Monday, December 31, 2012

A Prayer For The New Year

Back when I was pregnant with Caedmon and we were waiting to see what his disabilities would look like and what we would be facing, I had a lot of fear. I was realizing in a new way that life was not controllable, no matter how hard I pretended it was. At any moment something so tiny could happen to throw your life whirling in a different direction: a car accident, a fall on the ice, a fire, a baby with a combination of special needs.

As I would go in at night to check on Damek and cover him up, since he would inevitably have kicked off all his blankets, I would stand in his room watching his peaceful, sweet face, and think about how much I wanted to protect him and how little I could actually control in this life.

One night the thought popped into my head of the Israelites in Egypt. Maybe we had just read that story for worship so it was fresh in my mind. Anyway, I thought of the families sprinkling the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes so the destroying angel would pass by, and their firstborn would be saved. I thought, 'That's what I want for my firstborn. That destruction would pass over him, that he would be saved.' So I prayed, 'Dear Lord, please let the blood of the Lamb cover Damek. Please let the blood of the Lamb be on the doorposts of his heart and mind. That only things that are from You would be allowed in.'

I felt so much power in that prayer. It felt like the Holy Spirit was leading in it. That this is the exact prayer I should be praying for my child.

I started to pray it every night, not only over Damek but also over Caedmon, still growing inside me. I started to lay my hand gently on Damek's chest or back or just hovering over him as he slept. It continued to be so powerful to me. So, I started to pray it over Adam and I, then over our extended families, our church families, our friends, our neighbors, anyone who asked us to pray for them. It continues to be my nightly prayer.

This past Thanksgiving, as we were visiting in her home, my mom and I started to talk about how difficult parenting is. We talked about how often we can feel like we are failing. How often we make bad choices, say the wrong things, get caught up in the emotions of the moment, act rashly. My mom shared with me that she used to pray that God would protect her children from herself. That she knew she was messed up and didn't want to pass on her disfunction to her kids. She said, 'I prayed the blood of the Lamb would cover you.'

It brought tears to my eyes. I don't remember her ever praying that as a child. I remember her praying a lot, usually that God would help her find her lost keys or checkbook or various and sundry kitchen items but never that prayer.

I love when God leads multiple people down the same path. It's validation that the Holy Spirit is trying to do something, working on something significant. And I love it when He brings something to the forefront in an obvious, a ha kind of way.

So, as 2012 comes to an end, I pray this prayer for all of us in the coming new year. That the blood of the Lamb would cover us. That the blood would be on the doorposts of our hearts and minds in this new year. That only what is of God would be allowed in in 2013. Regardless of the crazy world we face, the difficulties and struggles, the joy and amazement, our hearts and minds may rest peacefully and squarely in the sure, steady peace of our Father.

May the blood of the Lamb cover you.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Overwhelmed

This week I was reminded of how overwhelmed I felt the first few months of Caedmon's life. There were so many different doctors, appointments, instructions, it was nearly impossible to keep everything straight. I remember Adam coming home from a doctor's appointment showing me a new medication we needed to give him and the directions for it and I couldn't understand anything he was saying. His mouth was moving and all I could hear was the sound of an adult on a Peanut's cartoon, 'Wah wah wahwah wahwah.'

Now I have two kiddos with lots of doctors, appointments, exercises, stretches, medications, and I do pretty well. Not perfect. There are days I wish I had an assistant, but we do alright. Caedmon had to go in to urgent care, we got a new prescription for our family's first run-in with strep, and I didn't bat an eye. New medication, no problem. It's amazing how far I've come in four years!

I feel like the reminder was a little sign of God telling me He's here still. Walking this walk with us still. Because this week we also talked to Caedmon's doctor about ordering his first wheelchair.

You know how hard it is to even type that? I don't want that to be true. In the back of my mind I've wanted to believe that he would never need one. That somehow he would grow strong enough to laugh in the face of the doctor's and say, 'Spina bifida, bah! I can do ANYTHING!'

But the truth is, he can't fit in a stroller much longer when he gets tired of walking through the zoo, or a museum, or a mall. He doesn't even really fit in it now, we've just been trying to hold off the inevitable.

Another truth we learned this week is that Caedmon is expending 2 1/2 times the energy of another kid his age anytime he gets up to walk, moves around to play, or just goes about his normal day. I'm amazed at his tenacity because you would never guess that by watching him.

So, I'm hoping that this thing that right now seems like a chain tied around his ankle will begin to appear to me as it really is, something to help him become more mobile and independent. I have so many fears. But then again, I had so many fears when he was born and, wow!, watching him, knowing him, loving him has exploded them right and left.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nursing and mourning

Asher and I worked hard to learn how to nurse.  It took 4 months and a lot of struggle and disappointment to finally get to the point where he would latch on and get a good amount of milk.  

4 months!  

Sometimes I thought to myself, 'Why am I doing this?!'  

I had initially told myself that I would try for 8 weeks and see.  If we weren't even close, I would count it as a fail and move on.  But I got to 8 weeks and I just couldn't stop trying.  I knew the moment when he would really get it and take off flying was just around the corner, I just needed to hold on a little longer.

One day he did just get it.  I felt so high!  This is it!  But he couldn't do it very often.  He would nurse really well first thing in the morning and then be totally exhausted for the next 2 or 3 feedings.  I had to accept that once a day seemed to be our norm, take it as a win outside my expectations, and move on with our lives.  I had other children to think about, other events happening in my life.  This was my reality.

That was when he was 4 months old.

Asher is now almost 11 months old.  My plan had been to continue nursing him once a day for as long as he wanted to but stop pumping when he turned a year old.  

I have been pumping 8-10 times a day for almost 11 months!

I just wanted to write that in black and white because I feel like that's a really big accomplishment.  Just so you don't think I'm some kind of martyr, I must admit that I would have quit long ago if Asher had been able to take formula.  Don't think I didn't try.  But enough sessions of him puking until every drop of formula was out of his body led me to believe that it was not the best for him.  And I didn't want him to end up in the hospital again.  So, I kept pumping.

Now, here we are.  Almost 11 months.  And for the last week Asher has refused to nurse.  If I try to force it, he bites me.  If you have never pumped 8-10 times a day every day you do not know how tender you're nipples become.  I have had semi-permanent purple and red bruises on them for nearly 11 months.  They do not harden up or become desensitized.  Biting is very painful, even without teeth.

So, now what?  It seems I have come to the end of an era before I was ready for it to end.  I am having to grieve the loss of this thing I have worked so hard to reach.  It is really hard.  The 3rd morning of no nursing I cried.  I'm tearing up as I type this.

I realize that many people cannot understand why this is such a big deal.  Kids grow up, they change, these are things we want to happen, this is part of parenting.  This is true.  Probably the biggest thing for me in the mourning is giving up my expectation of how things would end up.  Letting go of where I thought we'd be.

This parenting thing is hard.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Christmas Program

I have always loved church Christmas programs.  I love seeing the kids up front, taking the lead.  I love to see what comes out, unscripted.  I love to have music take the forefront and, for some reason, many churches only feel comfortable doing that when kids are in the program.  My kids do much better through the service and are much more interested in what's going on. And, don't tell the pastor, I'm not a big fan of sermons so a break from the norm is very welcome.  

But having MY kid in the program just makes it a million times more exciting.  I've been looking forward to today for several weeks, and not just because  it means Adam gets to sit with me. Here are some pictures and a few snippets of my wonderful oldest singing his heart out.  I love that guy!

My singing boy

So excited to see Daddy AND Asher up front to pray.

Asher helping Daddy close the service with prayer.

Caedmon excited that the service is done so he can go run with 'The Kids'

Asher all decked out in his Christmasy gear.


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Friday, December 7, 2012