2.21.2011

Serving Her

Often, I read that when asked how they manage life under such unique circumstances, a mom of a child with special needs will respond, "What choice do I have?"

I've said this too.  To some extent, it is true.  What choice do I have?  Of course I'm going to get my children medical treatment.  Of course, I'm going to get him prosthetics.  Of course we're going to sacrifice in other areas to be able to pay medical bills or transportation bills for appointments.  Of course I'm going to make sure they get the therapies they need.  Of course I'll purchase or make the equipment they require.  Of course I'll get up multiple times during the night to do cast care diaper changes.  Of course I'll spend up to two hours of my day doing just one cast care routine.

But, the truth is, we do have a choice.

Though we never considered abortion a choice, it was a choice offered to us by doctors.  We chose to carry our precious babies to term and to offer them a chance at life - regardless of a diagnosis or prognosis.

We have continued to make choices as parents - choices to get second and third opinions.  Choices to get better therapies.  Choices to get new equipment or treatments.  Choices to pursue surgeries or therapies.  Choices to discipline in certain ways.  Choices as to what our expectations are.  Choices about nutrition.  Choices.  Constantly making choices.

I think that ultimately every parent has a choice.  We can choose to parent because we've been given children.  Or, we can choose to parent our children well, because it is our honor to do so.

The Saturday after Ellie's surgery, I was struggling inwardly with God.  I was emotional, sleep deprived, exhausted, and heartbroken for my baby and myself.  Most of those circumstances haven't changed since that day.

But, that morning, I felt like God whispered to me that I had a choice.

(Usually I am in the kitchen when I feel His nudges.  I wasn't in the kitchen this time & have hardly been there since surgery since so many have graciously brought us our meals.  Also, usually He doesn't whisper to me - usually I feel like He is striking me with a giant (soft) brick in order to get my attention.  This time was a gentle whisper.)

My choice?

I could choose to endure this season of spica cast with resentment and bitterness.
Or
I could do it well.  I could do it with grace.  I could use it as a unique opportunity to serve my daughter.  I can serve her in a way few other parents get to serve their children.  She may never know or realize and that makes it even sweeter somehow.  I can serve her as an extension of my complete adoration and love for her.

Since that day, my perspective has drastically changed.

It doesn't make things easier, but it gives it more purpose.  It doesn't mean that there aren't moments I just think, I just have to get through this.
But, I have changed the way I am thinking to realizing that in getting through - I can do it resentfully or I can do it gracefully.  I can serve her or I can just get by.

We used to pray nightly that the months in a spica cast would just go by so quickly.  But, that never felt right to me.  Suddenly, I knew why.  I don't want months 6-9 of her first year of life to fly by.  I want to savor them.  I want to remember these days.  I want to notice every little thing about her & not miss anything.  I want to memorize her and these precious months.  It goes by so quickly anyway.  I don't want to resent the spica.  It's taking enough for me already (sleep, time spent with friends/exercising/etc, bathing her)... I refuse to let it also take these months from me.

We don't pray that anymore.  We pray that we will endure.  We pray for grace to get through it.  But I don't pray for it to go quickly.  Months 6-9 in an infant's life are important months.  I don't want them to go by so quickly.  Even if it means she is in spica.

Months 6-9 are giving me a unique opportunity to serve my daughter.  They are giving me teaching moments with Will as he learns to serve his sister in his own way (bringing diaper supplies, entertaining her, learning that the world doesn't revolve around him, practicing patience, etc.)

We don't have children because life is all about us.  (Or if we do, we quickly learn I think that it is not about us!)  I believe parents generally serve their children.  We all have ways we serve and sacrifice - our bodies, our time, our spontaneity, our finances, our dream home.  What I am learning is that part of the bonus of being  a parent of a child with differences is that I have some unique opportunities to serve my child(ren.)

Three months in a spica.  Three months to simply serve her.  Three months to cast aside much of how I knew life and to spend it serving my family.  Three months to really continue to learn the blessing of allowing others to serve us and to receive grace (just today, a woman from church came to run Ellie's cast cooler & help pack, another took Will for a playdate, a third is bringing us dinner, a fourth volunteered to run to the grocery store for me and a fifth is coordinating all those who want to help so that I don't have to.   We are so thankful to be served by others right now... which frees me up to serve Ellie.)  Three months to take extra time to diaper and care for her unique needs.  Three months to comfort her any way I can.

I believe months 6-9 just might be some of the most precious three months we know as a family this year.

(And also the most exhausting.  But that's ok. :) )

6 thoughts:

~Stevie~ said...

You are tha bomb, Katie! Gave me a whole new perspective on the Dude as well. I enjoyed our chat the other night! Love you, friend.

Linda said...

It is amazing how God can switch our thinking of our circumstances. Thanks for the loving reminder to us! Your children are blessed to have wonderful parents.

Mike and Christie said...

What a great perspective! :) Our lives are not our own..... and we have the best of God's plan. :)

Ashton said...

Katie,
Thanks so much for sharing! This was such a great reminder to me and something I definitely needed to read. I think every Mommy gets stuck in some kind of rut and our human nature is to think "poor me".
You are so right, we have a choice to endure it and be happy or atleast try or we can sulk about it.
I do think its fine and healthy to have a good cry once in awhile, but no matter what, we make our way back to realizing how very blessed we are that God chose us to be Mommies, no matter what the circumstances.
And I am certain that all the ways you serve your children will just be that much more reassurance to them of your love for them and strengthen your bond. You are an amazing Mommy!

Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful perspective! Stay positive and watch your beautiful baby girl grow before you. Will too :)

gtown1 said...

So beautifully written, loved reading it and so thankful God nudged you in that perspective.
Love you sister, ejw

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