Free- A poem for my son

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I saw this headstone years ago before I had children. It had a pretty big impact on me since my sister was (and still is) confined to a wheelchair. But seeing it again this morning… it had a more profound effect on me.

Seeing it through mommy-eyes this time, I found myself dwelling on “that day.” I thought about the sadness we would feel when our little boy is called Home, but I also couldn’t help but think about the freedom that he would experience.  I imagine it takes place just like that photo…children instantly free from that which confines them..

I wrote the poem below as an outward expression of my inner most feelings after looking at this photo throughout much of today. I simply call it Free.

As heartbreaking & tragic as it will be,
One day our son too will truly be free. 

That day will be dark & dreary for us,
But Gideon’s eyes will open & he’ll see Jesus. 

His ears will clearly hear that great Heavenly sound.
As the shackles of his disease fall to the ground. 

His body will be strong and he will run & play.
I can only imagine that he’ll have so much to say. 

He won’t be sad about leaving this world behind. 
Who would trade Heaven to be deaf, mute and blind?

On that day our sorrow will truly be Heaven’s joy;
As they all welcome a warrior- our precious, sweet boy.

But today’s not that day- we rejoice that he’s still here. 
And until that day comes, we don’t have to live in fear. 

There’s a peace we can have knowing that tragedies will come. 
His name is Jesus. And He is God’s resurrected Son. 

He died once for all; to forgive us of our sins. 
And knowing Him personally is where our freedom begins. 

So on that day, when we bury our son,
We can rest in Him, because the battle is won. 

The disease will be defeated and our son will be free. 
And Christ will carry us forward until we meet in eternity. 

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Here’s the link if you’d like to know more about little Matthew- whose physical body rests beneath that statue. God has truly done (and continues to do) beautiful things with his precious, short life.

No matter what you’re facing, he can do beautiful things with your circumstances as well.

Gideon Goes to Galveston

We had our first ever family-of-four vacation last week. We stayed for two nights at Moody Gardens in Galveston, TX and we had a blast! We even had an added luxury- BOTH sets of grandparents went with us!!!!

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We drove down and stayed one night in Beaumont to see some friends. And although we had to wait in line for almost an hour, Laynie was excited to take the ferry across. Gideon (at minimum) enjoyed the breeze…I think.    :)

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We hit two out of the three pyramids while we were there and both my babies LOVED the water park and the hotel pool!!

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We ate at our favorite places- The Spot,  Fish Tales, and Mosquito Cafe (their grits will change your life, no joke).

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Gideon thought it would be hilarious to wake up every morning around 5 am, so I took him out of the hotel room and fed his little behind in the hallway beside the elevators. (My apologies to all the guests who had rooms just around the corner).

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On our way home we stopped in Shiner, TX to tour the brewery. (Because it was on the way…LOL, it so was not!) But the men..and even the ladies..loved it!!

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It was a great trip. I felt more exhausted when we got home than before we left. Which always happens when you have kids, right?  :) But it really meant a lot to me that we were able to get away for a few days. We needed a break from the normal routine. We needed to do something as family that we don’t ever get to do. We made some amazing memories and the best part is that our parents got to share in that.

One thing Gideon has taught me is that every day is special. If we wait to enjoy life, we may miss the chance to do just that. I hope everyone who reads this is able to get away with those you love this summer. Even if it’s a stay-cation. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy time with those you cherish.

 

Sacrifice

Sacrifice is defined as the surrender of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim. 

Today I sacrificed my dignity, my pride and my back because I consider someone else’s joy more pressing than my own.

I hate the grocery store (especially when it’s just me and the kids). My little girl on the other hand, at one time, loved it…. before her brother was born. Ever since, she complains about going. That’s because when Gideon goes, she can’t get her special cart.

My daughter has had to sacrifice some of the normalcy of her childhood because of her brother’s disability (and let’s face it, my exhaustion). And although a specialty grocery cart may seem small, it’s big to her… as it would be to any 4 year old. And for the past 18 months, she hasn’t gotten to ride in one…

Until today.

Today, as complicated (and heavy) as it was, I helped my little girl find joy in grocery shopping again. Today, she got to ride in her favorite cart… even though Gideon was with us.

Photo taken by a fellow mom... (I got in trouble a while back for putting Gideon's carrier on top of that cart...and telling the manager my son was terminal anyways did not help lighten the situation. My jokes are always taken wrong..)
Photo taken by a fellow mom…
(I got in trouble a while back for putting Gideon’s carrier on top of that cart…and telling the manager my son was terminal anyways did not help lighten the situation. My jokes are always taken wrong..)

I got lots of confused looks as we strolled through the store. And rightfully so, who goes through that much trouble for five items??

If you’re a parent, you get it. When you had kids you learned quickly that life is no longer about you. This life holds more joy when we live out Philippians 2:3- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves..”

And that’s easy to do when it’s our flesh and blood, so I’m not looking for strokes today regarding our hike through the produce and deli. I just want my daughter to know that I value her enough to make sacrifices so that she can have the simple joys that come with being a kid. Laynie shouldn’t (and doesn’t) always get what she wants…but in the same respect, she shouldn’t always have to sacrifice because of her brother’s disability or my laziness.

Today I made a sacrifice to show her how much I value her. And the joy displayed on her sweet face more than justified the soreness I now feel in my low back.

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I attribute the energy I had to do this to my sweet friend Heather. She came over today and watched her kids and mine so I could take a 2 hour nap. Thanks for your sacrifice friend!! (And she did that only a few hours after our 5 am boot camp this morning!)

 

 

The Kindness of Strangers

Today was full of ups and downs. Gideon had a rough day. I think he was trying to tell me his teeth hurt??? :)

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Then Laynie found out her Mimi’s dog, Chloe died. This actually went a million times better than when her fish died. Of course, that’s probably because she buried the fish not the dog.  (Thank you mom and dad for handling that before we got there!)

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So naturally when a child loses a pet you’re supposed to buy them another one, right? Well that’s NOT what we did. Instead my mom and I took our teary eyed girl to Kid-to-Kid to buy her a new dress. (This worked REALLY well for all those who are wondering.)

But when we left the store today, we left with more than just 2 dresses, a bow and a princess castle… We left with this backpack carrier for Gideon. And the amazing part is that we didn’t even pay for it.

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I tried this on, with Gideon in it, and had been walking around the store asking my mom “How’s his head look? Can he breath? Does he look comfortable?” I had mentioned to the store clerk (so she wouldn’t think I was completely crazy) that he had a genetic disorder and had a hard time holding his head up.

So after I removed him from the carrier, I went out to the car to grab his diaper bag (because, of course, he pooped) and a lady named Sissy stopped me. She told me that she over heard me talking about Gideon and she wanted to encourage me. She had helped take care of two children with disabilities herself. We talked for about 5 minutes before Gideon had had enough, and I thanked her and headed to the bathroom to change my little messy man.

When I came back to the register to pay for the carrier, the store clerk looked as though her dog had just died too. With tears rolling down her face, she said, “Your carrier has been paid for.” As my eyes welled up, I looked out the window just in time to see Sissy driving off.

That kind of gesture makes me shout, Praise Jesus! Not only was I blessed by it, but the ladies behind the counter were obviously touched and who knows about the other customers! I can only imagine how far the ripple effect will go. Those gestures are contagious. And it started with Sissy.

But that’s not the only stranger who showed kindness to my family today. In the mail this evening, I received a letter and a check for Gideon’s donation account. It was from a woman I have never met. Her name is Melissa and she is the president of a local MOMS Club. She heard about Gideon through Lakepointe’s preschool art show auction, and she decided their club could do something for our family.

I want to publicly thank Sissy, Melissa, & her MOMS Club today. I was having a rough morning and your random acts of kindness made me realize (yet again) all the good that’s going on in our world. So many people are being the hands and feet of Jesus…loving others by whatever means they can.

Let’s all go out tomorrow and do the same for someone we’ve never met.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.. (Hebrews 10:24)