Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 189


December 11, 2013


Day 189


Two weeks until Christmas. .. I am trudging through the season.  Monday I finished up my shopping.  Tomorrow I attack my baking with a vengeance.  Next Tuesday my friend Jenny will come over to wrap gifts with me.  It’s not a moment too soon.  My kids have been looking mournfully under the tree for several days now .  I assure them that there will be gifts but I don’t think they are going to quite believe me until they see them for themselves!  Jenny actually did the bulk of my shopping for the kids this year, bless her heart.  She knew it would be a struggle for me this year.


I’m getting through the season.  But there is still a part of me that stubbornly hopes we can do more than just survive Christmas this first year, that somehow and in some way, the beauty of the holiday will be even more evident to us this sad year. But I’m not sure how that works when one’s heart feels so pulverized.


I hit the 6 month mark last Thursday night/Friday.  I was in bed, drifting off to sleep when I suddenly knew.  I looked at the clock and it was 11:41 pm.  It was somewhere right around that time that Paul began to seize.  I don’t know his exact time of death.  I’m fairly certain he actually died on the 5th, rather than the 6th, when it was called.  But I laid there in my bed, six months to minute after I had lost Paul.  A bleak sense of desolation washed over me, although I didn’t cry this time.  But almost immediately, a picture formed in my mind and it was God, holding me to His breast.  I was reminded of the hours I spent walking my baby boys when they were tiny and their little bodies would ball up.  Hoping to soothe them, I would walk around, supporting their bodies with one hand and patting their backs over and over with the other – a routine nearly as old as time itself and known by all mothers everywhere.  That night, alone in my bed, remembering, I was being carried by my loving Father.  I cried, “Hold me!” and He did, all night long.  About a day later I got a very kind Facebook message from an old friend.  In it, she shared the verse, Isaiah 66:13, “As one whom His mother comforted, so I comfort you” – doesn’t get much more perfect than that, does it?


The day of the 6th wasn’t too terrible.  I didn’t remind the boys of the significance of the date.  About mid-day it finally dawned on Will and he commented that he’s just not as date-oriented as I am.  That’s ok.  I doubt there are too many other people on the planet who have as big of a fixation on dates as I do!  I put a picture on Facebook of Paul’s grave decorated for Christmas and, as a result, received many, many kind messages from my friends.  I also got some private messages, some emails, a phone call, and a card in the mail.  Now, as one of my friends commented, there are 6 more months of “firsts” to get through.


The day of the 6th we got up the Christmas decorations.  I dragged my feet for as long as I could, but the kids were insistent.  Well, David and the Littles were.  And I guess Ben was anxious, too, because his teacher emailed me that day and commented that Ben had excitedly told them we were decorating this weekend!  David did the bulk of the work, even haphazardly nailing lighted candy canes to the top of the porch.  But you know, I found myself enjoying it a bit and actually entering into the fun of the season as we decorated.  Paul never did much in the way of decorating, so maybe that’s why.  If he did anything, it was to string lights outside some years.  But ever since he started working for Loziers, December was always a really busy month for him, coupled with the excitement and work of deer season.  So, the rest of us usually took care of Christmas.  But he was always really good at getting really special gifts for me.  I’ll miss that.


When I was shopping Monday I passed by the place in the mall where Santa sits on his throne and parents pay to have a picture taken of their kids with him.  I’ve never done that, ever.  I’m not anti-Santa, although I’ve never lied to my kids about him (boy, was Lizzie shocked last year when her new brothers informed her about the truth of Santa!).  But I am too cheap to pay for pictures of my kids sitting on his lap, which is why I’ve never done it.  However, as I passed this area in the mall the crazy thought  leaped into my mind that what I wanted to do was sit on Santa’s lap and ask for my husband back for Christmas…I didn’t, but I took a certain amount of sad pleasure from the thought of doing it.


I have decided, though, that we are definitely getting a new tree before we celebrate another Christmas.  I’m trying to remember when we bought this one.  I am pretty sure it was 14 or 15 years ago, perhaps David’s first Christmas, maybe?  Anyway, the gaps and missing branches tell me it’s time to find something new.


I ran across a Christmas quote the other day while hunting for something appropriate to put on the city sign (short, meaningful, non religious and non-offensive to any and all persons in town – as much effort as I put into this, I somehow manage to offend someone every time I put up something new!).  It said, “At Christmas, everything is twice as sad.”  Isn’t that the truth?  The world (or at least Iowa) is coated in a twinkling white cloak, we are admonished to think peaceful and loving thoughts toward others, and everyone expects to double their happiness quotient as they spend quality time with friends and family.  But what if your own family has been ripped apart?  What if you don’t know how to function as a family anymore?  What if the person you expected to cuddle with every single Christmas Eve of your life has suddenly disappeared and you are now painfully alone?


Along those same thought lines: this week I received a post card from our state association advertising the upcoming couple’s retreat in Feb…just like a dagger through the heart, it was.




Ok, onto lighter fare!

Ellie has turned into a chatter box in recent weeks.  She’s talking in almost complete sentences and using three syllable words.  Just a few months ago I still had people asking me, “Does she ever talk?” and now it’s like a switch has been flipped.  One sweet thing is that when I tuck her into her crib at night, she has started calling out, “Wub you, Mom!”  She says it repeatedly until I am all the way down the steps and I can no longer hear her…sweetness…


I smashed my finger Saturday.  I guess that doesn’t exactly qualify as more cheerful conversation!  But wow, that hurt and it still hurts!  I am slowly getting the basement painted as time allows.   While working around the pantry shelves, a jar of spaghetti sauce tumbled from its precarious positioning and nailed my finger to the shelf.  My nail is a funny shade of blue now, but the ripped part of the finger has nearly healed.  To make matters worse, the spaghetti sauce then continued its descent to the concrete floor.  What a mess to clean up with a throbbing finger.  I thought about making one of the kids do it, but decided I wasn’t in that bad of a mood (and considering they’ll be picking out my nursing home someday, it’s probably best I score points while I can).  The up side is that my basement smelled like an Italian restaurant for a couple of days.  There could be worse things!


Ellie has decided that she is big enough to dress herself.  She doesn’t want any help at all, even if it means she wears her pants backwards and only one arm makes it into a sleeve.  If anyone tries to assist, she declares, “I do it my-telf!”  And so it begins…I have decided that potty training needs to resume after the first of the year.  A child this smart is more than ready to learn bowel and bladder control!


I hired a support broker today for Ben – one more thing checked off my Big List.  Most handicapped persons in the state are on what is called a “waiver” which is the conduit through which state monies are funneled to pay for their care services.  Ben uses his for SCL (supported community living – learning life skills) and respite services and to pay for transportation in the summer to Genesis, as well as for the program itself.  I start talking about this stuff and most people look at me quizzically like I’ve just started spouting Greek.  There is a lot of extra “stuff” that comes with raising a child with disabilities and I sometimes forget that most people are totally unaware of all the behind-the-scenes stuff that has to happen in order to make his life enjoyable, endurable, and to equip him for a time when I’m not around to care for him.  So, anyway, hiring this support broker will enable me to pay his workers more than what they currently earn and it gives me more control over his services.  Of course, it requires me to be a little bit more involved and accountable, but I figure one more piece of paperwork or two isn’t going to complicate my life that much more.


Tonight I will be getting together with my fellow moms of special needs kids.  We’re driving up to an orchard north of the Des Moines metro for a Christmas dinner and craft/shopping thing (hoping it’s indoors since our high today is something like nine degrees!).  I’m looking forward to it because I LOVE these women.  But also, it is always nice to chat with other moms who live my life on a daily basis.  I can throw out terms like “SCL” and “support broker” and they will nod their heads in understanding.  It’s always a relief to spend time with them.


I was leafing through one of the scads of sale catalogs that arrived the other day.  I found a couple of t-shirts that have me seriously scheming as to how I can justify purchasing one or both of them.  One read, “Grammar Police – to correct and serve.”  The other said, “Keep clam and Proofread.”  I saw those about 11 pm while reading in the bathtub and just shook and shook with laughter.  Those are SO me!  I know Paul would just roll his eyes and say, “You think so, huh?” I doubt he’d even grasp what I found so humorous. But that’s ok.


I do.  And I’m still laughing!











































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