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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's like a punch to the gut in the dark

There I am, going about my day, when the hubby calls me from work.  Which isn't unusual because we usually talk on the phone every afternoon.  But, when he calls me at 10 am, I know it's for a reason.  And, I know him well enough to know instantly the tone of his voice and this wasn't a happy call.  Our pediatrician had called him to tell him our youngest needs to see a specialist.
She has been really prone to getting sick her whole life.  She got strep throat at 4 months old, then had it between 8 and 10 (confirmed) times in the next year.  Along with about as many ear infections, RSV, Pneumonia, and a few upper respiratory issues.  Her first year and a half was exhausting for all of us.  But, we soon realized that she had a milk allergy and we took her to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist. (Dr. Tracey Childers has performed 3 different surgeries for our family and we LOVE her!  She is very devoted to her patients and caring!)  She had tubes put in and we got her on some allergy meds and things improved quite a bit!  However, she still got sick a lot more than our other two ever had.  There have been numerous times she's woken up, after acting absolutely fine the day before, with a HIGH fever.  With no explanation.  (I'm talking 104-105 degrees, high)  The last time it happened (she is 2 and a half now), I finally told her Doctor that I am concerned about her immune system.
He looked back over her chart and told me my concerns were valid, but that she seemed like a healthy child. Her skin looks good, her eyes are bright, etc.  But, being a VERY thorough doctor, he ordered a battery of tests to be done to make sure her immune system was doing its job.  We were really concerned, until a week or so later the office called us to tell us that everything looked normal.  Whew!!  I knew her tests had to be sent out to a different lab so there was a possibility they may not all be in, but we were relieved anyway.
That's why when they called us that morning to tell us there were some abnormalities, it was like being blindsided.  Our Doctor tells us not to worry and that he just wants to have the specialist check it out to see what he thinks.  But, we have no idea what exactly the doctor is checking for. We don't know what the test results mean with regard to OUR daughter.  Of course, I've googled.  And, that's usually a bad idea, because you start seeing the "C" word (cancer) and other awful things that are the stuff of every parent's nightmares.  And, I just can't go there.
But, what about all those people who are forced to "go there?"  Who are faced with gut wrenching news about their child?  Who lose a child?  Who daily face losing a child??  Who go through awful months, or even years worth of watching their child battle severe illnesses, with no way to "make it better." My heart goes out to those parents, because I cannot imagine it and I hope I NEVER have to live it.
So, while we wait for our appointment, I battle in my heart over the right words to send up to God.  Of course, I've had my cry, praying over her, begging God to just make her okay and to not make me have to deal with any of the aforementioned tragedies.  But, ironically, I've found myself thanking Him more than anything.  No matter what, I'm thankful for the gift of my three beautiful children and the 11+ years he has given me as their Mother.  I'm never guaranteed tomorrow.  I thought about the 2 episodes I had with my baby girl where I thought I was losing her while I was pregnant and how fervently I prayed for God to let me keep her and He did.  He didn't give me a number.  He didn't tell me how long I got to keep her - or any of my babies.  My, as every parent's, hope, is that they will all three put me in the ground at a ripe, old age.  But, bottom line is this:  They aren't mine.  They are HIS.  And, he loves them so much more than I do, although I just can't fathom that.  So, all I can do is offer my little red-head up to Him and know that He will take care of her and I can only be thankful for every blessed day He gives me with her.
And, next year, when my oldest starts middle school and I have to drop her off in that same spot where my baby sister was shot, all I can do is wrap her in a prayer and know that she is His.  And when they start to drive, and date, and go to college....... You get the picture.  It's all scary stuff.  This world is scary!  Luckily, this world isn't where my treasures are.  And, my kids are the greatest treasures I could possibly store up in Heaven.  So, that's what my focus has to be!  On THEIR eternity.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Courageous, the movie

If you haven't seen it, go see it.  If you are a parent or prospective parent, it is a must!  This movie literally changed me.  I have rededicated my role as a parent.  

My husband and I went to see it together as a "date" of sorts.  It is a perfect movie for men and women.  There was lots of action and we could both relate to what the people were dealing with in the movie.  I must warn you, though,it is a tear jerker, for sure!  Bring your tissues.  It is an excellent reminder of what is really important in life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's not easy teaching responsibility!

So, my 5th grade daughter decides to run for Student Council President.  I was proud of her and I spent Sunday afternoon/evening HELPING her make posters.  We brainstormed together and came up with slogans.  I helped her stencil letters on to construction paper and cut them out.  But, for the most part, she made them herself.
She calls me today, in tears, because they are doing their speeches today and she forgot.  I was a little puzzled as to what exactly she wanted me to do.  I suggested that she write a few things down in her free time before the speeches, but she told me she didn't have free time.  I told her she was super smart and funny and that she would be fine if she just got up there and made a speech.  She didn't like that idea, either.  It eventually came out, through her heart wrenching tears, that she wanted me to write a speech for her and bring it up to the school.
Uhhhhh.  No.  I replied, "Sis, I would have been more than happy to HELP you write a speech, but I'm absolutely not going to write it for you."  To which she replied that a lot of the parents had written their kids' speeches.
You have to know that my first impulse is to save her.  To write out a speech, somehow get it to the school for her and fix all this for her.  But, I squelch that desire.  At what point do we start passing the torch?  What would it teach her if I saved the day for her?  And, why do parents do their kids projects for them?  How could she feel any intrinsic pride if she got Student Council President after I made posters for her and wrote her a speech out?  That would be MY student council win - not her's.  However, the flip side of that is this:  The kids whose parents do their work for them tend to be the ones that get the high praise and win the Student Council seats.  So, what does THAT teach her?  That her efforts aren't good enough?
Parenting presents these ever present gray areas where you just don't know exactly what the right thing is to do.  As much as I want her to be happy with me and as much as I want to shield her from disappointments, I know my JOB is to get her ready for life.  If I write her a speech and bail her out now, it isn't a big deal.  It's 5th grade student council.  But, when do we let them learn these hard lessons?  When they are older and the stakes are higher?  When it's a due date for a college scholarship application that they don't bother to remember because someone has ALWAYS bailed them out of "forgetting."  Or when they go out on their own and have bills to pay, but don't think they have to remember because they've never been responsible for remembering anything?  I'd rather her blow her Student Council speech and learn a lesson the hard way in 5th grade than learn it by losing a scholarship her Senior year.  Or do I just fill out all her college scholarship applications for her, too, so that she will measure up to all the other kids' whose parents do it for them.  And, then hope that after I release her out in to the world, she somehow figures out how to do things on her own?  Not a chance.  I want her to figure it out NOW, while is still at home with our big, huge safety net underneath her.
But, then again.  Maybe I've got it all wrong!!!  That's the tough thing about parenting.  There's no handbook!!  But, one thing I do know about parenting.... I'll ALWAYS be there for her.  So, I'm gearing up for some TLC this afternoon when she gets home from what will probably be a disappointing day.  :-(

I have read some great books on this subject by Jim Faye and Charles Faye.  I encourage you to check them out!

Parenting with Love and Logic Website