Thursday, January 31, 2013

This Is My Life ... This Is Our Life

I'm really tired tonight. Deeply Tired. My life feels bizarre lately. Sometimes I just hope I haven't truly become the hypochondriac I felt like as a child. I rarely mention my childhood on my blog. In fact, it's the ONLY thing that I have never talked about on my blog. I just haven't wanted to make waves. To hurt feelings... To go too deep. We have grown up since then. Moved on. Lived, and Learned. Forgiven... and tried to forget. Well, some of us have. Bless you for this ability. I have tried so hard. I think I will get to this point one day. Especially as I raise my children. It helps me understand where my parents may have been coming from. Why they just didn't seem to get it. To get me. And why I just could not get them. I see more clearly now how we all have our struggles. Our Oddities. Empathy is a beautiful thing. Christ has Empathy. I am striving for this understanding. This Love.

Honestly, I had no idea that I was going to write what I just wrote when I sat down. As I said, I am deeply tired. My children are growing up so fast. Every day flies by. By baby is growing up and this makes me sad. But most of the time I am so grateful for the speed. Just to get through Leif's schooling, this time alone. That is the current light at the end of the struggle. But I am no longer naive enough to believe that life will suddenly turn blissfully easy the day after his graduation. It will just be a different Great and a different Hard. And a different Journey. Looking back at the latest Lesson. And ever-Challenging.

My days seem to be filled with so many strange things. I feel like it has all come on within this last month. I have no idea why I feel this way. This has always been our life: Children making amazing patterns and stacks with their toys, waking up throughout the night screaming in terror only to have no memory of the chaos in the morning, and sleep walking. My children covering their ears when they hear a vacuum, passing out from a skinned knee, and shrieking at the sound of a violin are just things we plan ahead for and warn teachers about. The reality that my children prefer a WWII documentary over Disney and that one child will go into hysterics while watching the Backyardigan's is just our family's normal.

Saying things like "Find your space!" -  "Don't lick the remote!" -  "Watch out for the cart!" - "Have your taste buds changed?" -  "Don't climb on their couch!" - "Sometimes the answer is No, and that's OK." - "Yes, there are two light bulbs." - "Yes, there are two... two... two..." - "Oh yes, actually I can hear..." - "We have to wash your hair!" - "Remember there are right and wrong times to keep telling your story or ideas, this is the WRONG time!" - "Go jump on the trampoline!" - "OK, you need a drink, so you?..." - "Listen to your body." - "No, I don't know the size of a queen bee." - "I'm sorry the toilet might be dirty, it is the only one there and you need to use it." -  "Go play a game in your head." - "Find your teachers voice." - "Turn the game (in your head ) off!" - "Get off the table!" - "Plans Change, and that's OK!" - "Sit in your chair!" - "You have to count down before you hit lift off." - "Are you with me?"  "Did you really chew up that toy?"

This is my life. Every Day!  And so much more.

Despite the challenges and the strangeness of my life I have found that I love my children more and more every day. I see now that I have been prepared for this calling as their mother for as long as I can remember.    They are mine, and I am theirs. And this is our life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

By My Side

Tomorrow marks one week since we returned from our amazing journey across the country in our Mini Van (lovingly dubbed Violet while on our journey.)  I knew that we would hit the ground running the moment we returned home. And we surely have.

Leif returned back to school in Flagstaff yesterday. We have three more months of the student life before we graduate into the .... what should I call it? Professional world? Career world? Normal Living? Setting Down Roots (finally) Stage? All of the above, I guess. Either way, we're counting down the months, weeks, days, not quite the hours yet:) But Close.

Last night marked one of the saddest nights of our journey as a separated family. However, as I reflect upon it, I can't help but notice the tender mercy of the Lord in the timing... I was able to get the boys all down for bed IN their OWN beds at bedtime. This was an accomplishment in itself. Caleb struggled as I laid him down. He desperately wanted to sleep in my bed. I had a thought come quickly to my mind that I know was not my own. I quickly made my way to the bathroom where I hang my nightgowns and snatched my most recently worn gown. I wrapped it around Caleb's shoulders and asked him what he smelled (loaded question I know;) I was thrilled when he answered that he smelled me.:) Exactly what I was hoping he would say. I then reassured him that I was always with him and if he missed me he could just snuggle into my nightgown and I would be there even more. And by golly, it worked!! He slept in his own bed the entire night!! That was the first success story of the night. I would be amiss not to mentin it. But not to worry, I will get back to the sad moment (although I'll give you a spoiler and let you know it has a happy ending too:)

Anyway, as I was saying, I felt sad last night first because Jakob had a series of three night terrors last night. He's had them ever since we returned from our trip. They are really disturbing and I spent the remander of my evening pondering and researching how we might help him through these times in his life when they pick up in frequency. I finally forced myself to go to sleep with the hope that I would make it through the night uninterrupted.... Not to be.

 I was in a deep sleep when out of nowhere I was ripped from my slumber with JJ throwing his bedroom door open (that just happens to be at the foot of my bed) and sprawling  himself onto the floor in a rage. I immediately recognized that I was in for a struggle. I also instantly knew that my baby was NOT calling out for me to comfort him in his over-stimulated helpless state. He wanted his Papa! And Papa wasn't home. This was the scenerio that I had feared would play out in the first months of Leif being gone. Gratefully, so very gratefully, they never came. I was such a wreck then, I couldn't have kept it together if my kids missed Leif as deeply as I did. But my baby missed his Papa now and my heart was breaking at the image before me. JJ was inconsolable. He couldn't be touched, soothed, or helped. He had grown very attached to Leif over this last month. Leif helped him through his rough spells. Leif soothed him and took away the frustration and made it better. And now it was back to being up to me make it "all better".

And that's when the tears started to flow. My sweet boy was acting out exactly how I have felt many a time during these past nine months. I have grown over the time Leif's been at school and have come to accept that this is what it is, and I can't change it no matter how I want to fight it. But I still miss the Love of My Life, and now my babies were finally showing their sadness too. With tears rolling down my cheeks I turned to the only One who could possibly give me a way to calm my baby, my Father in Heaven. And as a whisper in the night I was reminded of now what I see as another tender mercy. Leif had forgotten his pillows when he pack up. They were sitting on our bed, right where he had last slept on them. I scooped up my raging little one and grabbed his binky and took him over to our bed. I laid him down onto his Papa's pillow and reminded him of where he was sleeping. Without a second thought my precious little boy snuggled down into his Papa's pillow, placed his bink into his mouth, and all was well in the world again.

My children are blessed with a very unique perspective of the world around them. They can hear more then what most people hear. They can feel more intensely then the normal person, they can smell deeper and relate those smells to whom and what they belong to like only few can. My babies are blessed with much, and they struggle with an equal intensity. I am forever grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord that remind me that Leif and I are Not the only parents raising these special children. Their Father is ever-mindful of them. He knows them intricately. How very grateful I am to have him by my side on our journey.

Friday, January 04, 2013

A Journey Worth the Sacrifices

We are coming to the end of an Amazing journey!! When we decided to take on "the journey", we worried that it might be not be possible. However, some how, miraculously, the journey has been possible... Hard at times: Yes! But So Very worth the sacrifices!

On Sunday December 2nd we found out that a dear family member who lives in North Carolina had become very ill. Exactly one week later on December 9th our little family pulled out of our driveway in our mini van to begin the journey to North Carolina to help our family in need.

By the time we pull back in to our driveway in Arizona we will have traveled over 6000 miles. We have driven through 9 different states. We will have stayed in 8 different hotels. And we will have driven close to 100 hours together. Incredible!  

It took us five days to get to North Carolina. We spent 17 days there. During that time we were able to visit with family that we haven't been able to spend time with for years. We cared for this family along side my good parents who also traveled (from Missouri) to help. It was a very good thing that we were all together to help, support, and entertain each other. And what a blessing to have the space for all of us to live together comfortably! North Carolina was beautiful and the time there was a blessing. It was far from easy! In fact, it was flat out hard! But I wouldn't change the decision we made to go for a minute. I don't think any of us would. There were many great memories made and lessons taught and learned by all.

We pulled out of North Carolina on December 29th and headed toward our future "home state" of Missouri. Our goal for stopping in Missouri was to visit family. But to also meet with a recruiter at the hospital (Mercy) that Leif will be working for in MO after his graduation. We were also on the look out for our potential neighborhood.  I found it very interesting that while traveling through so many beautiful states none of them brought me contentment until we drove into Missouri. This is where we are supposed to end up. It will be incredibly hard to leave our family and friends in Fredonia. But I am grateful for the peace I feel about moving to Missouri.

We have spent 5 days here in Missouri. Leif and I were able to go to his meeting thanks to Grandpa Hunt and his willingness to take care of the boys for an entire day. He took on the adventure with gusto and took the boys out to a Burger King with a playground and he even changed a messy diaper!  He won Awesome Grandpa points for sure!! Grandma was sad that she missed out on the fun. Unfortunately, she got a stomach bug that kept her in bed!:(

Today we stayed in one place (my uncle's beautiful home that the family's dubbed the "Westwood's Bed and Breakfast") and we spread the word that we would provide the food if everyone else wanted to provide the company. Gratefully, our plan was a great success! We ended up having a great time filled with visiting, games, and food!!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the last leg of our journey. We will head out homeward bound. We will be home in 3 days on January 7th (my birthday:) . That will make our journey almost exactly one month long. Truly Incredible! 
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