Friday, October 9, 2015

Laundry Baskets of Grace {Real Life}

I think we've hit survival mode. And by hit, I think a while ago, past-tense, not present-tense hit. Or as my almost six-year-old says, we've hitted

I was up last night till 2am. I actually went to bed with the kids at 9:30pm and began a new night time routine of reading my old Little House on the Prairie books. I was secretly skipping words and paragraphs because I realized how much the beloved writer likes to give details of scary wolves outside their door and descriptives of hanging the hide of the deer up to dry, hoping my kiddos wouldn't get scared or ask midnight questions about butchering. Perhaps I should have skipped to chapter two. 

But I didn't stay in bed. I came back down and managed to waste time until 2am on blogs, youtubes, facebook, prayer (that wasn't a waste of time), and more blog reading because I was trying to distract myself from missing my sweet Chloe girl. 

I'm home with the kids while Alan is with Chloe because our oldest got a virus, and now a cold. We're exercising respect for other sick kiddos in the Ronald McDonald House and choosing to not expose them to our germ bugs. And we can't be around Chloe with these bugs. So we're home, they're there, we're all over the map, and if you want to get technical, even in two different states. Each day I think we're good enough to go back and see her, someone sneezes or coughs or snots. And I know we must stay.

"Mommy!!!! M-O-M-M-Y!!! So I sneezed and this BIG snot came out and it took FOUR PIECES OF TOILET PAPER to clean up!!!"

My handsome blonde-haired eldest felt the need to yelp this to me, his voice trampling through the shower curtain and bursting into my hot water and shampoo. 

"Mommy, I goed waters on the potty and wiped myself and now I'll go get dressed!!" said my four year old, who forgot to flush and because I was freshly clean and on high germ alert I ninja-kicked our toilet handle. I don't trust where her sweet little hands have been in the ten minutes I was in the shower with my eyes off her. 

We're in survival mode. It's 10:14am and I just preheated the oven for canned cinnamon rolls. It's 10:20am and I just started the first pot of coffee. I'm the only adult at home and I poured a six-cup pitcher into the reservoir. I don't know how much I'll drink, but subconsciously I guess a lot. And I'll teach my kids the meaning of the word brunch whose real meaning is "missed breakfast". 

Yesterday, the child whom I thought would sleep in after a restless night of fevers, hovered over my head till I awoke, then told me he had a surprise for me and Abi. Breakfast, made perfectly by him and included a love card. {And deep down I was slightly nervous to eat this considering the sizeable amounts of sneezing and snot that had preceeded his announcement. I think I prayed over each bite that I wouldn't inherit any germs}. 

I cancelled homeschool today in an attempt to just. be. To let my snotting son rest and watch movies because otherwise his body is on the go and he refuses to surrender to the bug within him, until finally night creases and he's exhausted and having night sweats and temps. I'm going to force feed him Netflix today. You can mail me my Best Parent award, but no rush. Our mail is usually held till the weekend because we're never home. 

Yesterday's homeschool lesson plan included him reading out loud to me while I cleaned his room and his sister watched alphabet DVD's. I then made him help work on his war zone and will write in the lesson plan "Life Skills Day". And on Life Skills Day we also made a trip to Target for toothbrushes because the mama forgot to pack the ones from our city house and realized yesterday, day 3 of being home, that we had none and my child's teeth would soon resemble that of the Grinch if we did not venture out. And we bought toothpaste. Not that it mattered because more ended up on the sink and towel than in their little mouths. 

Abi's life-skill challenge of the day is to learn to use a brush. And to apply mommy's make-up better. Note the suitcase in the background...

Our laundry baskets are heaping with clean laundry, mostly folded. I don't mention this because it's another real-not-perfect moment to bask in with other moms or to boast in the fact that most of it is clean and at least off the floor, but because we literally live out of suitcases and laundry baskets for travel. We've ceased using our dressers and closets. Takes too long to pack on the fly.

I wear a Garmin because I don't have time or finances or routine or schedule or motivation for a gym. But these days instead of trying to reach my challenged 10,000 steps, I use it to remember the date and track my sleep cycles to assure myself I am getting sleep. Or remind myself when I'm not. 

I wrestle with guilt on a near daily basis, between worrying about our littlest and trying to get things done, with wanting to play with my other littles and give them quality time. It's a hard balance because there are days I'm so distracted with Chloe stuff, but have to balance that with parenting and behavior issues and life skills (yes, dear sweet girl, you DO have to zip and button your pants! No you cannot just let it all hang out all day. Now please, PLEASE just zip them up!). We struggle with spoiling-detox and then the next day cave into whatever they want because we can't give anymore of ourselves. We're spent. It's hard to strive for routine in a non-routine season. It's hard to address the issues any parent would face, but in the face of a crazy two-year season of not-normal.

Typical texts between husband and wife:

"Rounds just went by. Everyone agreed that she's ever so slightly better, which after a week of worse or she still looks bad was a tiny bit encouraging."

                   "Ok. I'm still hesitant to breathe yet though."

"I absolutely agree."

And on top of this, I lecture myself on grace. Please don't ever get the wrong idea from this blog. Our lives are in a rough spot right now, but we do truly cling to our Jesus through this. But that doesn't mean that we're walking this road with a smile and we should have on our running shoes and embrace each step-that's what we try to do, but honestly it's more like stilettos on a rocky and steep decline. Truth is, we're broken. And most days I spend more time trying to squelch the lies of the enemy than I do just resting in His presence. I feel under attack often. As if it's not hard enough to be a woman, a mom, a wife, a follower, and constantly struggle with self-image and insecurities and I constantly struggle with pride and with what others think of me, but add to that that I'm walking a life I never imagined on a path I didn't pack the right shoes for in a season I didn't expect in a dry desert where I can't breathe because the air is so heavy. Thankfully I have my love by my side and my Saviour as my guide. I did not mean to rhyme that. Perhaps Dr. Seuss and BOB Books have been read in this house too much these days. But it's the truth. Literally. I cannot make it through a single day without Him. 

Because truth is that God CAN give you more than you can handle. And He will. If you don't believe that, go back to the beginning of this post and re-read. We're in survival mode. We're proof, our lives are proof, that the Lord WILL at some point hand you something that you cannot face alone not to prove to yourself that you're strong enough to handle it, but to drive you to your knees and to your tears to cry out to Him for strength. 

And then seek Him. I'm learning to seek Him. To stop drowning myself in Netflix and mindless time-consuming ways, and instead I'll focus on Him. Using this time at home with my kiddos as a sort of "retreat" to dive into scripture and encouraging messages filled with Truth and focusing what little energy I have left after wiping noses and disinfecting counters to soak in Truth and surround myself with fixing my eyes on the cross. 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

And I let the laundry sit. And I learn the hard way to give myself grace. And I'll crank my Christmas music {note that I said music, not carols or Jingle Bells...that stuff can wait} even against nay-sayers who insist it not be heard until after Thanksgiving, because Christmas music early is my way of focusing and anticipating the birth of the One and only Healer who came to set the world straight and wipe away every sorrow and disease.  And I try to focus on His love for me, for us, for Chloe.


  1. I just found you through bible journaling hashtag on Instagram (I'm @liveart_fully), and clicked over to your blog to learn more about your sweet Chloe girl. I'll be praying for you and your family in this very challenging time. Looking forward to reading more. Coffee and sleep be unto you, Strong Mama!