It sure has been a rough week. I just wrote the following entry for the collab blog I write for and hope it explains my absence this week. It has been exhausting, mentally and physically exhausing and I am, during these times, so thankful that things are not always like this. I think the statement "We need rain or we would never get to experience rainbows." fits very well... I know that I won't always feel this stressed and uncomfortable in my skin, but when I get back to feeling myself, I will appreciate it all the more.
As the mother of three children with special medical needs, I can say very honestly that there are times when I just want to crawl under a rock and stay there for a very long time...or lock myself in the bathroom for several hours and hope the kids don't find me. This past week has provided me with so many opportunities to show grace and patience and, in my mere humanity, I failed. In fact, it is an ongoing joke among my friends that I have "lost" my imaginary charges "Grace" and "Patience", lately, those metaphorical children have found themselves buried in various locations. It is the perfect description for how I feel when things are so out of control in my world and there is nothing I can do to fix the situation, not even anything I can do to make it a little bit better.
This week has seen a few seizures, a medication shortage that will have devastating results if I can't get my hands on some of the med within a short amount of time and my "extra special" child getting "very autistic-y" on me - which is very difficult, a precursor to his seizures, when he's not feeling well, he gets very obsessive-compulsive and it really is awful for him, he has to roam the house, fixing things that "bother" him... moving around everything from his birth certificate (grrrrr) to the toothpaste and soap in the bathroom...making sure pens and pencils are pointing the "right way" and just an endless number of other details that don't make a darn bit of difference to anyone but him. He, as a toddler and very young school age child, would do this a whole lot, with the introduction of a new medication for his metabolic disorder (same medication, for the record, that is seeing a current nation-wide shortage), many of these symptoms have gone into hiding and generally do not raise their ugly heads more than a few times a year. So, the pacing and talking to himself and "fixing" things is a lot of nervous energy that, frankly, makes me very anxious... I know how bad it can be, and I don't want to be there constantly. I feel helpless... I can't "fix" things for him because I can't see through his eyes... these things don't bother me, so I can't fix them, but as his mother, even more heartbreaking is the fact that I feel so completely out of control that I can't "fix" him.
Most of the time, my nerves aren't shot and I can very clearly state that it isn't my job to "fix" my children. They're not broken. They are exactly as God intends and intended for them to be. Part of it is the optimist in me, part of purposeful living is realizing that negativity has no place in our world. It makes life much more pleasant to not be constantly dwelling on the negative of every situation. And in a few days, I'll be back to my usual self, I will be able to laugh off this slump in energy, I will see the role fatigue has played in my current state of being and I will be right back to just enjoying my children and not worry about having to fix them. In these "low" points, I clearly see how I don't want to live... I don't want our world to be obsessed with what is "wrong" with our world, I want to make the very best of what we do have and live contentedly, raising my children to be the men of God that I want them to be. In the "dark" times, I have to remind myself that the light of Jesus is shining so brightly through my children... I need to be receptive and welcoming to that light. When I allow my heart to be dark, I am not only not helping my children, but I'm literally turning away from Jesus. Talk about unintended consequences!
A little over a year ago, my youngest son decided that he wanted to paint his room. We chose the paint and prepared the room for the project. Always the adventure, we set about painting. When I had had just about enough of my 5 year old little "helper", I got to the point that I felt like saying, "SAM, You're NOT HELPING!" Can you imagine how crushed my little boy would have been if I had actually said that to him? It kind of brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. We practice gentle parenting and yelling is reserved for raising my voice to get the attention of 5 wrestling boys or calling them in for dinner... so the mere thought of crushing his sweet spirit by saying these words, when he was SO proud of himself and in his world, he really was helping, the spilled blue paint on the antique hardwood, the bright green hand print on his bed's headboard, my frayed nerves.... all unintended consequences. But I couldn't help but think... MY GOODNESS! How often does God bite his tongue and NOT tell me that I am NOT helping anything? OUCH! None of it is about me having control - and I know this - because I do believe it is all in God's sovereign hands. But in my human-ness, I internalize and rationalize and I seek to control things that are not mine to control. And when I write it out, and it is always the physical process of writing it down, speaking the words does not have the same effect on my attitude, but writing the words... a release, a calm. And not a moment too soon... I think someone just put the tube of toothpaste and hand soap in the washing machine again.