Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ball, faucet, stream, light, losing it, and finding it all again.

ball, faucet, stream, light, losing it, and finding it all again. Really? That's my title? Perhaps this title will be known as the worst title ever.


This post, brewing in my mind for the last two weeks. Feels like a lot has gone down, and then it feels like nothing's happened, really. My apologies for being away so long. Ten days away from home, two weeks away from my blog. Coming back with this mother of a post. Choosing a title that would indicate the meal within was so much more difficult that I am still just not sure. dropping the ball while fixing a leaky faucet in between out of province and hospital trips while feeling rewarded through this stream of consciousness... (not to rip off Kelle Hampton, because this really is my stream of consciousness, here.)

stream of con-scious-ness
noun Psychology
  • a person's thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. The term was introduced by William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890). 
  • a literary style in which a character's thoughts, feelings, and reactions are depicted in a continuous flow uninterrupted by objective description or conventional dialogue.
This may grow to otherwise be known as the mother of all posts to date. [how will she connect a ball, dropping said ball, stream of consciousness and a leaky faucet you may ask? watch. I may not succeed, but at least it was therapeutic in trying.] 
Lots of ground to cover, so here I go. 

begin.

Somewhere along the way, I lost it.

I wasn't expecting that.

Made the trek east, across the snow-capped mountains, back to the city where each of my children drew their first breaths. Where we shared our first days and nights and weeks and months and years as husband and wife. Back to the cold, blustery place where so many warm and loving friends hold so many dear spots in our hearts and our friendships keep us warm.


It was rejuvenating to be in a place that was familiar, like crawling into a comfortable, well-worn pair of jeans, or a softened and hospitable knitted blanket, like one of my Grandmother's handmade treasures, yarn that turned hand over hand, knot over knot, fingers twisting and enticing something so much bigger out of it, a blanket that envelopes you in its acres of textured warmth. I felt a tangible sense of relief as we drew near our destination - ten hours of driving for ten days away. To know what was beyond each corner in sight was beyond comforting - I had not realized how heavy of a weight the fact that I have yet to make my new home city well known and well versed was. Now I know.

Jacob's favorite place to stop - good old Tim Horton's, in snow-covered Revelstoke, B.C.



sleeping kids... sleeping while driving... simply. lovely.
and we made it. ten hours later, we arrived at the home of these sweet blondie boys.

I managed to make a much regretted error in neglecting to pack my camera battery charger (I do this too often, one would think) - so needless to say, after I snapped some sunshiney wintery morning pics of these sweet boys inside their house in the snowy blustery city, my camera died. Steph and Russell, Victoria and Kurtis, Paul and Theresa, Katrina, Meaghan, Kim, Dean and Jenna, Travis, and the Haugan family - I wish I had photos of our time with each of you. Sigh. Got a few with the trusty iPhone.

sweet Georgie feeding and joyfully caring for Amos. your tenderness for Amos brought tears to my eyes, sweet boy.
Joel managed to figure out a way to charge the battery before we left Calgary, so I was able to get a lovely collection of photos - but only after we left. We stopped on our way back west for what was meant to be a one night visit with my brother John, his Adele, and their Jonah - a one night visit that for the kids and I turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into four days, and four nights.

Uncle John juggled eggs.
one unlucky juggled egg - John scooped it up and fried it in the pan, much to the delight of the children.
Four days and nights of fellowship, rest, camaraderie, giggles, smoothies, my children taking delight in each other, taking delight in my brother, all of us reconnecting with one another, hardcore workouts in the gym in the garage, and me reconnecting with both my brother and with myself while connecting to Jesus, being forced to drink protein drinks, sharing scripture, and reading about the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Four days of walking alongside the beautiful light of Christ shining in my brother. Those four days changed me. My brother said to me:
"whatever you pour your energy into and choose to focus on is where you grow".
Ah, those words rang so true.

notice the one or two bites out of each piece of watermelon. giggle.
Auntie Adele set up an impromptu craft time. These two were in heaven.
while these two bigger boys played mario on the computer. they (also) were both in heaven. It was so cool to see the growing relationship, respect and admiration in these boys.

and one night the kids found these light things - and asked me to take pictures. it was fun - and it was beautiful.


 
and Uncle John, my brother John - making smoothies every morning with fruits and vegetables and grains and yogurt and cottage cheese and eggs and rice milk and whey protein - we all loved them so much, I am fairly certain they are also going to become a staple in our house. John: he said he felt like he was being the fun, cool Uncle who would take the kids on motorcycle rides up and down the back alley. So he did. And they loved it. It stretched them. Isaac even got to drive a little bit by himself. I think he grew up a little bit in that moment, in a good good way.


this little muffin slept through it all.

Four days and nights of time with my children being this happy. How delighted was I to hear their giggles throughout the days and evenings with this man I am so blessed to call brother. And time with the woman my brother has chosen to be by his side. Adele, an angel who has been so much more of a blessing than she can ever know. Her quiet gentleness that all four of my babes fell in love with, her tender smile when she looks at my brother, the way her eyes crinkle at the sides with her smile when she hears something that touches her heart. Dear Adele, who sent me an email asking for my forgiveness because she felt she'd once failed me as a sister in Christ. But she hadn't.

Adele was the first person I called when we learned of our little Amos's Down Syndrome. You see, I called her first because I knew that Adele's sister had that magical extra chromosome, too. And I know that God led me to call Adele first - I know God wanted me to speak at that time with someone gentle and loving, someone who knew this wasn't a mistake. I told Adele that in no way did she fail me that day - I told her how her words that day carried me, like I was on a ship - through the stormy, scary, dark nights and days when I first grappled with this diagnosis.

Her words were "I am just so proud to call her my sister."

That simple yet powerful statement carried me gently, softly, tenderly and with such love, like I was protected from the raging sea around me for such a long time. What could have been more perfect to say? I focused and poured energy into those words, and with God leading the ship and being with me through the storm, I grew.

I love you, Adele, my sister in Christ. You are so beautiful.

I explained to her how I saw myself grow from then... to now.
At first, I mourned the loss of the baby I was expecting. I was angry, and sad. And scared.
"Why, God? Why me? You've made a mistake - I don't want this. What did I do to deserve this?"
I wanted to run away. I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening, and I wanted the baby I was expecting back.
Then I gave birth to this infant angel who changed me in so many ways.
"I love this baby, it just makes me sad when I see Down Syndrome in his face. He's so cute, but that makes me sad. I want him, but not it."
At that point, I still wanted to scoop up the baby I thought I was having and run away, but I also felt that visceral, mother bear instinctual love for Amos just as he was, and I still wanted to run away but dangit I wasn't about to leave my sweet Amos behind.

With time, and with acceptance that he was beautiful as he was, I loved him. But I still mourned. I would see other people with babies, new beautiful and precious babies, and I would cringe a bit on the inside. I would say how beautiful their baby was, and mean it! But I would feel a little bit like I had been sucker-punched - and would hear myself asking
"I love my baby - but why does she get to have a normal baby?"

Then came the glorious day where I actually actually actually fell in love with him. Completely. Utterly. No. Holds. Barred. And I realized he was the baby I had been expecting all along. I was so focused, poured so much delicious energy (with ease!) into this precious child, and grew beyond anything I ever knew was possible.

I had reached the unbelievably beautiful place where I knew I had come full-circle. I saw a picture of a friend's new grandson, and I thought "oh my goodness, he is beautiful. what a beautiful child, like my beautiful child - but I love my baby more. And he is the only one I want."

I felt that more firmly than anything I have ever felt. Truthfully.
That's why when I lost it, when I dropped the ball last weekend - I was floored. I'll get there. Hang on.

We returned to the nest and comforts of home ten days later. We returned in good spirits. The children were energized and vibrant, happy and loving, and I was energized and vibrant, happy and loving, ready to focus on and pour my energy and Christ-filled spirit into my home, my husband, our family, and new food ideas for eating clean food and making changes toward more simple living, and on and on and on.

Then that something happened that I was not expecting.

I dropped the ball.

I lost it. I dropped the metaphoric ball.

Somewhere in the weight of coming home to a hubby who was grumpy, out of sorts, maybe? I saw him feeling weighed down by something, yet again - and he rarely has the ability to articulate what is bothering him and then causing him to treat me with callousness.

Somewhere in me needing to spend an afternoon in the emergency room of the hospital with painfully inflamed gallbladder symptoms returning - ouch ouch ouch ouch - being in tears in so much pain at lunch (and I didn't even cry in labor - Joel knew I was seriously in pain when he realized that, he later told me). Maybe somewhere in the weight of me shivering and fevered and in so. much. pain. and me having to remain on parent alert to our little boys while my husband fell asleep, taking an afternoon siesta while in the emergency room with gallbladder pain... Maybe one of these things caused me to drop. the. ball.

Or somewhere in the weight of my unexpected and private internal reaction at seeing a friend's baby who is much younger than Amos, but is so much bigger, and so much more developmentally... um... developed?
Oh yes - it was all of these things. But that one was the kicker. There it is.  
I was not expecting that.
And it hurt. It made me angry. It made me sad.

Don't get me wrong. I am head over heels in love with my baby boy.
head.
over.
heels.

I can talk about him for hours. I can gush and go on and on about how fantastic and adorable and wonderful he is and how he is literally the bestbabyever, because he is! - and how it is blatantly obvious that he has God's hand written all over him - and I am completely open to talk about everything that makes up who Amos is to me. Where we've come from, where we are, and where we're going.

God, I trust You. But I need to talk about this.

I have tears in my eyes as I type this. But it is begging to come out of me. And I'm already sorry. Please bear with me.

I saw my friend's baby, holding himself up in his exersaucer. Stick straight, head up and proud, beautiful face and chubby cheeks with shining eyes scanning the faces in the room. I held this precious child, on my hip as is natural, and he sat there. Didn't slide down, didn't require extra exertion and fancy shifting and cause tension in unknown areas in my wrists trying to hold him up there because he could do it himself - unlike Amos. Amos can't do that nearly as well... yet.

I held him - and then I needed my Amos back, I needed to give that baby back to his mama or his daddy, and I needed my Amos back quickly. I snuggled him up, and felt mostly at peace. Mostly.

But the next day, for a moment - I turned into Angry girl. Sad girl. Cheated girl. Defeated girl. Those were what I found myself focusing on - and I got angry at Amos. I thought of the other baby again, and got angry again that I didn't have the original baby I was expecting. My baby with long fingers and toes, my tall, long, lean baby, my baby like my other babies, my baby who could hold up his own body by now, hold up his own head all of the time instead of just some of the time - a baby who would have been allowed to breastfeed, to be nursed by me against my body instead of this incessant pumping and bottle feeding. My baby who would be trying to crawl by now, who would be eating more foods by now, who would be sitting up by now. My baby, instead of this baby who couldn't do these things, dammit. And I cried. Sobs and sobs while no one else was looking.

I was really not expecting this. I mourned all over again, and got all sorry for myself and asked why does she get to have a normal baby? or perhaps more importantly, who don't I?

And then I stopped. I said enough.
ENOUGH.

I am not those girls. I will not pour any more energy into those thoughts, because they are not who I am. I am Laura, and among many other things, I am so so so proud to be Amos's mama. I am Isaac, Egan and Jacob's mama, too - and I love each and every one of my precious beautiful children precisely the way God knit them together in my womb.

I chose a different stream of consciousness, a different continuous flow of thought. I refocused, and turned my sweet, beautiful, giggling baby around on my lap, nuzzled my face into his beautiful, perfect, smooth and chubby neck, and said "where's my baby? that's my baby right there that's my baby right there!" - and he squealed. His whole precious body curled around my face, and he squealed, just the way he does. Ooh, that's a good, good place to pour my energy. It is delicious.

And then he said Mama.
My baby said Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma. Sure, it might sound like lah lah lah or ba ba ba ba or da da da da, but at times it is perfectly mama mama.

His little pink tongue, poking in and out, his little rosebud lips, forming the word that is my name, to him. His deep, dark, huge chocolate eyes framed by perfect, long curling lashes and his unique and fuzzy brows, his little button of a nose. He called me Mama. Over and over and over. just like all of my other babies did before him.

Oh, such nourishment for the soul! His beautiful little voice. Oh Lord, I cried salty tears into his neck, ashamed for feeling anything but perfect love for his perfectly sweetly beautifully tender self... ever.

And in that moment, the anger was displaced. Completely. And it was appropriately replaced with only love. Perfect love. He is my baby. He is the only baby I want. He is the beautiful baby boy I was expecting. I refocused on him. Look at him! He is perfect. Deserving of only perfect love.

By this world's standards, Amos has a birth defect. By heaven's standards, Amos is perfection. When I focus on him properly, Amos truly is perfection. Just as he is.

This shifted my thinking, giving me a new stream of consciousness to pour my energy into, and a new area for growth. I love Amos with love a little bit like the love my Father in heaven has for me, and for all of us. Except that His love far exceeds any love I can offer. I am not perfect. I am so far from perfect. My impatience with my children, my impatience and annoyance at my husband while taking me to the emergency room or my criticisms at home, my need for control - but in it all, with my flaws - I am still perfectly loved. Perfectly worthy of love. That's how Jesus sees me. Perfectly worthy of love, and perfectly loved, even with all my flaws.

Oh and wait? What's this? 

When I focus on my husband properly, that's how Jesus sees him. Joel, my husband. Perfectly worthy of love, and perfectly loved, even with all his flaws.I have said before and I'll say it again. I am certain God wants more of me. God wants all of me. And He wants me on my knees. Always.

And again through our precious little child, God was leading me to a richer, more full place of love and contentment and patience and joy - in the man He has blessed me with as my husband, my partner, my soul mate and my other half. My friend. 

I came home from my brother's peaceful house wanting to change what I could to make my home more peaceful. 

A continual dripping on a rainy day   
and a quarrelsome wife are alike. Proverbs 27:15

Sigh. In always wanting to be right - Joel, forgive me for being impatient with you. Please forgive me for being a nagging, dripping faucet. Forgive me for focusing on and pouring a bulk of my energy into seeing your flaws. (disclaimer: please don't use this as fodder against me - I'm making myself very vulnerable here)
I stumbled across more of this truth here - never mind what Joel may need to do, because it is not my job to change him. "in a world that holds so many things fighting to seduce my husband’s heart away from me, I need to fix that leaky, dripping faucet and make it an easy choice for him." (from the ministry of the time warp wife, 2010).

And there. I did it. ball, faucet, stream, light, losing it, and finding it all again. Did you follow me through my stream of consciousness? I hope so.

and moving on.

On Valentine's Day, I was so generously awarded a Stylish Blogger Award from the lovely and talented Heather and Laila over at www.significantlysimple.com. This is my first award and I am completely honored and oh. so. flattered. Thank you, so much. I echo your luscious sentiments back to you beautiful people.

So, here are the rules: 

1. Thanks and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Give the award to 15 other bloggers
(although I think some of them are so busy that they won't have time to be able to follow 'the rules' themselves. no big deal.)

7 things about me:

1. my hair is nearly completely gray. I got my first gray hairs when I was twelve. I had a white streak at the front in my early twenties. I color my hair back to nearly its original color more often than once a month. *gasp*
2. I love shoes, jeans, sweaters, scarves and handbags, not necessarily in that order.
3. I have a love of the ocean in my veins.
4. I have never stepped foot off of this continent. That does not mean I am not a traveller.
5. When asked, my husband says I am wise, beautiful, determined, honest, hardworking and  stubborn.
6. Many days, I think my desire to go to medical school is honest. Other days, I think my desire to go to medical school is simply pride. And then sometimes when I shut myself off and really listen, I can hear God calling me to be a midwife. But in addition to med school? or instead of? (oh, but that danged pride)
7. I have a yearning to live in the country in a house where I paint and decorate and build and organize, grow clean food, have lots of company and lots of children, and homeschool them all. Barefoot, maybe a bit dirty, but smiling, in a home that is clean, warm, happy and prepared. That's how I picture us all.

any surprises there?

And now what you've all been waiting for, the 15 blogs that I enjoy either regularly or have enjoyed a time or two - blogs deserving of a Stylish Blogger Award are (and in no particular order):

















mothers in medicine

And I leave you with this closing thought, borrowed from a sweet little sign over the mountains at Uncle Paul and Auntie Theresa's house. And with this thought, I am off to snuggle into my soft bed with my babies and my man. 

Happy March.

7 comments:

  1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You are lovely.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your vulnerable heart, Laura. Amos is exactly where he should be. I have a hunch there may be more moments in the future when you feel like you've 'dropped the ball'. You wouldn't be human if there weren't a few along the way. But if you come out so beautifully in the end, has the ball been truly dropped? Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful post, Laura
    Thanks again for including me in your Top 15! Super exciting : )
    I will follow the rules and post about it ASAP

    ReplyDelete
  4. you sweet thing.

    i heart photo essays of road trips. that's a brave little blender, all full of layers of edible goodness. the expression of your babe on the motorcycle. priceless. and Amos. o, sweet heaven pie.

    your raw honesty takes a courageous heart.

    now, if you'll excuse me, i'm off to swoon in having made it to your top 15 and ponder seven things no one knows about me. i'll post soon.

    in the meantime, send you love & hugs.

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  5. Oh my goodness....thank you. You are speaking my thoughts....exactly. I cried through most of this post. Partly because of conviction, but mostly because of a broken-heart still on the mend. My sweet girl is about the same age as your beautiful Amos. It's comforting to know someone else is going through the same "stage" at the same time.

    Your words are beautiful and comforting. Thank you for being vulnerable, raw, and real.

    I put 7 things about me into 7 of my favorite words:

    1. antique
    2. whimsical
    3. vintage
    4. nostalgia
    5. tender
    6. savory
    7. Gabe, Eli, & Nora (listed as one so I could fit all my children in :)

    And I don't follow any other blogs...just Kelle Hampton and now you :)

    I love Jesus, too~
    Kelly Cach

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  6. Laura, Laura, Laura. You're the one with the powerful words and it is such an honour to read yours...
    Your words inspire humility from those who read them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Loved the raw and beautiful honesty in this post. Thanks for sharing lovely Laura, looking forward to reading more <3

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make no mistake, I am smitten with your words. please say hello, or pour something out - you will make my heart happy.

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