Andi Jane was in Greer with Grandma and Grandpa for almost 2 weeks and I didn’t like it. We missed her so much and totally realized how helpful she is with the other kids. Sunday morning I was very hesitant in sending Lily into her Sunday School class because Andi Jane wasn’t there with her (unfortunately I was rightfully so in my hesitation as she did have a seizure in class). Andi should be in the 2nd grade class, but instead she is in the 5th grade class acting as Lily’s aide. And she is the best aide Lily could get. I am sure I will be the cause of much money spent in therapy for Andi Jane one day, but we do what we do as a family, right? We try, we make things work and then look back and see how all wrong we were. It’s the cycle of life.
Even Oliver, my funny, sweet little Oliver has been exhausting! I didn’t even know this until Andi Jane left for the week. He talks to me all day long. All day. Every minute. And he is very hard to understand so he will ask me a question I will hesitate as my brain tries to catch up with what he is saying then he says, “Hu Mom? Say Yes” so I do. I say yes and the next thing I am doing is running around the house on a broom because don’t you know he and I are witches? I said yes that we were. It never stops. I love that he wants to play with me, as second fiddle of course to “his Adi” but a mama does need to do other things than playing bad guy, spider man, ming ming, and a witch all within 3 minutes of each other. So funny all these things I would probably murder to have Lily do and I find myself totally hypocritical on this by being bothered with Oliver and his insistence on being up in my business all the time. I am a hypocrite. I know it. And by murder I don’t really mean I’d murder someone for Lily to pick up a skill, that is silly. It’s an expression. Actually a dumb one at that. But I would do pretty much anything to get Lily to talk all day long. But there isn’t anything I can do legal or illegal so the whole thing is moot. Something we all say when we want something we can’t have. And don’t get me wrong I love playing with Oliver, he makes me smile like no other, I just now realize Andi handles a lot of that energy he produces. Granted they do fight and again my eyes are open to why Andi gets so frustrated. She is dealing with a 3 year old. Enough said.
And maybe my patience are cut short because Lily’s seizures are just outrageous right now. And she was doing well. I even told her neuro she was doing great. But she is not. And to be quite frank, it really pisses me off. I seriously get angry inside because of it and as someone who has spent some time getting counseling, I know anger is a secondary emotion and I know in this case it is secondary to my great sadness I have over the fact Lily can’t go a day with out a seizure. Heck she can’t go 6 hours without a seizure. And she is almost 10. Almost 10 years with this beast. This stupid beast that we think we finally find a way to slay, at least handicap yet we never do.
Saturday night we took Lily and Oliver to a Diamondbacks game. We do everything to make sure our seats are handicap accessible, we find elevators, we park in handicap parking. Everything we do is around the wheelchair and we don’t complain. Ok if I see no van handicap spots open and see a little sports car in the only place my van is able to load and unload Lily, yes I complain, but for the most part we don’t complain. It is our lot in life. It is Lily’s lot. She is in a wheelchair and we do what we can to adapt our life to that fact.
Here is where I complain, we were in our seats, having food, I was feeding Lily her dinner and meds when mid bite she goes into an awful seizure. A big seizure, one that made me think she will choke her food and I was mad. Almost mad enough to leave. Lost my own world with Lily I hear Oliver singing “This is serious”, you have to watch The Wonder Pets to get the tune but one part of me wanted to scream THIS IS SERIOUS! This sucks! Our life sucks because we can’t do one single fun thing without these stupid idiotic seizures ruining everything. You know in 40 year old virgin when he gets his chest waxed and he screams everything he can possibly say? Well that is how I feel. I want to scream every expletive imaginable because for some reason I think it will make me feel better. This is my rant that is running in my brain. The life isn’t fair tantrum. BUT instead of letting her take the show I shut her down and look at my son and sing back to him “this is serious” and I kiss his sweet buzzed blond head and swoop him up on my lap and snuggle him because he doesn’t know yet that life isn’t fair and I am not going to be the one who tells him that. He has plenty of life left to see me mad, I can’t let my anger at seizures get redirected to him.
And right there at that moment I realized man I sure can compartmentalize.
Lily slept and the rest of the game was cool. I did my best to enjoy our family time but all the while that selfish me stood there with her arms crossed and totally pissed. It hurts. It hurts with this intense burn that burns in my gut. I’d say in my heart but it really lies in my gut. It also hangs out in my throat and makes it hard to talk. It fills my entire body yet I shut it down. My great sadness I shut out. Yet with Andi gone it was just so much more prevalent. And I guess if I had to put into words why, I’d have to say and I hate this, but I think we pour everything into Andi. I think we put all our hope for 2 daughters on one poor girl. I try not to project on her, but I think I must. How else can I explain how hard it was when she was gone. Yes she is my daughter, yes I missed her, but my anxiety over Lily was heightened in her absence. That isn’t fair. It’s like I share my burden of Lily with Andi. I never knew that and I hate that, but there must be truth in that for me to have felt it so much in her absence.
I had let myself get into a bad place again obsessing over things I can’t change and want to change. In New Orleans I saw videos of kids communicating and I think if we can stop the seizures Lily could do so much more. I obsess on the thought of if we can do this, than this. I wear myself out because what I want is not becoming a reality and then I find myself in the words of a ‘real housewife”, Angry Spice.
Did I let myself get into a bad place mentally again because my prayers weren’t answered how I saw fit? Maybe. Was I upset because my 7 year old daughter whom I place way too much responsibly on was out of town and I didn’t have her around? Possibly? Am I just cycling all my sadness again like some kind of clock? Possibly, it is almost Lily’s 10th birthday and lately I have been running into a lot of 10 year old little girls that crush me a bit every time I hear them tell me their age. I do so well for so long and then that selfish arms crossed, pissed at the world girl starts taking more and more space up in me and I am realizing it is because I am letting her. I am loosing my focus.
Lily is having more seizures, Lily is also entering a new physical stage and it is possible her hormones are out of whack. We are seeing an endro for her and who knows, maybe they will have some suggestions. Andi is back home and I am going to do my best to lighten her load some. I had no idea how heavy it was for her. It is probably why she wanted to stay in Greer forever, I don’t blame her! I need my focus to go back to a safer place, a quieter place, a place I am loved as I am. I am not expected to be everything. The one place I can lie at his feet and be completely vulnerable. I have strayed from that place trying to be all to everyone and by doing that I weakened myself. I need to go back where I was last year and find solitude again.
I can’t let outside circumstances ruin who I am. Lily has seizures. Has practically since birth. I can’t change that. I can’t mess with a petri dish and change her future. Of course I can still hope and pray and do everything I can to change the future of CDKL5, that is in my blood, that is what I am supposed to do. But what I can’t do is hold all my self worth in her and her seizures. They have become the idol in my life I am worshiping. The very thing I despise is what I am worshiping. And that I can’t continue to do that. I will continue to compartmentalize. I will always hold my sadness, my anger, my happiness all in the same body, but I have to let that hopeful girl shine through them all. Give her far more precedence than all those other mood suckers. I am working on changing my attitude and my heart because as we all know we often can’t change our circumstances, but we can change our attitudes.
It’s not easy and I do think at times I am working with a half full heart, but aren’t we all? I have to love with that heart no matter if there are cracks in it, it has to be used, all of it. My kids need to know how special they are each in their own way. Lily and her smiles and princess attitude. Andi and her heart full of compassion and Oliver his humor that is spoken in his own language. They are all perfect. And just because life didn’t hand them to me in the package I had planned and expected doesn’t make them any less lovable. I thank God every day for all three and especially that 4th of July vacation we brought home with us because if it weren’t for Andi Jane, totally unexpected, I don’t think I would have known the brightness parenting can bring. I pray I can love them seizures, attitudes, non stop mouths and all. All of them. They will have all of me. Even if it’s not enough. Thanks Matt Hammitt for writing the best song ever when talking about loving our children. They are worth every fallen tear. Worth facing any fear. They will have all of me. And the good me.
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Please read this devotional if you have not already. I received it today and one everything day “Proverbs 31 Ministries”. Keep your head up! July 10, 2012Pretending I'm Fine or Proving I'm RightBy Lysa TerKeurst “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (NIV)If someone says something or does something that hurts me, what is the godly response? Is it to pretend like everything is fine so I can keep the peace? Or is it in confronting the person to prove how wrong they are?Neither.If ever I catch myself pretending or proving, I know I'm processing my hurt the wrong way.The godly way is approaching this situation with soul integrity—responding in a way that's honest but also peacemaking. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure (honest); then peace-loving …” Yes, I want this kind of wisdom—this soul integrity. I want to be honest and peacemaking at the same time. But how?I must remember I need real honesty combined with real peacemaking.Real HonestyNot all honest expressions of my feelings are real honesty. You see, my honest feelings may not be truthful assessments of the situation. I can be honest with how I feel and still exaggerate or misinterpret what is factually true. I can feel justified in being blatant about my feelings—not hiding a thing—and prideful for being so real, all under the guise of being honest enough not to stuff.But in reality, honesty that isn't true isn't honesty at all. It may just be emotional spewing. That's why we need peacemaking honesty—honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit—if we're going to have authentic soul integrity.So, if I want real honesty, I have to ask the Holy Spirit to show me real truth. I need to see things from the other person's perspective. I need to ask questions of them with the desire to better understand instead of throwing out statements of accusation. Ultimately my goal should be to add peacemaking to my honesty.Real PeacemakingIt must grieve God to see plastic versions of peacemaking that aren't reined in by honesty. That's what we do when we stuff and pretend everything is okay. The upside to stuffing is that we have the semblance of peacemakers. But when we do this at the expense of honesty, we harbor a corrosive bitterness that will eventually emerge. Either it will erode our health and later present itself in a host of emotional and physical anxiety-induced illnesses, or it will accumulate over time and surprise everyone when the peacemaker eventually erupts. Saying “I'm fine” to keep the peace, when we're really not fine, isn't honest.Sometimes dishonesty comes in the form of saying things that aren't true. But it's also dishonest when we don't say things that are true.It may seem godly in the moment, but it's false godliness. Truth and godliness always walk hand-in-hand. The minute we divorce one from the other, we stray from soul integrity and give a foothold to the instability that inevitably leads to coming unglued.Yes, we're after soul integrity—honesty that is also peacemaking that leads to godliness. This soul integrity brings balance to unglued reactions. It makes us true peacemakers—people who aren't proving or pretending but rather honestly demonstrating what they are experiencing in a godly manner.And being a true peacemaker reaps a harvest of great qualities in our lives: right things, godly things, healthy things.Dear Lord, through You I am able to bring all my exploding and stuffing under Your authority and truth. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who gives me the wisdom to move beyond my reactions. Help me lean on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.Kim Howard – August 2003 Mommy
Ugh. I hate seizures! HATE them! And I hate that poor sweet Lily continues to have them!
Thanks for helping me remember that we have to rise above our child's seizures. We can't let them define who our child is, or what our family is about. They are just one part of our child, and don't deserve that much power over all our lives!Take care,Kim