Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lessons in Summertime

Summer is here, I think. We missed out on summers at home for the last two years, opting instead to be surrounded by the four walls of the NICU and PICU, and the summer before that we were busy moving across town and getting settled into a new place.

But for now, Chloe's still home, so we're hoping that means we actually get to experience a piece of normal summertime.

The kids are signed up for swim lessons in a few weeks. Our son gets to start baseball with a local group of boys just on Saturday mornings, but he is thrilled and has done everything except sleep with his Storm Trooper baseball bat that his daddy spoiled him with. He did sleep with his new glove a few times. And he's learning how to ask for help instead of insisting on doing it himself first. Like finally asking how to throw a baseball, only to have daddy accidentally aim for his nose instead of his glove. So he's also learning that if we're out of ice packs, then a package of frozen peas is just as good. And he's figuring out that some things cannot be learned in a day, but over time and practice.

Our middlest child has picked out the perfect Anna Elsa swimsuit. She does not refer to it as Frozen, rather everything is Anna Elsa. No comma either. And she's also shed a tear because of the unknown that is Summer Swim Lessons. She's in a season of learning how to not talk to strangers, but how to trust and obey parents and swim teachers. And she's insisting that we do summer dance lessons via YouTube tutorials. We've mastered the plie, but beyond that we're still beginners. We because she's convinced me to do it with her. (Lord, help me!).

And our littlest child. She kind of controls the temperature of the entire household, metaphorically and literally speaking. She thinks summertime is for vent weaning, and has the official go-ahead to be off for 20 minutes at a time, three times a day, and so far does this with no oxygen. Her hair is starting to fill in, which is usually a sign for her that she's doing well, but heaven help that poor girl with the petite curls come July's humidity. She's learning to sit up. If you hold her hands now when she's lying down and you gently lift her hands, she takes the cue, lifts her legs, grips her abdomen, tilts her head forward, and after you help her for the first forty-five degrees, then that little woman is sitting up, looking bright-eyed at the worlds around her, and is ready to play. We still need lower torso support, but we're getting there. She's two now, and prefers most of her time to be out of her crib, in her chair, in someone's arms, on the floor wiggling, or on a walk in her stroller.

Oh, and she reminded us this week of just how quickly plans can change by revealing to us a culture growing in her urine after a local lab due to fevers, whereupon {great word, we should revive it and use it more often these days} the local ER got a wee bit nervous and suggested we hightail it to KC for IV antibiotics. There was a flurry of reactions from us for a moment and a slew of thoughts on logistics racing through our heads because our other daughter came down with a cold and fever and thus could not be in the hospital or Ronald McDonald house.

But God....

...Is ever awesome, and Chloe's KC doc said nope, treat at home with antibiotic given through g-tube.

Close call, but we're still home and keeping an eye on things.

Meanwhile, the hubs is balancing full-time work, full-time cuddles with the kids, and part-time online seminary each evening.

And neither of us have had time to mow our lawn, which is now under consideration to become a prairie reserve, although I don't think our neighbors are thrilled. Especially the ones to our left, because there sits a For Sale sign upon their meticulously manicured lawn, while our house looks more like a wildlife refuge for flamingos, gazelles, and pink bicycles.

And my summer plans? Learning patience. Learning to just bask in the moment. We're thankful to be home as a family this summer, but I find myself busying-up. New phrase. Feel free to use it. While I'm excited at the prospect of summertime, I'm trying to not busy-up everything, and just enjoy this season of us all under the same roof, each in our own season of growth and learning and thriving. My summer goals are to keep the family balanced between the new activities and the studying, the therapies for Chloe, and the unpacking.

Oh. Did I mention we're moving across town, closer to my husband's work? And 2.6 seconds closer to the hospital and pharmacies? Yeah. Couldn't let this summer slide by without some big change. So there's that too. The art of packing and unpacking.

I've already stripped the walls of all their decorative frames, pictures, canvases, and chalkboards. There was an obnoxious amount of chalkboards in this house. I'll place blame on my husband and say he loves them, though obviously I'm the culprit.

It's weird now to look around the house, half boxed up, with blank walls at every turn. The light catches a nail that's still left in the drywall, that at some point pierced a blank and stale wall in order to make it more vibrant and beautiful by hanging something beautiful over that dull space, making a once dry wall (pun) into a more vivid statement. Or, in my case, I usually don't measure twice, nail once, so there's nail and screw holes in abundance along with random pencil markings now off-center, and I try to center the picture over all of the failed attempts that have now dirtied up the gentle yellow paint, covering up the stains on the wall with beauty instead. Random poll: Do you measure, or eye-ball?

Isn't Christ like that? He died on the cross to cover up our pencil marks and busted up walls we've put up around ourselves, and instead hangs this beautiful image over our failed ones. And even some of the walls that never held a picture, that seem still unblemished after these last three years, upon closer inspection could use a touch up and new coat of paint, perhaps because the closer you inspect the wall, while from a distance it looks nice, up close is covered in tiny dings and scratches and accidental ink marks. Isn't that also like Christ? To till up the stale ground and cause a new sprout to push through, in hopes of a new bloom, often times even when we think that the grass growing there was perfectly content to begin with when in reality there was potential for a garden full of daisies to grow?

The process of packing up three years of life and unfolding it piece by piece into another home seems a bit overwhelming in this moment of our lives, but there's a trust in this season that He will provide the time and energy, and Chloe to continue to be healthy at home, and use this season to continue to cultivate our lives more into His plans. We're excited for the new layout which will help with Chloe's needs and our family's needs. And to hang back up those chalkboards.

And perhaps how to throw a baseball.
And how to twirl.
And how to breathe on our own.
And of the scriptures that breathe life into us on their own.
And of patience and trust and renewal.

I'll leave you to guess which of those fits each member of our family, and bid you good luck in watching for the first fireflies of the season.

**Editor's Note:
Here's a link if you'd like to look up more about the correct usage of the word whereupon
I might add that it is apparently still used these days...though mostly on legal documents and police crime reports. My personal goal is to use it in texts with my husband and not need to associate it with any crime reports. Ten points each if you can leave a sentence below in the comments using the word whereupon correctly. Twenty points for whoever sticks a lawn flamingo in our refuge. 


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