Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 539


Nov. 24, 2014

Day 539


I sat down at the computer last night to blog.  But first, I followed a link to a fellow widow's blog and found myself so impressed with her site that I immediately had to change my own.  Why do I do this?  Why am I incapable of accepting that I am, at best, computer-illiterate?  Honestly, I've been doing good the last six years to just get my thoughts from a Word document into Blogger.  Why do I think I can compete with my more tech savvy friends?  As it turned out I sat at this computer for over THREE hours working on my blog site.  At one point, around 11:30 I was hyperventilating because I thought I had just ruined my blog.  I had gadgets stuck on there I couldn't get off and now I was going to be utterly humiliated every time anyone logged onto my site.  I'd just have to shut the whole thing down and start a new one but then I'd lose my readers (you know, all three of them) and oh, what was I going to do?  You know, there is a reason people design websites for money.  It's because there are some people that are only good with words, not html type and other stuff not understandable by mere mortals. 


As you can see, I eventually got it figured out - somewhat, anyway.  I got my daisy background, which I wanted.  I was aiming for something restful and healing.  I may tweak with it a little bit in coming days, but for now, it's done.  I wanted to get a picture of our family at the top and actually created this really cute header with the picture - but it was too small and I don't know how to enlarge it.  Then, I tried inserting a picture and it didn't look so good with the title over the top and then I tried it another way and my title completely disappeared.  I figured a title is more important than a family picture so I gave up at about that point. 


It was close to 12:30 when I crawled into bed - without showering, which is something I never do.  I HATE the feeling of an unwashed body on sheets.  I was so tired, though, that I just shucked off my clothes, turned the heated blanket on high and snuggled under the covers.


And found out that while my body was tired, my mind was now awake, thanks to three hours of having to think and be stimulated by the computer.  Ugh.  On top of that, the wind was howling pretty fiercely.  Our garbage can was set out by the alley for the next morning's pick up and since we had an over-abundance of garbage this week (I cleaned out my freezers - I even found a macaroni dish someone brought to us right after Paul died) the lid wouldn't go down and it thumped against the side of the can all.night.long.  So, I finally got up and took an Advil PM.  I knew that wasn't good since I had to be up in 5 1/2 hours.  It worked and I fell asleep.


Until 2 am when I heard gligitty, gligitty, SWACK, gligitty, gligitty, SWACK!  The icemaker was at it again.  The icemaker is in the fridge - well, the freezer - which is positioned on the other side of my bedroom wall.  It's been giving me problems for months.  Sometimes it gets stuck when trying to pop out the ice.  I even had someone look at and do some research for me this summer.  The end consensus was that the fridge is 3 1/2 yrs old, fridges don't last for decades like they used to, and LG parts are frightfully expensive to buy, even if you can figure out what the problem is - which the guy who looked at it couldn't.  So I'm stuck with the problem until the icemaker decides to totally die or the entire fridge takes a dump.  It doesn't do it all the time - just in spurts.  So, I had to get up at 2, poke at the icemaker, and it quieted down.  I went back to sleep.


Until 4 am when the icemaker serenaded me once again.  This time I had the forethought to turn the thing off.  But when I stumbled out of bed at 6:40 to get Ben ready for school, I could barely speak, I was so out of it.  I tossed a poptart on the counter, suggested he wear a coat to school, and curled up on the couch, hoping I'd hear the schoolbus in time to alert Ben.  Then I went back to bed - something I learned long ago I cannot do because I will always fall into a heavier sleep.  But of course I couldn't because about 15 min. into my sleep, I hear heavy breathing by my cheek.


"Mom?  Are you awake?"  No.  Go away.


"Mom?"  Somebody had better just opened an artery or smelled smoke...

"Mom?  Can I play the i-pad?"  I've changed my mind.  None of them were "wanted" children.



I had enough time after awakening to get ready and then drive down to Ben's school to pick him up.  I have applied for Disability for him since he's now 18 and I had a letter in the mail about ten days ago from Social Security telling me I had better show up at this doctor's appointment they had made for Ben or he'd be denied. 

I was immediately on the defensive because the doctor had an Indian name.  It's not that I have anything against Indian doctors, but I never know how well I'm going to be able to understand them.  Some of them have very thick accents and my hearing is deficient, anyway.  I don't always understand the stuff my own kids say, who talk in perfect American.  Plus, I always am reminded of when I was a teenager and suffered from near constant, debilitating migraines and one Indian neurologist tried to tell me I was merely "stressed out" because I was a senior in high school.  And then there was Dr. Gupta I saw over in Indianola a few years ago for some foot problem I was having.  I can't even remember what it was - must have resolved itself.  He took one look at my feet, gasped, and informed me that my feet were "deformed" and  I needed to have immediate surgery where he would break the bones in my feet to correct my deformity.  Uh, huh.  I mentioned this to a nurse friend of mine who demanded to know who this dr was.  She then said, "I knew it!" and informed me he was in the process of being sued for doing this surgery on another woman and permanently crippling her.  Oh, I remember now - I had plantar warts.  That's what it was.

As it turned out, though, this dr that I saw today was perfectly nice and spoke very good English.  Still, I was blunt with him and said I didn't understand why we had to see him (rather than our family dr)  and that I was somewhat dubious of his ability to make a recommendation concerning Ben when he doesn't even know him!  I became somewhat alarmed when he mentioned that he didn't think Ben seemed all that "off" physically.  But we talked and he assured me that he would definitely be recommending that Ben receive benefits.  He said he thought that Ben's cognitive deficits were more of a concern and I can agree with that.   I made a point to tell him, then, of all the ways I could think of that Ben's cerebral palsy does affect his life.  I think I did pretty good, considering my lack of sleep the night before.

I needed to run to Walmart after the appointment for a number of things, but when I arrived at Methodist, I realized I couldn't find my list anywhere.  Then I remembered that I had suddenly realized, while still home,  that I had more gray hair showing than brown and needed to remedy that ASAP, so I had written, "root dye" on my list and I probably left it at home.  I called David, thinking he could read it to me, but he couldn't find the list.  Drat.  It wasn't in my purse, couldn't find it my pockets.  I was going to have to go home, find the list, and then drive down to the Walmart in Knoxville, further cutting into my day.

So we parked on the third level of the lot, and I decided to take the stairs down to the first level because I need to do something to combat all my other unhealthy lifestyle habits.  We did that and went to the appointment.  As we were walking back, I thought, "Maybe we should take the elevator since this time we'll be going UP."  But then visions of Halloween candy and birthday cake and ice-cream at bedtime floated into my head and I resolutely told Ben, "We're taking the stairs!"  It's a good thing we did because as we approached the first step, I happened to look down - and there was my shopping list on the floor in front of the step.  I don't know how many dozens of people had walked right over that  thing or how it avoided being blown away when the sliding doors to the garage would have opened and shut the multitude of times for the hour we were at the appointment.  I told Ben, "See how good God was to save this for us!"  He was happy because it meant we'd get to go to a Des Moines Walmart.  Walmart makes him very happy.  I was happy because I could get that errand done and over with.  I just wonder how it fell in the first place.  Where was it that I couldn't find it when still in the van when we arrived?


Will got my new treadmill put together Saturday.  Now I have no excuse to not exercise.  Well, I'm sure I can come up with many excuses, actually!  I bought just a basic, manual, folding model.  I roll it in front of the tv and make myself walk.  I need to.  I've been gaining weight and lately I just haven't felt comfortable in my skin.  I'm achy and out of sorts.  I am getting suspicious that there is something hormonal going on.  I'm not sleeping well, either, even on nights that I'm not interrupted by the computer, kids, and ice-maker.

Will also installed a fan in the bathroom.  He said he wanted to do that and that sounded like a good idea to me.  I had no idea that he was going to put in something that ranks a decibal level that's on par with say, a turbo jet.  Wow - so much for relaxing bath times and or slowly coming to life in the shower first thing in the morning!  I may need to look into some sign language classes because at this rate, I'll lose my hearing a little earlier than when I anticipate losing it with the natural aging process.  Like when I'm 47.


Last Friday night added a few gray hairs that I need to cover now.  I was supposed to meet Will in Ankeny at his employment to drop off David.  They planned to go to some Christmas thing in the East Village and then go see Joseph at the Civic Center.  I was supposed to meet him at 5.  I still forget how much Ankeny has changed in the 25 years since I was student there.  It was SO busy the other night - total bumper to bumper traffic.  I was so slowed down that Will ended up having me meet him somewhere else.  I would not want to live there, that's for sure.  Then, I had to get back on I-80, go to Urbandale, pick up the Littles, and then get back on I-80 and take it to 65S.  That's a trip that normally takes 15 min. during the weekday.  So I just started praying that God would go ahead of me and make a smooth ride without any traffic conditions that would cause traffic to come to a standstill.  I was already late and I had to be down in Pleasantville by 6:30 at the latest for the school musical Ben wanted to attend.

And He did.  I arrived at the school with plenty of time to spare before the musical.  I assumed it was going to be a packed-out event like the concerts always are, but it wasn't.  The kids and I had our pick of seats and thoroughly enjoyed the students' rendition of "The Wizard of Oz."  It was good!  Ben laughed a lot and the Littles were full of questions about what they were seeing. 

Will and David didn't enjoy their show quite as much, though.  When Will and I went to see the Piano Guys in Oct. he saw posters in the Civic Center advertising "Joseph and the Amazing Techni-color Dreamcoat."  He thought it sounded good but  I wasn't so sure - the title seemed to indicate a potential for blasphemy, I thought.  So I did some research.  I found really great reviews - people praising how Biblically sound the  musical is and so forth. Our local Christian radio station started airing ads for it, too.  Assuming it was something like what the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson offers, I bought the tickets for the boys. 

The boys got home and just shook their heads.  They were put out that it was only singing - not songs interspersed with acting.  And, the musical was NOT Biblical at all, it sounds like.  Will said that Joseph's dreams were of things in modern times like trains and cars - huh?  And then they had Joseph in bed with Potipher's wife, which did not happen, either!  It makes me wonder what Bible all the people who promoted this as being sound are reading!  What a waste of time and money...


Frustrated today...have I mentioned how much I loathe dealing with governmental agencies?  A few years ago I quit dealing with TMS, which is the agency that provides transportation reimbursement for gas costs for Medicaid members.  I got so fed up with them that I decided it was not worth the hassle.  Well, then this whole Iowa City dental thing for Ben came up and decided it would be financially best if I tried to jump through their hoops in order to recoup some of the gas expenditure this would require.  I didn't do it for the first trip and another trip I couldn't do because I didn't call it in in time (not that anyone bothered telling me that I had to call at least two days before a scheduled trip).  But I did get a check for one and I sent in paperwork for another.  Today I got notice that trip was being denied because they didn't have an out-of-county request form.  I took care of that in Sept. and was told that it was good for six months.  So I called them and was actually very nice despite having been on hold for 15 minutes.  You get more flies with honey, they say.  They told me they never got the out-of-county form.  I told them I took care of it and besides - you paid me for one of the trips so how can you say you never got the form?  Well, they replied, that was probably a mistake.  They tell me to get another form.  I say ok.  After all, I have so much time to re-do things!  They'll fax the paperwork to the referring dentist, they say.  Oh, look, they say - they already have the fax number and rattle it off to me.  The number is off by one digit.  I point this out to them and they say, well, that  could be why they never got the paperwork back from our local dentist. 

Could be.

Then they say that they cannot pay me for the trip that's been denied.  I tell them, think again.  I didn't make the mistake - you did.  I'll have to check with my supervisor, I'm told.  You do that, I say.  I'm on hold for quite awhile longer,  It will be ok, I'm finally told, but I have to call back tomorrow and make sure they receive the fax with the form.  And no, I cannot talk to this representative directly.  I can only phone in to the call center and explain everything



I'm finding that I'm more emotional as we move into the holidays.  I don't think it's as bad as last year, but it still hurts.  I just have zero anticipation for the holidays.  I want to survive them, like last year.  But I'm not excited about them.  That said, I did find the most adorable ballerina outfit for Ellie on-line over the weekend.  I'm going to hit the children's consignment stores and see if I can find her some actual ballet shoes to go with them.  I'm kind of excited about this.  She is going to be so thrilled!  I must be a good mom if I'm still willing to make a good Christmas for a child that drives me absolutely insane most of the time.

The other day I  was on Facebook and someone had posted a meme about how successful parenting will only happen when a father fully supports his wife and she knows she has that support.  It was some quote by Dr. Dobson who I really respect in matters of parening. If he says it's true, it must be.  I just lost it.  I sat at my computer and cried and cried.  I'm already more emotional because of the season and like I mentioned earlier, I think I have some hormonal issues happening.  But it just touched a very raw nerve, too.  I want these kids to turn out right so badly.  Having children that love the Lord more than anything else in life is my ultimate desire.  Nothing else matters.  But I feel so inadequate to do this job without a husband.  How on earth can children turn out ok when they don't have a dad?  Most of the time I am just so tired, worn-out, and defeated by the daily struggles of parenthood - feeding the kids, transporting them everywhere, taking care of them physically, and  keeping them from killing themselves and eachother, that I feel like I am failing miserably.  Single parenthood creates a burden like no other.  I never knew.  I kind of feel like I am destined for failure because I don't have a husband.  And that thought just tears me apart.

See, now I'm crying again.

Better go make some supper before they start gnawing on the table legs...


I'm still working on catching up on my scrapbooking.  Actually, my scrapbooking group will be coming to my house for the first time in Jan.  It only took ten years for me to feel like my house was finally ready to host something like that!  Anyway, last week I was working on my pictures of the adoption more than a year ago.  I felt something powerful just kind of shake loose in me as I did so.  The day of the adoption was a good one and I was grateful for it and have good memories of it. 

But I was still so numb that day.  I had imagined this day over and over in my  mind even before I knew we were going to pursue adoption. That makes sense if you know my whole story concerning the call God placed in my heart as a child about adoption.  It finally arrived but it was so different than how I had imagined it would be because my life had just been turned upside down and in the midst of that craziness I was agreeing to permanently commit to two more children.  I wouldn't have done it any other way, though.  Those girls were mine from the moment I received the phone call about them.

Scrapbooking the pictures I was just impressed with what a momentous day it truly was. I didn't have these thoughts that day sitting in the courtroom.  They're arriving with the distance of time.   Legally becoming the mother of someone else's children is huge.   Because of another woman's loss (albeit deserved) I gain the love of two little girls.  I am the one teaching them  about womanhood, helping them develop character, and pointing them to the one Parent Who will never fail them.  I am the one who gets to tuck them every night and hear their dreams and observations about life.  I get to watch them grow into young women some day and I will be the grandmother cuddling their babies.  Adoption is so powerful, merging the two events of Loss and Gain into one beautiful legal document that says,

They're yours.


Lizzie was helping me cook the other day and asked if she could put some food into the "smooshitizer."  She meant the food processer.  It cracked me up and I will probably always refer to it now as the "smooshitizer!"  I just love it!

Sam pulled out his other top tooth tonight.  He pounded down the steps to show me.  I love that I am still the number one person he wants to share his joys with.  And I am totally loving his gaping smile right now!


I got an anonymous check in the mail this week.  Well, I'm pretty sure I know who it's from, but they want to keep it private and so I will honor that.  I was definitely grateful for that.  But you know what pleased me even more?  The envelope was addressed to "Mrs. P. Heywood."  That meant a lot.  He isn't forgotten.  I am still part of a unit, even if one half is in Heaven.


Ben did well at Sp., Olympics bowling Sat, earning a silver medal.  As I watched him from behind, I realized, for the first time, how broad his shoulders have grown.  Maybe it's a combination of parent-teacher conferences, his birthday, and IEP meeting all this month, but I am just feeling so crazy in love with this boy of mine lately.  While at the games I was chatting with the grandmother of one of Ben's teammates.  Before I realized what I was saying, I said, "Having Ben is one of the best things that's ever happened to me."  I surprised myself by saying that.  But what was more surprising was the realization that it's true.

I didn't always feel this way.  For years I grieved the loss of the boy I was supposed to have.  I felt like everyone else had been given exactly what they wanted, while I was stuck with the broken present.  I loved him.  From the first moment I spied his diaper-clad body covered in tubes and wires as he fought for his life in that isolette in the NICU, I knew I would fight for  and protect this baby with every breath in my body.  I remember begging God to spare his life, even if it meant I would bring home a near-vegatative child.  And then I felt guilty for praying that.  But I didn't change my prayer.  Many times, though, in the ensuing years I would wonder why God had allowed Ben to live.  Wouldn't all our lives, especially Ben's,  have been so much easier and better if he'd just been allowed to slip home to Glory where he would be free from a body and brain with limitations?  Sure, I'd have the broken heart of a parent who has buried a child, but surely that would be preferable to all that I had to deal with now.

The hurt of watching other little boys his age jump, chatter, and play...while Ben watched.  The nightmare of his eczema. Trying to keep him from causing bodily harm to himself.  The tantrums.  The tube feeding. The dour specialists. Watching Ben live inside his own mind where I wasn't invited. The odd behaviors.  The violent behaviors. His apparent non-emotion. The developmental delays. The allergies. The worries about his future.

When Ben was little I didn't have the network of fellow special needs moms that I do now.  Part of that was on purpose.  I didn't want to be part of that group.  But when he was two I happened to be at ladies' retreat where I met a lady who had a mentally handicapped teenage son.  I sought her out and I asked her, "If God gave you the choice, would you take your son as he is or would you ask to have him given to you with a healthy and whole mind?"  She looked at me, perplexed, and said, "I just don't know!" 

Well, I know now.  I'd ask for Ben to be exactly who He is, the way God allowed him to be.  I'd take him with his quirky routines, and his excited jumping, his obsession with all things Wheel of Fortune, and his still-messy eating skills.  I'd take his big hugs, his fear of "being in trouble," and the deep thoughts he writes for his school papers. I'd take his still unclear future and my fears of being eighty-five and still holding his hand in parking lots.

Ben, being Ben, exactly the way he is - not as he might have been - is truly one of the best things to ever happen to me. 

I'm only sorry it took me so long to recognize that.











  1. Psalm 68:5 - "A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
    Is God in His holy habitation." (NASB)

  2. I really want to address that meme quote about dad must support mom for kids to be parented well...

    I have a hard time believing Dobson would actually say that, but I do NOT think it is true.

    My husband and his sister grew up in a broken home with an emotionally unhealthy father and a loving but quite overwhelmed mother who became a single parent when my husband was 11. Both K. and his sister are committed Christians. I grew up as one of 3 kids in an intact family with Christian parents. Right now, I am the only one of the 3 of us following Christ. It definitely MATTERS that we are stable, loving parents but God works in the most mysterious of ways. I know with all my heart that His hand is on your children. He is watching out for them. He is filling in the gaps and smoothing out the mountains for you and the kids. It is really really hard. You've gone through a tragedy that few do. But He is with you and He is watching over your children and He will never leave them or forsake them OR YOU.

    God bless you, Sarah.