Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 279


March 11, 2014

Day 279

I’m coming up on 300 days – in, what, about 3 weeks?  I wonder when the time will be that I no longer count days, but months, and then, eventually years?

I’ve got the girls in the tub and I’m trying to clean up the house – the countdown to bedtime (my favorite part of the day!) has begun.  Lizzie was a real pill at supper, deciding that she didn’t want to eat her steak.  Seriously, if you’re going to pick a food battle, Kid, do it with a casserole or hamburger helper – not a steak!  These were from that cow that was given to us last fall – good eating.  So I’m more than ready to put her in the tub.
I took Lizzie in for a hearing test with my ENT last week.  All this time I have had her I have been beyond convinced she has a hearing loss.  She’s constantly ignoring me (which can be explained, no doubt) and asking to have the tv and radio turned up.  But her test came back perfectly normal!  So apparently, her hearing is quite selective.  I was told that her birth family absolutely blasted their music and tv in their home.  It’s hard for me to believe that would still be impacting Lizzie today, but maybe it is.  Maybe loud noises bring her comfort, in a way.  I definitely won’t be turning up the tv and radio for her anymore, though.  If I can hear them, with my one deaf ear, then I know she can hear them!

Lizzie is going to have her tonsils and adenoids taken out, though.  We met with the dr. after her test and I was telling him about her heavy breathing and the difficulty I have in awakening her and how she has been known to fall asleep standing on her feet.  He is suspicious that she has sleep apnea.  He looked at her tonsils and said they were “huge” which could be obstructing her breathing, causing her to never enter the deepest level of sleep.  He wondered out loud if that sleep deprivation could be causing some of the behavior issues I see. I suppose.  I tend to think that her disruptive early years would have more of an effect than anything, but the breathing thing could be an issue too, I suppose.  So, anyway, that’s scheduled for four weeks from tomorrow.

It was kind of nice to have the dr. give his opinion on what needed to be done and to just be able to say, “Ok, let’s do it.”  Paul was always suspicious of too much medical intervention and I felt like I always had to talk him into taking the kids to the ER at times and allowing other medical procedures.  On the other hand, it’s a little scary knowing your kids’ entire lives rest in your own decision-making capabilities!

A few months ago a friend sent me a link to Pink’s song, “Beam Me Up.”  I really like it.  There’s nothing super-deep about the lyrics.  It’s a simple song, lamenting the loss of a loved one.  The singer croons that she wishes she could be “beamed up” to Heaven to see the one she loves again.  The chorus goes, “Could you beam me up,Give me a minute, I don't know what I'd say in it-I'd probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face, Beam me up…”

Like I said, it’s sweet, it’s simple, and I find it relatable these days.  A couple of months ago I was listening to it in the van and Lizzie asked, “Mom, why is she singing, ‘Beat Me Up?’”  Yes, well, one can understand my belief that this child has a hearing loss!  But then, it wasn’t but a few weeks later Will heard me listening to the song and asked puzzled, “Why does she want someone to beat her up?”  So now, whenever I hear the song, I find myself singing, “Beat me up…”  They’ve ruined it for me.

I’m slowly getting this written tonight in between watching tv, picking up, doing Learning RX with David, getting the girls to bed, and texting with my friend, Jenn.  Jenn was Lizzie’s foster mom for a year and a half.  I told her about Lizzie’s upcoming sugery and she texted me, “Um, Lizzie doesn’t have her adenoids anymore.”  Apparently they were taken out before I got her.  I did not know that.  Guess I had better mention that to the doc the morning of the surgery so he doesn’t get confused when he goes in to get them and can’t find them!
Last week when I took the Littles to the dentist, we had to be there quite early.  The day before Sam had worn sweats all day and ended up wearing them to bed, too, since it wasn’t a bath night.  I was in such a hurry the morning of the appt. that I just had him wear the clothes again.  I don’t normally do stuff like that, but it was expedient for the circumstances.  Of course, I will probably never do it again, though, because while at the dentist, Sam announced to the hygienist, “I’m wearing the same clothes I wore all day yesterday!”  Just about that time I noticed a spaghetti sauce stain on his sleeve.  He could have really used some Novocaine right about then!

I met with my financial guy today.  I wrote him a really, really big check – the biggest check I have ever written in my entire life.  I was doing fine and then suddenly on the way home, I turned to Will and, in a panic, asked, “Are you sure this guy checked out?  I just gave him almost all my money!”  He calmed me down and I’m ok now.  Actually, I think things are going to be more than ok.  I may not have to go back to work as soon as I thought I would.  I may even get to stay home until Ellie graduates, which would be wonderful. I'm not so sure who would want to hire a 59 year old woman when the time comes, but I'll worry about that later.   I was thinking that  staying home wasn’t going to be an option.  But this guy seemed to indicate that if I choose a simple lifestyle, I might be able to stretch out this money even into retirement through the beauty of compounding interest.

I found another reason to like him, though.  When he’s not wearing a suit and investing other people’s money, he’s a clown.  Seriously, he is a clown! He gave me tickets to the circus next week (the kids are going to be so excited!) and told us how he is a Shriner’s clown.  His clown name is "Scooter" and he showed us a picture of himself, all make-upped up.  It is so cool!  I’m supposed to text him at the circus and then he’ll give the kids some extra attention.

I am really, really, really enjoying my new bedroom.  It is just so perfect!  Once I get my computer in there I will have everything I need.  If I just put a  mini-fridge in there,  I would never have to come out!  Just kidding…The only thing nicer would be if I got to spend more time actually sleeping in there.  My nights have been so short lately, it seems.  I did get to sleep in a bit last Sat. morning.  I was sleeping when I sensed little feet beside the bed.  The next thing I knew, the covers were being pulled up around my chin and a light, feathery kiss was on my cheek.  It was my girl, coming to check on me.  Sweet…

I now have my new closet, as well.  Our old closet was one that Paul added to our former bedroom.  He simply framed it in on top of an existing wall.  So what Will did was to remove the front of the closet and then that combined with the space left between the old closet and the bathroom wall  created a new, larger space.  He drywalled the hallway side of it and hung a door.  It’s nice.  I have lots of room for my clothes, shoes, and jewelry  now.   I even hung my full-length mirror on the inside of the door.  It’s my dressing area now, too.  For someone who has spent her entire life living in old houses (built when closet space was not a priority for homeowners) I am loving this new space! We hung up a whole bunch of shelves so there’s plenty of new storage space as well. 

When it was just a normal, regular-sized closet, I did have a few shelves Paul had built.  Over the years I had stuffed some of them with cards and notes and miscellaneous stuff.  I cleaned that all out the other night.  There were all these notes and poems Paul had written me over the years.  I re-read them all and found myself in tears as I did.  That man loved me so, so much.  Of course, I remember how awful I was at times and I am just amazed at his faithfulness and never-ending love.  I suppose, in that regard, he taught me a lot about God’s love for us.

I put those things in my hope chest.  That is now in my bedroom.  I remember spending the day with my grandparents around the time of my high school graduation.  They drove me up to this furniture store about an hour from home.  I can’t remember if we went to a place called “Frederick’s Furniture” or if it was in Fredricksburg, Iowa (is there a Fredricksburg, Iowa?)  I just remember reading in the back seat and eating jelly bellies all the way up there. This was the grandma that kept me supplied with the jelly beans and books.  We picked out this beautiful Lane cedar chest for my graduation present.

I had been collecting things for my future home for several years.  I think I kept them in one of my dresser drawers.  But once I got the chest I moved them into that.  It truly was a “hope” chest then.  After I married I used it as a linen “closet” for awhile since the little apartments we rented didn’t seem to have those.  Then, when the boys outgrew their baby blankets, I saved one from each and put them in the chest.  I had a few other odds and ends – a tablecloth my great-grandma cross stitched (that I actually pulled out and used for the first time at Will’s graduation party), a crocheted baby outfit that was Paul’s, etc.  I’m debating about what to do about that.  It’s a sweet little outfit, complete with booties.  I don’t remember Paul’s mom giving it to us but evidently, she did.  I don’t know if I should hang onto it for my grandchildren or if Dorothy would find some solace if I gave it back to her now that Paul has died.  I’ll have to think on that some more.  There have been a lot of times that hope chest has seemed to take up more room than I could afford, but I never once considered getting rid of it.  It’s been scuffed and sat on, and used as a laundry table for a period of years.  Some of the trim on the bottom was knocked off by toy cars.

But now, for the first time ever, it is nearly full.  I have it stuffed with memorabilia.  I have all the things from the funeral I wanted to save.  I have Paul’s wallet, his keys, his pocket contents, and his pills in there.  I have all these little notes from him that I found.  I put my wedding dress in there.  I think that chest will be following me to the nursing home someday.  I can’t imagine being separated from the memories!  It occurred to me, too, that I will have to make sure that the girls are given their own chests someday, too.

I have been struggling again for the better part of a week.  I do so good and then the weight of the grief settles in and I just feel like I am drowning all over again.  Just last night I was driving home from Ankeny after a meeting and as I drove on the interstate the thought crossed my mind that it would be so easy to drive right off the side of the road.  I could probably kill myself pretty easily doing something like that – just head down an embankment, close my eyes, and wait for Heaven…the scary thing was that the thought was really, really appealing for the briefest of moments.  Reason kicked in, of course.  I wouldn’t do something like that.  But now I can understand those that do.

 More and more I am starting to feel this pressure for others, mainly, to be doing better.  After all, 9 months have passed.  It’s time to start moving on with life.  I know people want me to move on, to feel better, to live again.  I think a part of me does, too, but I also know that if I start moving forward, then I’ll be leaving Paul farther and farther behind.  But that’s going to happen anyway.  Even feeling as rotten as I do at times, I can look back on the 9 months and see progress.  I’m moving forward whether I want to or not.

I am reading in my widow devotional by Margaret Nyman again now that I have a bedroom.  This morning I read this sentence that gave me pause, “But losing our choices to God’s choices can give fresh meaning to our days.”

I had to read that several times.  Losing our choices…that’s what happened the day Paul died.  I lost that choice because God chose to take him home.  But “fresh meaning”?  Life feels anything but “fresh” right now.  The author goes on to talk about how when life goes awry and our own plans are blown apart that God’s priorities can then come into being.  I still don’t see it.  I  don’t see God’s priorities at play yet.  I can’t see the good.

But maybe that’s what faith is.  Trusting that there is good, especially when the darkness seems full of bad things.

I am trusting.  I’m not understanding, but then, I guess I don’t have to.

  Only trust.

Worlds of Fun - the hottest day in July 2011 - I loved it when Paul crawled in Snoopy's house so I could tell him that he was finally in the "doghouse" for real!


  1. I don't know if I've recommended the book A Grace Disguised before, by Jerry Sittser. It was the best book on grief I read when I had a miscarriage. It is SO real -- Sittser lost his wife, daughter, and mother in a horrific car crash caused by a drunk driver. Sittser was driving and his 3 other kids were in the car and they weren't badly hurt, but he had to go on with life being a single father to 3 distressed children while mourning his wife, daughter, and mom. I really really recommend the book. I honestly don't think people should expect you to "move on" yet. My husband and I were in emotional crisis for 6 months after our first miscarriage, and we even conceived another baby (who lived) during that time. We both felt like people wanted us to "move on" and while we functioned, we were still grieving and mourning and sorting things out. I know not everyone responds like we do to miscarriage and I don't expect them to. What I'm saying is...you have the right to grieve the way you should, and it is totally reasonable that you are having a very hard time. You are doing what you can and marching forward and caring for your kids so you are doing a great job, but don't push yourself to be "better" for awhile. I think people don't want others to be in the Valley of the Shadow of Death for too long but reality is, sometimes we just have to walk that road and it is tough and hard and sad and depressing and that's just the way it is. My opinion.

    Re your daughter and possible hearing loss...first, it is good she doesn't have hearing loss. Our 2nd son (now age 9) used to alarm me by not seeming to hear me. His hearing tested fine, and I suspected an auditory processing disorder and while we didn't get testing, I did do some cross training brain exercises. (He also has a handwriting glitch.) I used a book by Dianne Craft about getting the brain hemispheres to talk to one another better. He is doing better but it is hard to know how much is just being older and how much is the exercises. Anyway, I know what it is like when a child misses what you are saying, or seems to forget instantly what you said. Frustrating!

    I chuckled a bit inwardly when you talked about your husband resisting doing medical stuff with the kids. My husband is EXACTLY the same way. He always wants second opinions and is doesn't follow the docs blindly, for sure :-).

    God bless, Laraba

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