I feel like life is going by too fast.
Like it is a car going 10 mph and I am frantically running behind it trying to get it. I say 10, cause it is always right in front of me…like a minute too late, or a few steps ahead. No matter the progress I make to catch up or get ahead….it is always a few moments in front of me.
So, what would it look like to “catch up”? Funny. I guess it starts with priorities. I read this blog entry off of pinterest about this lady that seemingly had it all together, only to find out it was a dream. (read story here ) But, I really want to be that put together. The more clean and organized I am, the calmer I feel and also more productive. It is something I want and to a degree, need to feel sane. Type A is in my blood (ironically, I am A positive). However, my current season of life is not conducive to type A at all.
Take this morning for example. On my schedule, I have written down, "devotions". I have good intentions for Jut and I to say connected to the Lord daily, and in the morning it is especially important to start the day right. We want to be examples to our kids and keep one another encouraged. Instead, our devotional time was spent frantically cleaning poop off the stairs while Elliotte cried and Brooklyn through a temper tantrum(Jayden pooped in his diaper, then decided to bounce his rear end down each and every carpeted stair leaving a poop trail). I chuckle how sometimes, God chooses to put us in the game, so to speak, instead of us spending time just reading about how to play.
It has been a journey having children and letting go of my desire to be put together and simply survive. I feel like for every child I have I get heavier. It is like adding them in the wagon I am pulling as I race behind this car called life. What a word picture, huh? Me running and the kids in a wagon, frantically trying to catch a car? Anyway, the weirdest part to me is the new desire to stop running. This may not make sense…but the car is full of my to do list, things I have to get done like paperwork, thank yous, laundry, finishing the new house, selling the old house….all my commitments.
Yet, I am like a dog…..squirrel!
I get distracted and just want to sit around, drink my coffee, and kiss my baby. I want to enjoy the moments with the kiddos. I want to take a nap. I want to…dare I say it, be selfish and lazy in some moments. I want to have a photo shoot with Ellie, or pin stuff on pinterest.
But in the same breath, I LOVE crossing off the to do list. I can’t even sit still when I have the moments to do so.
So there is tension. I see sweet Elliotte crying in the swing wanting to be held. Do I pick her up or fold a basket of laundry first? I want to do both. I just remember with Jayden and Brooklyn, especially Jayden, always choosing the laundry first. I think that is normal for baby #1. But baby number #3….I pick her up and the laundry waits. It just goes by too fast, this growing up thing. I keep telling Jut I will have Elliotte in a moby wrap until she is 16-God willing! The older I get, the faster it seems, or the slower I move…
All that to say I am torn. So I have given myself permission to not care. I will do what I what when I want and not stress about the small stuff. I will hold loosely to my to do list and typed, excel, daily, hour by hour schedule hanging on my door. Laundry will always be here, my kids may not. Priorities, right?
Speaking of which….I still have blogs from March to write….
It is with mixed emotions that I write this blog. On one hand, I am overjoyed that my daughter, Elliotte, doesn’t have Sanfilippo. On the other hand, it illuminates Sanfilippo in Jayden and Brooklyn and deeply grieves me in new, fresh ways. We found out that Elliotte doesn’t carry the mutation for Sanfilippo…she is not even a carrier. Genetically speaking, each one of our children have a 25% chance of having Sanfilippo (like Jayden and Brooklyn), 50% chance of being a carrier (like Justin and I), or a 25% chance of being completely unaffected (like Elliotte). We are beyond excited for her and for what that means for her future. In fact, I think I am still in shock. To be honest, I don’t even know how to process such an overt blessing from God. Most people expect that God would bless them with a healthy child and are shocked when it is not, I was prepared for a Sanfilippo baby, so I am shocked she doesn’t have it. I know God is good, but didn’t think he would be that good to me. For years, we have had to fight to see the blessings in the midst of pain. I still believe the blessings are so rich when you are going through tough stuff if you choose to focus on them. But, ironically, the moment that we heard the wonderful news, we were flooded with a new sadness for our other two children. I can’t say that anything prepared us for that emotion. Justin even commented that he was sad that we would celebrate for Elliotte—what if Jayden and Brooklyn knew we were celebrating? I asked inside: Why God, Elliotte and not Jayden and Brooklyn? Why heal one and not all three? How will I handle a child that understands what is happening to Jayden and Brooklyn? How will we do life as a family? Will she be made fun of for her siblings? How will she handle it? How will she handle not having them around? I was thinking about all the new things we may get to experience with Elliotte, like dance class, or a “normal” classroom, or potty training, a wedding, a grandbaby….but thinking those things makes me grieve them all over for Brooklyn and Jayden. It is hard to imagine life without them. I had to fight tears thinking about Ellie with her cousin, Lucy, growing up….without Brooklyn as part of the experiences that they will have. I keep seeing J and B sitting in wheelchairs while Ellie gets to experience all these things. I think, although I try to fight it, about J and B’s funeral, and my little Ellie, burying her sister or brother. I cry even typing that. I almost think Elliotte having Sanfilippo would be easier in some ways. Then it would be fair in our house. There wouldn’t be a light shining on everything J and B miss out on or can’t do because no one could do it. There would be no constant reminder….we could escape the world. But, I couldn’t imagine having to watch a third child fade away, and doing 3 funerals. At the same moment, I feel a sense of new hope, a breath of life that has entered our home in Elliotte. She won’t let us hide. She will force us to continue to shine in the darkness and I believe her little soul will do much of the shining for us. I have a gut feeling she will not let us give up hope. Wow these thoughts hurt and challenge me in a whole new way and I am thankful. I wanted so bad to feel again desperate for God like I did in the first months of our diagnosis with Jand B without having to grieve and God has answered my prayers. I have to get back to the place of living in the moment and being thankful. There is no guarantee for Elliotte either. This is not our home. Worldly dreams, even the good ones, don’t need to be dreamt. If they come, I will enjoy them richly. If they don’t, I don’t have to grieve the loss of them. I am reminded that God will carry me and I don’t have to get ahead of myself. I have to fight the sad thoughts because he will strengthen me when I need it and not a moment sooner. I am reminded to look at all the blessings. I can choose to see all the beautiful benefits of both Sanfilippo and non-Sanfilippo. Sure, there are challenges on both sides. I am gonna have to watch what I say, have times when she doesn’t like me, and I will have to fight for her character and salvation on my knees with Elliotte. I don’t have to worry about any of that with J and B. But I also may never have to advocate for her at school to get a one-on-one aide, change her diaper when she is 10, or hold her hand as she wakes from anesthesia for the 10th time. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It will be a new challenge for me as a parent, which I think all parents are called to, to appreciate each child as an individual and not compare siblings. I want to love each of my children for the wonderful, unique child of God they are. One of a kind. I even want to be careful not to lump Brooklyn with Jayden just because of Sanfilippo, or lump her with Elliotte because she is a girl. I love each one of my children simply because God has entrusted them to me. So it is with anticipation and mixed emotions I write. I am excited to see how God will grow me in this new part of my journey. May grace precede and follow my attempts to parent and let love and forgiveness reign.
I am sitting in a hospital bed, listening to the distant cries of babies down the hall as my newest baby Ellie is laying peaceful in her bed. We are getting ready to be discharged and head home. There have been so many thoughts and feelings rushing through my body as I reflect back on the last few days. My prayers for the last 10 months have been that God would sustain me in these moments, and that he would meet me in each moment and supply exactly what I needed to get through it. I haven’t worried about tomorrow, cause I know tomorrow has enough worries of its own….but the reality of a 3rd child entering the picture is quickly becoming a concern! I am so blessed to have friends and family who helped with the kids, a wonderful husband who is juggling everything effortlessly, and a fabulous baby that is adjusting well. Angie gave us a gift for the baby, and one of the things she gave was a frame with the phrase “You call it chaos, we call it family”. It is so true. I love the chaos. I love taking over hospital rooms and waiting rooms with laughter, and yelling, and crumbs! I love the nurses in and out, smiling and joking with us. But I also love the moments I have had in silence, holding or feeding Elliotte. She is such a gift. I will be honest, I thought much more about Sanfilippo than I anticipated. I thought right when she came out I would know. I am leaning towards yes she has it because at times, she looks very much like Jayden and Brooklyn, then there are other moments where I am unsure. I wish it didn’t matter and I didn’t care. And the bottom line is that it doesn’t change anything either way, but it really is the waiting that gets to me. I just want to know for sure. So in a few minutes, Jut and Brooklyn are coming to get us and bring us home to reality. Wish us luck!
Last night, we left Brooklyn with Ama, tucked Jayden in his bed, and tried to get one last night of “rest” as thoughts of new baby danced in our heads. I woke frequently, mostly to empty my bladder as usual, but at 5AM, something else woke me…cramps. I thought it may be nerves because I was being induced it a few hours, so I got up thinking they would slow down but they actually increased. I sat down and enjoyed some peace and quiet, wrote a blog entry, and began to pack the last of the stuff. The more I moved, the more intense the contractions got. I called at 6AM to see what to do and they told me to come down to labor and delivery. We dropped J off and arrived at 7AM. Our wonderful nurse, Jeana (Gina), got us settled and checked me and I was 4cm at 7AM. I was shocked. I requested an epidural as soon as she said 4 and within the hour, I had it and was at 6cm. Another hour or so I was at 8.5 and by 10:15 I was ready to push. I was amazed. I had no idea she was coming on her own…they didn’t even have to induce me. What an organized little baby! I love it! Jayden and Brooklyn took 20 minutes to push. Jayden weighed 7.6 and was two weeks early. Brooklyn weighed 7.12 and was induced at 39 weeks. So….I thought I would be holding Elliotte by 10:45. Boy, was I wrong. They turned the epidural down a bit so I felt where to push and after 2 very painful hours and tons of different positions, tears, and Jeana yelling ”mor-mor-mor-mor or we go to c-section” (in her Chinese accent), at 12:14pm, I gave birth to a 9 pound, 11 oz., 20 in. beautiful, chunky baby girl! Everyone in the room, including me, were shocked at her size. As far as I was concerned…I tore so I was out with the shakes for a while. After I was taken care of…they were a bit concerned about the amount of blood I lost (and I am anemic). Thursday morning, 1-5 AM they gave me a blood transfusion. Elliotte is a great eater and sleeper, and really a good little baby so far. It is hard getting back in the newborn saddle…relearning how to breastfeed, being sore, all that good stuff….but as always, well worth the pain! Welcome little Miss Elliotte Brynn Boyce! We love you!
It’s 5:18 am. I woke up having contractions on the day I am scheduled to be induced. Funny. I couldn’t sleep very well and had a bit of an emotional breakdown before going to bed. I will admit I am nervous. Nervous for labor and the pain, nervous for seeing her, and nervous that she may or may not have Sanfilippo. I am fearful of the unknown, and in typical character form, I just need to know. I will deal with whatever the outcome, but I just need to know. I have spent most of my pregnancy just surviving the pain and discomfort that I am nervous to actually face the ramifications of what has been growing in my belly….a baby. I still have questions that are silly….like how am I gonna do 3? Will I love her like I love Jayden and Brooklyn? And I know the answers…yes I will and I will do what needs to be done to do 3 kids….God willing. So, as I write, I continue to contract. I continue to believe and hope in God and His eternal promises and all the stuff I have written about this new life….and I continue to be human and a bit anxious. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22