times over!  Why?  Because while my kids walk this road I get to walk with them!  Who would have guessed?  What an amazing gift!    

My personal journeys had purpose.  I have said before that if I had not experienced such loneliness in my youth I may not have been able to be home with my kids without going crazy.  When I first got married I experienced more loneliness.  I didn't find true friends for many years.  But it made me so thankful for my amazing husband, so thankful for family. 

I feel like now I am living in a time of plenty.  I'm sure I will go through other droughts.  But for now?  I feel so incredibly blessed by those around me.    I wish plenty for my kids.  I know they will experience journeys of their own.  After all, the Golden Road is not without it's share of rocks!  But I am doing my best to prepare them in any way I can - and I have faith God will do the rest.

For this new child?  I am praying peace.  Perhaps it is in my attempt to not have another baby like Ayla.  I love her very much, but oh please God give this child peace!  Perhaps it is for my own sake.  Either way, I can so easily see the road's head. It is covered as of now with wild brambles that have to be cleared away.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that they are brier roses protecting a sleeping beauty ready to burst forth into fragrant blooms the moment the time is right....hopefully at that point I will be able to bear the aroma?  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our adventure...

This post will most likely be written in sections, so forgive me if it appears to be bits and pieces of my days and emotions.

I will start with a story.  The story technically starts 10 years ago when my wonderful amazing husband and I met.  But I will fast foreword to 5 years ago when we were expecting our first child.  Now, because this could become the longest post in blogging history (I wonder what the longest post was…) I shall attempt to skim over this foreword part as fast as I can – especially since I am sure most of you have heard these stories before.  But I have to revisit them you see to get the full effect.  Pregnant with my first child, at 28 weeks I get a horrible, horrible auto-immune skin condition that leaves me covered in raised red plaques and blisters from my neck all the way to the bottoms of my feet.  I can’t walk, I can’t hold a fork.  It itches beyond explanations – truly.  Even now, 5 years later I tear up remembering it.  We don’t know what it is.  All we know is that it is auto-immune and it will respond to steroids.  I have this until my child is born 3 weeks early.  She is amazing.  Red hair and so tiny!   We all expected it to go away after delivery….it got worse.  I was on three rounds of 60mg prednesone with the spots always coming back once I would taper down to 20.  My child was 6 days old when we discovered what I had.   pemphigoid gestationis:
Funny how just knowing can give you so much more power.  Eventually I went to see a natural-pathic type doctor, and with those treatments and my body finally ready to let go I went into remission when my Taylor was 3 months old.

I could say with complete certainty at that point that Taylor was most likely going to be our only child.  The statistics showed I had a 93% chance of relapsing if I were to get pregnant again.  But amazingly God gives us this ability to forget the horrors connected with having our children.  I would say in most cases it takes at least a year to START forgetting.  My Taylor was 1 years old.  We started talking about possibly having another.  Taylor needed a sibling.  We were thinking of possibly starting to think about trying that fall, it was spring at this point.  Well, I was 4 days late – thinking there was no way.  We had been VERY careful (I was on the pill and we were using extra protection) I took a test to ease my mind.  Two lines showed themselves clearly.  I instantly burst into tears and it took me a few hours to calm myself.  There was a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty.  Ryan got home that evening and I showed him the test.  “Ok.” Was all he said.  We got to do it all again.  

Amazingly I had what is considered a rare “skip” pregnancy.  I did not get PG with Ayla.  However, around my 8th month one evening I had an odd experience.  It was late in the evening.  I was talking to my husband and all of a sudden I was having trouble speaking.  I would try to say something and either stop mid sentence or say the completely wrong word.  It was as if the connection between my brain and my mouth was no longer functioning.  I laughed it off and decided I must be tired so I went to bed.  I can remember lying in bed thinking how could I ever have thought this whole think-something-and-say-it was easy. It took all my focus just to get words out.  All of a sudden, my right hand started to get numb and tingly.  It went up my arm all the way to my face.  I went into the bathroom expecting my face to be drooping though it looked fine.  I felt as if I had just been to the dentist and had my face numbed.   As quickly as it came all of a sudden it started going away.  I could talk again and I felt fine.  So I went to bed thinking I would call the doctor first thing in the morning.  Of course when I called I was yelled at for not going to the ER.  I got a echo on my heart and an MRI showing nothing.  They concluded that I had had a trans ischemic attack or TIA; a mini stroke cause by a blood clot in the brain and put me on aspirin for the rest of my life.       

We knew beyond the shadow of a doubt when we had Ayla that she would be our last.  The risks were to high (do you see where I am going with this?).  And although in my heart I had always wanted three kids…we both knew that two was enough.  I didn’t want to put my husband through that stress again and he didn’t want me to risk my life.

Now my kids are two and four.  Good ages, pretty easy ages in my opinion – well, in comparison to the baby stage!  Sometimes, they will go off into their room together and just play!  It is amazing, truly amazing! 

God has a funny sense of humor.   You see, things can never be easy.  He likes it when we continue to push ourselves out of our comfort zone.  He likes to show us in so many ways how we can think whatever we like…but in the end his plan reigns supreme.  It started about a year ago.  I started getting inklings that God had a different plan then the one we had so carefully crafted.  You want to see God’s new plan?

Can you see it?  There is no doubt in my mind that this is what God wants.  Why?  Because there was no doubt in my mind that we were done.  And then out of the blue there was no doubt in my mind that there was another baby for us.  And then there was no doubt in my husbands mind.  THIS is God's plan for us now.
I am due July 21st - so that means at the moment I am still only 5 weeks.  But I was never one for keeping this a secret.  Yes, I am scared.  It is still so early and so much could happen.  But if anything were to happen I would need the prayer and support of my family and friends.  So I tell you all early so you can start that prayer now!  

There is a lot of fear associated with pregnancy for my husband and I.  So what I ask of you beloved readers is your prayer.  Prayer that this little one will stick!  Prayer that the pregnancy will be happy and healthy.  Prayer that the baby grows so perfectly and so healthy so he/she can be giggling in my arms by this time next year.  Prayer for my husband, that there is no fear and he has the energy to deal with a pregnant wife!  Prayer for my babies that they will welcome another sibling with open arms.  And prayer for me.  Prayer that I don't stress to much and that I can simply rest knowing this baby is protected.  So far I feel excellent.  No sickness, no extra tiredness....yet.  But it is still early....

Thank you all for everything - lets go on another adventure together!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A live coal in the sea

"but all the wickedness in the world which man may do or think, is no more to the mercy of God then a live coal dropped in the sea."                  - Madeleine L'Engle

But how can you explain this to a 4 year old?  We have been battling fear and anxiety lately.  And it does feel like a battle.  The littlest things are life staggering to my little big girl.  She loses a sticker?  "But what if I never ever find it ever again!?!?" and tears inevitably follow.  I laugh that my child has literally cried over spilled milk.  Well, laugh may be the wrong thing...but you understand.

One example of my beloved child - I decided that the table in our dining room was too big.  It took up too much space and wasn't needed at that size for two adults and two kids.  So, thinking I would fix my space problem I took the center leaf out of the table making it round.  It is still plenty big enough for us, and now it is not annoying to attempt to get around it.  Well, my child discovered the table had changed, and she cried hysterically for an hour (my fault for not warning her?).  Same table, same spot, just a different size and it rocked her perfect world.  To say the least, her mean mother had no pity for her.  You see, I have always been pretty steady on the emotions scale (except when I am pregnant.  Then I cry at Sears commercials) but my beautiful daughter?  I believe Mt. Everest might possibly begin to explain it.  This typically will result in me giving her about 3.2 seconds to cry and then it is me telling her that I have heard enough.  This is a little thing and we need to get  If she does not get control then she needs to go to her room to cry there.  I don't want to hear it any more.

I have no patience for meaningless fits of emotion.  Ok, I'll admit, I need to get better at this.  I feel like a bit of a failure in this area of parenting.  I am not what one would call a sympathetic parent - well, unless my child truly gets hurt or is really sad about something that matters - then I am all hugs and making it better.  But for heavens sake, when I have just changed the size of the table and we are acting as if the world is over?  Other kids have to deal with much harder things!!  Of course the story of the table doesn't end there.  About a week later my dear child was on her way home from an outing and remembered all of a sudden that she was still sad about the table.  Now I REALLY didn't have any sympathy for her!  I barked out a "Taylor!  This is a little thing.  You know your best friend?  Her daddy had to go away for work.  And he wont be back until she is almost 5 and a half.  THAT is a big thing!  It is ok if we need to cry about little things sometimes.  But we need to get control FAST.  We need to save our real tears for the big things.  Do you understand?  You need to get control NOW!"  Ok, I admit I may have been a bit harsh.  But for goodness sake!  Ok, now I have become one of those moms.  The "Eatyourpeas!TherearestarvingkidsinAfricathatwouldbehappytogetthosepeas!"  Kind of mom. Hee hee, my spell check loved that last sentence!  Messing with my spell check makes me happy.

Today Taylor is getting the star treatment.  Getting sick in the middle of the night means a free pass for movies and books all the next day.  Today I have lots of pity for her. 

I guess as her mom I have been seeking to discover where to draw the line of pity.  It feels like such a fine line to draw.  I don't want to squash her emotions.  I don't want her to start inventing ailments just to get the attention she thinks she wants.  However, I also want to make it clear that dramatics are not to be tolerated.  I want her to have a little perspective when it comes to having REAL heartache...but I don't want to expose her to things that are inappropriate for small minds and eyes.  I work so hard to make sure she gets the one on one time with mom that she needs.  So she is not wanting for attention. I try to give her as many choices in life as I can so she feels some measure of control.  I try hard to shelter her so that there are not evil things in her mind needing a release. But we also try hard to expose her to age appropriate things so she can build a little tolerance.  When I was teaching, I had some kids in my extended care that informed me that they were not allowed to watch the Disney movie Peter Pan.  These kids were in first grade, that means they were 6 years old.  I am all about censoring, but in my opinion that is a little overboard.   They also could not handle Veggie Tales that had a little conflict in it, they would beg me to turn it off.  These kids tolerance for anything not shiny and covered in rainbows was zero.  I don't want that - we need to be able to handle life.  But how much handling of life is reasonable and how much is just a 4 year old learning?  God give me wisdom!

I think I need to bring God into the equation more often.  I sometimes get so tied up in the after effects of her frustrations that I forget to find out what the root of this is.  For instance, it is not the size of the table that matters.  It is that something changed and she was not prepared for it.  Any ideas on how this could be a spiritual lesson?  I admit I am at a loss. Perhaps we just need to read more Bible stories and learn a little more about some hard things that people went through - and how they came out of it with God on their side.  If she could see more success stories like that?  Perhaps she would be more inclined to think on the positive instead of focusing so hard it hurts on everything that has gone wrong in her eyes.   Perhaps I need to be more sympathetic?  Perhaps I need to gain perspective.  After all, in the grand scheme of parenting, this is a small thing. 

I guess her and I are learning together.  Yay I think Taylor is feeling better!  She was just talking to Steve on Blue's clue's answering his questions.  Good sign!  I think this will be the last show for the morning.  Perhaps we will set up a chair outside for her and she can get some air and sun.  That always makes me feel better.  Say a prayer for my sick Taylor.  And may all your tears bring joy in the long run!