Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Year

Since it's been over a month that I've written anything, I thought I might want to give a little update on our family.
It's a New Year and almost Valentine's. Life has begun to settle into a tentative routine with our new family. We are getting the hang of parenting 4 crazy and active kids and one sweet, little, bed-ridden girl. Our kids are beginning to settle and even Good Lookin' who has always taken a stand-offish view with Little Mermaid has begun to warm to her.
Yesterday he walked into her room where I was sitting rocking her in the recliner and reading her Brown Bear Brown Bear. He perked up and asked if she liked that book. His kindergarten teacher last year had read it to his class and he had apparently really liked it. He walked over to her hospital bed and picked up her new little Elephant Toy and handed it to me. "She likes this mom. Let her play with it while you read to her." I nearly cried because it seems that he goes out of his way to avoid her most of the time and I had no idea that he had noticed that she liked her knew toy. I asked if he wanted to play with it with her while I read. He did a quick jerk of his head and stepped back then sat on the floor to listen and watch while I continued reading. I think he's beginning to actually like Little Mermaid! Baby steps. Baby steps.
I had my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Luke took me to Broadway on Ice with some dear friends. I could have died and gone to heaven. Dear Luke is not one who really goes for the artsy side of life. He doesn't dislike it but it's not really his thing either. So when he surprised me with these tickets for my birthday and then also told me that he'd invited friends because he knew I'd like a double date, I about had a heart attack! I could hardly wait! Best night ever! Luke's parents took our kids and Little Mermaid's Case Manager came and stayed the evening with her so that we could get out. It was nice just being out and carefree for an evening knowing everyone was cared for and we could just "be" and have a fun evening.
When I look back over our past year, I am amazed. God has taken us on an amazingly difficult and yet rewarding journey. I read an article that a friend had posted on Facebook a short time back that made me pause and think. The title was "God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle. I Guarantee it." I'd always heard the opposite: God will never give you more than you can handle, but I could never find that in Scripture. I know it says He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able but I always wondered how to explain the other phrase. There have been many times in the past 5 years as I've struggled with depression that I thought I might not be able to take another breath for fear of falling apart and cried out in utter desperation for God's help to just make it through the next 5 minutes let alone the rest of my day. And after this past fall I have definitely come to believe that He WILL give us more than is humanly possible but that's what makes it so beautiful in the midst of the desperation. We are placed in a position of absolute TRUST that He has our Best in mind. And like any parent who has to explain to a child that they truly know what is better for them and they need to trust even though they don't understand, we are like that as God's children. It may seem too hard, too long, impossible to go on yet another day with the way things are, but we can TRUST in Him and His carrying us over the hot sand is the best place to be. He's got a greater plan that what we can see.
We've been told by several people "you are amazing for what you've done. Or, you have to be great parents to do what you're doing." In reality I end many days in exhausted tears and looking at the ever-expanding circles under my eyes from lack of sleep and want to quit it all. Many days are just too hard. Little Mermaid still has the weirdest sleep patterns of any child I've ever know. Last week she went a record 30 hours awake with a 1 hour nap. I am finding that my idea of sleeping during the day since I am the one awake with her most nights, is much harder than it sounds. The rest of the world is most active at day and if I want to get anything done it most likely requires daylight. That leaves me with an average of 2-4 hours of sleep at night and sometimes even less.
We have support staff that comes to our house during the day and that has been a tremendous help. But I find that even with them helping to care for her, I still need to take care of my house, cook food for my family, take kids too and from school, etc... It's hard to do all that while sleeping. I yell at my kids just like anyone else only I have people who aren't a part of our home hear me. Luke and I fight just the same as before only now we have to be extra careful about what we say because we're both so tired. So when people say "you're so amazing," I really just want to smack 'em and prove to them were not. We've simply been called to love on a little girl who desperately needed someone to care for and about her. We stepped out to answer that call and He's taking us on a roller coaster of a journey.

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