Sunday, September 30, 2012

Over active tear ducts

Sundays are always special days for me---going to church and feeling the fellowship there. Being among good people, with caring hearts. My heart was full today, as I sat in Sacrament meeting and the hymns played. My heart was so full that it over-filled my eyes and spilled down my face.

I could not stop crying. They were not tears of despair. They were part heartfelt prayer of gratitude for my blessings and part sorrow at circumstances beyond my control. We have been incredibly blessed these past two months. One elderly sister was making a dinner for family---and made an extra pan of it for someone, but she didn't know who. It was for us. She had prayed that morning that she might be of service to someone in need. It was on a night where I'd spent about 12 hours working in the house, trying to fit the four of us into just the upstairs of the house. I was wiped out, exhausted to the point of tears (I have very weak tear ducts)and nearly unable to stand one more minute. The phone call came---we were blessed.

I stopped one day to visit some friends. After talking, and sharing, my overly sensitive tear ducts began spilling over once again. I was humbled by their gift---panicked and torn---not wanting to take the help they offered so tenderly. Their kindness saved us and brought us to our knees in gratitude once again.

My husband's cousin showed up unexpectedly yesterday. He had been to Costco and he arrived bearing a large box----far too much chocolate that is good for us, plus frozen vegetables, bread, and other things. I cried. Of course I cried. It seems to be what I do lately.

Not tears of sorrow and despair, but tears brought forth by the angels Heavenly Father has placed in our path.

A card arrived in our mail last week. Inside was written a sweet note and $100. There was no signature, there was no return address. Nothing that will enable me to say thank you, to write a note and express my humble appreciation for being inspired and acting upon that inspiration. For being God's hands on this earth.

I am so very humbled, grateful, lifted and blessed. We have felt the prayers lifted on our behalf. We have known great sorrow, and continue to travel down those paths, but we do not walk alone. Our burden is lighter for being shared. Our hearts are lifted.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Puppies and Incisions and Interpreting Against the Rules

It's Sunday night. Go time. Get ready to start the week. I spent all day in bed---no, I really did. Yesterday wore me out. We moved Allison into our room, moved us into her room and moved Ashley into our room. Our former room. Now Alli and Ash are sharing our big room and we have the itty bitty room. Stephanie will also be moving into the room with her sisters.

We'll see how long that lasts.

Three girls in one room + two sinks+one shower= future tirades I can already hear from here.

I hope and pray this teaches them compassion, patience, sharing, caring and that they come out on the other side of this experience better human beings. I will do my very best to facilitate this goal. In the mean time, wheeeeee!

Week One down of school and work (for me) It felt like a month. By the time Friday rolled around I was ready to drop. And drop I did. For a whole ten minutes. Then I got up and took Alli to meet her friends at the football game. (Go Thunderbirds!) Then I surprised my father by showing up at my sister's place at Fircrest School. We sat outside in the warm air and visited while Cheri listened to the Statler Brothers on my iPhone and watched a slideshow of the pictures. She LOVES the Statler Brothers. He brought his little Beagle out of his truck so she could pet the doggie.

In other not-so-pretty-looking-pictures, Lance had his first post-op appointment at Harborview on Friday afternoon. This was our very first look at the horrors befallen him in the operating room. It was not a pretty sight---and now he knows why a certain part of the incision was causing him so much pain. It's infected. So he's on some powerful antibiotics. If those don't work, guess where he's going? Yep, a room with a view. See the glory of the leg!

I know, I should have posted a warning about that photo. Trust me, it was worse in real life. He's moving around better on his little knee scooter. I told him that I know part of him enjoys it and he grinned. Yep, he's still a little kid that enjoys rocketing around on little wheelie things. I just hope he doesn't go flying down the stairs on it. He's been told he can go back to work IF HE IS SITTING. So, tomorrow he will try it and see how it goes. I worry. Of course I worry. Now I sound like a Jewish mother---I worry, of course I worry? How could I not?

While we were at the Hospital, a little man was sitting across from us in the casting room. I could tell he wasn't understanding a single word that the doctors or techs were saying to him. I stepped over and asked him if he spoke Spanish. He was SO HAPPY! So I interpreted for him, a blatant no-no in the world of HIPPA and DSHS, but no one seemed fazed by it. The poor man was from Guatamala, has no family here and works as a dishwasher in a restaurant in south Seattle. I helped him get an interpreter signed up for his next hospital visit. Even then, they said they weren't sure they would have one available. Grrrrrrrr. That was upsetting. This is a huge hospital---the regional trauma center and they don't have Interpreters available???How can that be? It felt good to help someone, after being told by my work that I can't help anyone. Sigh.

At any rate, on to read scriptures with the fam and get everyone moving towards bed. Not me though. After having slept all day (migraine) I'm not especially tired. See you on the flip side :)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

My name is not Job....

But I play him on TV

Just kidding. I don't play anyone on TV, although I was once told I have a Doppelgänger in England who is an actress. I'm not sure what this says about the standards of British Television, but to each their own.

I am not Job, of Bible fame. I'm actually quite fine. I'm better than fine, I am humbled and grateful and thankful. There have been so many prayers lifted up on our behalf, so much service given willingly and kindly and .....we have been incredibly blessed. Overcome with the kindness and goodness of people.

Over 30 years ago, I served as a Relief Society President in a Spanish Branch of the church, after my mission to Venezuela. I met a young man there, his name was Mark Body. He married a cute little blond girl, I eventually married a tall blond guy and we went our separate ways. We'd see each other around, or hear of each others families, but we didn't live near each others family until Facebook reconnected Mark's wife Chris and I. Mark and Chris got a phone call Saturday from Kristin Robison (who once lived in our ward but now lives in their ward down south), asking to borrow yard tools. The Body's wanted to know why. Kristin told them she and her girls were coming to help us at our house in Puyallup. Well guess who put his lawn mower and gardening tools and everything else necessary to beautify a yard into his van? Yep. Mark and Christine surprised us there----and those five people worked themselves sweaty in our back yard and at the side of the house. Here are the Robison Girls and their mom Kristin in the back yard. They worked SO HARD!! These are two of the sweetest, kindest and most charitable girls I've ever met. And their mom isn't bad either :)
Mark, despite having an injured foot himself, mowed his heart out. We're so sorry you found out the hard way that there was a big plastic something-or-other under all that stuff and hit it with the lawn mower. Plastic confetti everywhere!

At one point a neighbor behind us poked his head over the fence and told them that this was the best the yard had looked in five years!

And he was right. See?

It needs greening up and needs to have all the weeds killed, but's much better than the waist high weeds and piles of garbage and toys that our renters left. Our neighbor to the left of us has been taking care of our front yard. He has been so sweet to mow and water and it looks AMAZING. He is very particular about his own yard so having our renters be so stupendously neglectful of their yard, drove him insane. He is thrilled to keep up our little patch of green in front, and we are ever so thankful to him. See how pretty it looks?

While those friends were busy outside, two wonderful men from our ward came to tape off the interior so we could get it painted inside. This is Lance on his handy little knee scooter thingy, talking with Brandon Hermanson. Jeff Markham was also there, but I wasn't able to get a picture of him. :( These two men worked and worked and worked. We are so grateful to them for giving up a great chunk of their Saturday in order to provide such a wonderful service.

There have been other kind and sweet and generous incidences in the past few days that have lifted our spirits, that have truly humbled us and we have no words to express our gratitude to you. (You know who you are).

So, no. We are not "Job" of Bible fame. He had all his family die, his livelihood was destroyed and he was covered in boils. None of our family have passed and thus far we are boil free. We will be ok.

And....again thank you. My heart is so full right now. Thank you.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Another Loss

In June my teaching position was cut from the school district. Yesterday my Interpreter position was terminated as well.

I admit that I didn't have a good day yesterday. I wanted to run away---but I had no where to go and a disabled husband and children to get home to and take care of. My running away consisted of driving around aimlessly for about an hour, sobbing and sort of screaming every once in a while. You know, just to let off a little steam.

Not sure it did anything good but it felt good to do something.

So we are now faced with some unpleasantness regarding finances and living arrangements.

I'm feeling a bit shattered and broken of late.
I'm trying not to---but I do.

I'm really doing my best to look on the bright side of things. I spent a good portion of today writing thank you notes to people that have helped us and prayed for us and I was hoping it would take my mind off of things for a bit.

It did. For a bit.

For the record---I still want to run away.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Weary Woman

The Strong Woman has had enough.

"You put four children on this earth and you barely support them" This was sent to her via email by her oldest child. "You barely support them".

Three days after the 24 hours of labor and deliver of this particular child, The Strong Woman spent three days sleeping on a pull out lumpy bed by her infants side at Children's Hospital. She wouldn't allow the nurses to change the diapers, because that was her job. When the infant was in the incubator and the nurse attempted to place the sticky part of the diaper on the tender infant skin---the Strong Woman, who up until that point wouldn't have said boo to a spider because she was Timid Woman, spoke up and made the nurse change her plans so as not to hurt her beautiful infant.

As the infant girl grew, The Strong Woman became even stronger. In fact it was because of the infant that the woman became strong. When the girl was 18 months old, she complained that her back hurt. "Children this young don't have back problems", said the Pediatrician. The Strong Woman forced the doctor to take x-rays anyway. The Strong Woman cried when she was told that her perfect child had a spinal abnormality and would have to wear a body brace for the following year.
The Strong Woman spent the next year struggling and sweating and learning to be stronger as the small child fought having that molded plastic brace cinched onto her body each morning. Arms flailing, legs kicking, voice raised to screaming levels by the child---The Strong Woman stoically took each slap, each kick and continued putting on the brace. Then she would calmly step into the bathroom, close the door and cry.

This child was the end-all-be-all of The Strong Woman's existence. At night, The Strong Woman would lie awake listening to the little girl breathe in and out. The sound filled her heart and soul. She lived and breathed for this tiny person. Once at a grocery store, with the little girl in the front of the grocery cart, an elderly woman approached The Strong Woman. Smiling, the old lady patted The Strong Woman on her shoulder and said she'd been watching her from across the vegetable aisle. "I've never seen such love on a mother's face before. The light in your eyes as you love your baby is so beautiful."

The Strong Woman took her baby on a car trip. Driving with one hand on the wheel, the Strong Woman would soothe her baby with her other hand, finding lost binkies and placing them in her daughter's mouth to comfort her, always keeping her eyes on the road. She loved her baby by touch, holding the tiny perfect hand in hers.

At the hotel in California, while The Strong Woman was out on the balcony looking down at the street, shots were fired between two gang members. The Strong Woman dove inside the hotel room with her infant in her arms, shielding her with her body.

When The Strong Woman gave birth via c-section to a baby boy, she had to spend a week in the hospital recovering. When she finally came home, she sat in a recliner in her basement apartment sobbing her heart out. You see, she felt that by bringing home this second child, she had somehow betrayed her daughter. The light and center of her existence would now have to share the spotlight and The Strong Woman wept.

The Strong Woman would lose two more babies before giving birth to a third and a fourth---each time agonizing over the fact that she might be somehow taking something away from her precious first born. In this, The Strong Woman wasn't very strong.

The girl grew and she made friends with the older girl across the street. When the girl was invited to a birthday party for her friend but wasn't invited to the sleep over that followed, The Strong Woman found her beautiful child weeping on the front porch. The Strong Woman placed her arms around the sobbing child and tried to comfort her as best she could, while fighting the urge to go over there and give the parent's of the birthday girl a HUGE piece of her mind.

The third and fourth babies were born with significant health issues. The Strong Woman spent days and weeks at Children's Hospital in a desperate fight to save their lives. It was hard on the little girl, but there was nothing the Strong Woman could do but put her arms around her and tell her she was loved. The Strong Woman was being torn apart. Years went by on this crazy hospital-therapy-near-death-experiences-and-more, and though the Strong Woman became stronger, she would soak her pillow at night because in order to take care of the most weak and sick amongst her tiny flock, she had to spend time away from her precious first born and this tore at her heart.

She knew, as an adult, that her love and devotion to her first born was in no way diminished, but her first born saw it differently.

The Strong Woman knew her first born was brilliant, so she had her tested for the Highly Capable Program at school. She was accepted and The Strong Woman had to fight to get her placed in the program. But fight she did.

The girl got excellent grades in school and was very smart, but as teenagers often are, the girl was cruel to her mother in the things she said to her. The Strong Woman wept the first time she heard the words yelled in anger, "I HATE YOU". It was a dagger into her heart. The Strong Woman would hear those same words over and over again from her precious daughter. After a while, it stopped bothering The Strong Woman. She built a hard shell around her heart so that those daggers of hate could not enter in and destroy her.

The girl destroyed her parent's van after learning to drive. She drove it straight into the rear end of her friend's vehicle. The Strong Woman could have cared less about the van---her only concern was that her precious first born was safe and unharmed.

All along, the Strong Woman and the man by her side have struggled financially. When the man lost his job, The Strong Woman and he would arise at 2 in the morning to run three paper routes in order to make enough money to feed their four children. When the man lost his job yet again, The Strong Woman and the man cleaned office buildings at night in order to make the mortgage and clothe their children. When things were hard again, the Strong Woman arose at 2 a.m. and worked in a bakery baking bread. Her children never went without.

There were no glitzy trips to Disneyland or Hawaii.
Other families did that. Sometimes the little girl would complain to the Strong Woman about how unfair life was and why couldn't they go on nice trips like her friends did. Deep down inside it hurt The Strong Woman that she was unable to do those things for her children, but she took them to church and she taught them to pray and to love the Lord. She got up at 5 a.m. every school day morning to drive the girl to the early morning seminary class before school in order to give the child a firm foundation in God's word before she went out into the world each day. Still--The Strong Woman always felt inadequate and less than what others were.

The Strong Woman always believed what other people said about her---even what her oldest child said about her.

Life went on. The Girl went to college in another state but did not fit in and did not like it. The Girl was furious that The Strong Woman couldn't pay for her tuition or room and board and was forced to take out a student loan. The Girl was angry that she had to actually work at a janitorial job on campus a couple of days a week. The Girl was booted out of college due to academic reasons and came home to be unhappy once again. The Strong Woman paid tuition for several semesters for The Girl to attend community college and also bought her books and necessary things for her education. In reality, The Strong Woman did not have the means to do this, but she did it nonetheless, all the while working herself and taking care of the other three children and her husband.

The Strong Woman has done the best she could---with the tools she had. The Strong Woman is very weary. "You put four children on this earth and you barely support them." The Strong Woman has need to close the door on this child and send her away until she matures to the point where she finally realizes that life isn't about being given everything in life, but in working for what you want, in SAVING MONEY and in not breaking God's commandments. Wickedness never was happiness and a mother's love never fails....but it does become battered and broken after years of lies and attacks.

The Weary Woman is wounded and tired. She needs to put the painful accusations tossed at her behind her so she can face the new mountains ahead of her.