Squeeze Your Cheeks

Gideon’s big sister has always provided us with laughter…whether she intends to or not. I’m convinced her God given purpose in life is to make others smile.

Today I opened my Timehop app to find a very precious memory from 3 years ago.

We were driving home from Frisco when Laynie (age 2 at the time) announced that she needed to “poo-poo.” Successful potty training had recently happened a few weeks prior, so she was still new to her “big girl” panties.

I asked if she could hold it until we got home, but that option was quickly shot down by big fearful eyes accompanied by the dramatic head shake, saying no!  So I told her to squeeze her cheeks until we could pull over and find a bathroom….a few seconds later I glanced in my rear-view mirror and this is what I saw…

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I almost ran us off the road because I was laughing so hard. I’m still not sure why I was surprised by her literal interpretation of the phrase squeeze your cheeks.

We pulled into the first gas station we saw, only to find their bathroom was out of order. Thankfully we were a block away from Central Market, so we headed straight for it. Kevin dropped us off at the front door and as it turned out, we safely made it to the bathroom without an accident. However, in the moments that followed, I was a bit frustrated with my daughter. I spent a good 60 seconds disinfecting their toilet that day so she could sit on it like a big girl…. only to pass gas.  

Yup, it was a false alarm. I made her sit there and try for a good five minutes though; because mama doesn’t clean other places toilets for false alarms, sweetie. 

But I did that day… You’re welcome Central Market.

Oh and in case you were wondering, Laynie now knows which cheeks to squeeze.

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Timely Encouragement

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Yesterday I had a really bad day. In fact, I haven’t been in a funk like that since Gideon was in the hospital (which was back in October)!

Nothing major happened, Gideon was just being stubborn when it came time to eat. He was holding food in his mouth for 5-7 minutes at a time. He hasn’t quite learned how to spit it out yet, but yesterday he found that if he just relaxes his lips, everything will just slip out. To make matters worse, he was doing this with his favorite meals!! You know, the ones I MAKE! One feeding took 90 minutes, and he still didn’t finish the jar!! Talk about frustrating!

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I guess he’s gearing up for the terrible-twos??

As I sat there, repeating “swallow” over and over again, I remembered the day I bargained with God over his feedings. Gideon was almost a year old and he wasn’t eating at all. In my desperation, I prayed something like this- “God I don’t care how long each meal takes, if you’ll just allow him to eat by mouth so he doesn’t have to have a feeding tube, I’ll sit here for hours!”

Hmmmmm….

Obviously I’ve gotten spoiled to the fact that Gideon can finish his 4 oz meal in 30 minutes or less. And when that doesn’t happen, I throw a 31 year old tantrum and tell God, It’s not fair! 

Seriously??

Needless to say, God had a message waiting for me when we got home late last night…25 of them to be exact. There was an unexpected package in our mailbox from Ms. Watlington’s class. And it was timely encouragement.

A little over a week ago, I spoke to a class at Eastfield College.  The class was made up of female, high school seniors who were taking this course for dual credit.  I was asked to speak about Gideon and teaching exceptional children; so I put some information into a power point and to make it more real, I decided to take both my kids along with me.

The girls in this class had some very insightful questions and were incredibly compassionate. However, I was still surprised to receive individual notes of thanks & encouragement last night (along with a gift card to Salt Grass…date night, here we come!). Each & every one of these notes reminded me that I am privileged to be Gideon’s mother. They all encouraged me to stay strong and to remember what a blessing Gideon is not only to our family but to them as well.

Through their words, God was reminding me that there’s a purpose for all this. That nothing is wasted!  One student referenced Romans 8:18 “..what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later..” And another student paraphrased it- “no temporary pain on earth will amount to the eternal glory and peace I am sure you will receive.”  

So thank you, Mrs. Watlington’s class. I hope you know what timely encouragement your letters were for me. They pulled me out of the funk I was in yesterday and I’m so grateful. I love you all and wish I could hug each and every one of you… thanks again. :)

 

 

 

I have trouble being still

Monday morning I went to my P31 Fitness class and since the weather was nice, our instructor gave us options- outdoor run or indoor run. I chose the outdoors.

To make a long story short, towards the end of the run, I was transitioning from the street to the side walk, and as soon as I stepped on the curb, my ankle said, nope!

It rolled to the outside and I dropped to the ground. After lying on the pavement, trying to play it cool, my P31 ladies helped me up… but I couldn’t even hop on my good leg without bouncing the other. The pain was real. I was so embarrassed that they had to CARRY ME to my friend’s car. When my instructor asked me what I wanted to do, the other ladies all told me I needed to go to the ER. As soon as I saw it, I knew they were right.

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I cried as my friend Joelle drove me there. Not because of the pain, but because all I could think of was, “How am I going to take care of Gideon and Laynie, if I can’t walk?!?”

The more I thought about that, the more I realized I wasn’t even going to be able to completely care for myself!!  And if I couldn’t even care for myself, then how was I going to….Change diapers? Feed my kids? Do the laundry? Get Gideon to therapy? (Let’s be real, how was I going to get Gideon from the crib to…anywhere?)

Thankfully nothing was broken (although I hear broken bones heal faster than my stretched out ligaments will). So they put me in a boot and gave me crutches… Joy. When I got home, I did the only thing I knew to do. I called my mom and my mother in law.

Being temporarily disabled is a humbling expereince. I’m a careGIVER. The Lord began preparing me to be Gideon’s mother when my sister was paralyzed back in 1997. For the past 18 years, I have watched (and helped) my parents care for her; so naturally, caring for another is easy to me. But to BE cared for is something I’m not familiar with and quite frankly it’s frustrating.

I have trouble being still and I struggle relying on others for help. I’ve gotten better since Gideon was born, but apparently these are areas of my life where I still struggle. I think my need for control is definitely a factor. That, and I don’t like to inconvenience anyone.

Looks like I have lots of time now and in the days to come to work on those areas.

God is smiling because He finally has my attention…

Empty The Bucket

It’s nice to see you break down. It’s good to know you’re human.

A sweet friend spoke those words over me after I lost it while talking about Gideon last week. The flood gates don’t open often, but when they do….watch out! Sometimes you just got to empty the bucket.

I think people perceive that I have it all together, simply because I can talk about Gideon with little or no emotion. In fact, several months ago another friend who has a child with a disability asked me, “How do I get to where you are?”

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Truthfully, I don’t have it all together, 24/7. I hate this genetic disorder.  I grieve my son’s circumstances and the future suffering he will face. But often times, it’s not the big issues that weigh me down. Confessing those & giving them to the Lord is easy. For me, it’s the little things that get to me. I hold onto them. I’m not as quick to acknowledge how those little inconveniences affect me. I tend to bury them and just push forward. But like a bucket beneath a slow leak, the tiny drops eventually accumulate to the brim. And the bucket begins to spill, until it’s intentionally (or unintentionally) emptied.

Yesterday when Kevin brought Gideon home from the dentist, the last drop hit the bucket. Apparently brushing Gideon’s teeth twice a day, isn’t good enough because he’s on Pediasure. So now I have to brush his teeth every time he takes a bottle….Every. Freaking.Time. This really isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s frustrating because it’s just one more thing added to the list of his daily needs.

The timing for this news wasn’t ideal either. I was already upset because I was about to go pick up Gideon’s cortef prescription. We really are fortunate because he doesn’t need this medication daily, only when he’s sick. But now I have to watch YouTube videos to learn how to give my son a shot…just in case. This was not on my top 10 list of fun things to do on a Saturday. Again, it’s not that big of a deal. But it is just one more thing. One more drop in the bucket.

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Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’re in a season right now, where it just seems like one thing after another keeps dropping in your bucket. Over time, those little inconveniences add up and if we don’t handle them as they arise eventually our bucket will begin to spill over into every area of our lives. We need to be intentional and take some time to empty the bucket.

In my opinion, the only way we can be at peace in the circumstances that we face is to let go of what we cannot control & rest in the arms of the One who never leaves us (Deuteronomy 31:8). For me, I have found that when I tell God my concerns and spend time in His Word, my focus shifts from my son to His Son. And when that happens, I’m reminded daily to empty my bucket before it ever has the chance to fill up.

Have you emptied your bucket lately?

The foot of the cross is a great place to do that.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28