I'm still stuck in a somewhat reflective mood. Thinking on a year home. All the milestones and accomplishments our girl has made. The joys we've experienced of having a sweet daughter in our family. I often sit overwhelmed with astonishment, at how very brave she is. Bravely trying to right her world from being turned upside down.
I also have been weary and emotional. We moved last week. The weeks leading up to it were, as imaginable, hectic and chaotic. I went into it knowing it could undo her. Literally, you can watch this girl "undo". She just unravels before our eyes some days.
I'm still SO thankful for the opportunity to attend the Empowered to Connect Conference and hear Dr. Purvis speak. It gave me SO MUCH more understanding and compassion for her behaviors. I'm not sure anyone else would notice her "unravel", but I can see it. It makes me sad for her, because we've just been locked into a survival mode for 2 weeks. Knowing this change was HARD for her. And when it's hard for her, it's HARD FOR EVERYONE. What does it look like, you might ask? Her eyes dart furiously around. I know she's frantic, on high alert, waiting for the next thing to change, not wanting to be caught off guard. Not wanting to be left behind, or blindsided. She gets upset by one small thing, and then when we try to figure it out and ask her, "what do you want, sweet girl?" She franticly reaches for thing after thing. Grasping for anything and everything. Changing her answer 10 times. LOOKING LOST. She doesn't know what she wants...she just feels unraveled by the activity. It's hard for all of us. We WANT to meet her need, if only we could figure it out! I know we desperately need to get back to our "boot camp" mode. Lots of structure, lots of sensory activities. However, we also need the boxes out of our living space. Like I said, we KNOW we need to plow through and survive these few weeks, so we can get back to order (at least, structured chaos!).
We did finally get the AMAZING word that we are finally Giardia FREE!!! I was so happy that day, the lady on the phone probably thought I was nuts over being so happy to be parasite free. we waited a looooong time to hear those words.
We are still chasing answers for some other minor health issues, which led us to another Dr. The local hospital in Portland, Or, called OHSU has ONE Dr. with lots of experience with international kids. We finally took the plunge to take Lucy to her, hoping for some more answers or at least clues. We are not dealing with anything major, but persistent small issues. I'm feeling like I've dead ended with our regular family practice, and we just needed a fresh set of eyes with experience with kiddos from Africa. While I did not LOVE our experience there (we waited 1.5 hours past our appt time to see the Dr!!) I do feel like we got new perspective and some direction towards possible answers.
I know there are families with WAY more medical/physical/emotional issues than we do. And I feel for you. I know that I just get bogged down some days with the weight of it. Constant questions. Constant concerns about her health. Non life threatening, just constant and nagging. Knowing her life could be easier if she felt better. Juggling appts, multiple dr's, specialists...and too many questions still hanging and not enough answers. It's frusterating and overwhelming at times. Always wondering about things we'll NEVER know the answers to.
And then, following the great bog down days, I'm always recharged when I return to my source of grace. The Lord. I'm overwhelmed then, too, in a different way. The Lord extends grace to me for my shortcomings. For losing it when my strength and stamina run out. When I realize, it should never have been my strength and stamina I was relying on. I would do much better if I asked him each and every day to FILL me with gratitude and thanks for where we are. To let my list of things I'm grateful for fuel my day of things that are not so fun to deal with. To reflect on what gives me joy and fills me up. To allow the Lord to use those things to keep me focused on the task at hand. The Lord is always faithful to me, and so full of grace. He carries me through the hard days, and loves me when I fail. He loves me up and sets me back on me feet for a new day. I'm so grateful for that.
Sidenote: I am almost finished with a great book, 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It's a "challenge to live fully where you are". I have loved the challenge to be thankful, deeply filled with gratitude, for the itty bitty gifts in my life. To allow that gratitude to fuel my perspective on life. To let JOY carry me through challenges. To find my center of gravity in grace and gratitude for those precious gifts. As a result, I've started a thankful journal. A few snippets of things I"m grateful for:
41. Long snuggles from Lucy, asking "Stay Mama" at bed time.
42. KISSES from Lulu.
43. A new home to head to.
44. 8 miles-long run.
45. a Dry 8 miles....BONUS!
46. Naps, for me :) Sunday naps are fabulous.
47. Books I love to re-read.
49. "mama rock-ee"
50. A clean house that stuck for awhile.
51. Long lap snuggles from a reluctant child.
52. missing front teeth on an almost 7 year old.
And, to top it off, I've been BAWLING lately when I hear this song on the radio. When I'm feeling like a weakling, ready to cave, it recharges me to fight for my girl's needs. To keep putting one foot in front of the other, picking up the phone for the 10,000th call to the dr. To keep going.
I am so blessed by this life I have. I am so honored to continue to be here. To love Lucy as she bravely goes through her days, trying to find her way. I pray for strength and patience to be constant for her. I know I'm among many who are doing the same...it's humbling to be given such a gift of being a parent to such precious kids, isn't it?