/> Raising Angels: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Score One for Mom

Two of Aiden's friends came over to play today. Having 5 boys running around the house was fairly wild and crazy; especially considering it was a rainy day.

They closed out the play session with a rousing game of indoor soccer. Coming into the kitchen for a water break the friend came in close to me and said, "Mrs. Parris, your house is really fun, like the funnest house ever. Do you think I could live here?"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mackenzie!

This is your last single digit year. Is it possible that it's been nine whole years already? How did my baby become a fourth grader?

Mackenzie I love the girl you are. You are sweet, kind and gentle. You are so generous and tolerant with your little brothers it amazes me. You are thoughtful beyond your years.

The addition of Maximilian to our family has brought out your gift of mothering even more. You are such a big help to me. The ways you find to serve astound me.

You are a true friend to everyone. You find a way to love the unlovable and include the outcasts. What a witness it was last night when all of your friends gave you cards that said BFF.

You have really matured over the last year. There is a part of me that gets very sad about losing my little girl but an even bigger part of me that is excited to watch you grow and change.

Thank you for all of the ways you help others and me. Thank you for your obedient heart and gentle spirit. Thank you for being you!

I love you,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seems It May Be Time To Change the American Pedicure

I am experiencing some new pains associated with running this year. One of which is called black toe (no idea where they got that name). I was showing this toe to Mackenzie today and she turned her nose up and said, "Eww! You really need to paint your toes!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Happy Report

Yesterday we braved the Children's Medical College maze to find our way to the pediatric neurology center. By the time I got there, I was wishing I had brought the stroller along. My 26 pound bundle of joy is giving my arm a serious workout.

When I walked through the door of the office, however, I immediately saw that Max's little delays are nothing...NOTHING. If he never walked, I would still have it easier than the moms that waited with me.

Long story short, after the exam, the doctor ruled out scary things like a muscle biopsy and settled with a CPK blood test. The test came back normal and the doctor said he saw nothing wrong.

I left that hospital feeling so very grateful. The burden had been lifted. The prayers had been answered.

Want to hear something funny? After dinner last night as Max was moving around behind his little walker, he pushed it ahead of himself. He then proceeded to take 8, count 'em, EIGHT steps!

Maybe, my little guy is even smarter than I think he is. Maybe he's had enough of being poked, prodded and examined. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it was my ram in the bushes. Whatever the case, I am going to accept the miracles I'm given and say, thanks be to God!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deep Thoughts

I've been thinking lately about adaptability. Pondering some of the changes in my circumstances and how abrupt a change feels at first and wondering when and if I will adapt.

In general, I think I accept change pretty well...most of the time. However, every once in awhile, something happens that I can't wrap my mind around. If I can't see the reason why something is happening or I can't quite figure out what God has in mind in a certain circumstance, it makes it harder.

In the case of Max, I have for the most part accepted his circumstance as a normal part of my life. I have an 18 month old who can't walk. In some respects, it has altered my life. We have weekly therapy sessions, periodic evaluations, neurology appointments and the like. In between those times, I try to squeeze in as much exercise for him as I can to encourage his muscle development and movement.

I'm guessing...hoping...praying that it won't be like this forever. I don't know when it will change. I can't make it happen. I am doing everything I can to give him what he needs but I can't make him walk. So, that's just life.

I don't dwell on how time consuming it is. I don't think about how much easier it would be if he could walk (well, not most of the time). This is the way it's always been in his short little life and I accept that. What else can I do? He's my son and I love him and that's that.

On the eve of his neurology appointment I sit here just pondering. We could go tomorrow and he could check out just fine and we will continue with his therapy until he catches up.

Or...we could find out that there is an underlying problem causing all of these delays. We could find out that whatever that is will prevent him from ever walking.

Two extreme examples, but it lets you in to what's bouncing around in my mind right now. Part of me is totally nonchalant about the whole thing and knows that he'll be just fine. Part of me is numb to all of the evaluations and appointments. Part of me is on the verge of tears wondering if something is really wrong with my baby and I've just missed it. I don't want anything to be wrong with my baby. Granted, he's not walking but I'm thinking he's just taking his time, not that he'll never do it.

This is a fist for me. Other than Max's tubes and a two day stay in the hospital when Mackenzie was Max's age, we've relished beautiful, healthy children. Max's delays don't bother us. They don't make us think he's any less lovable. However, they can't be patched up with butterfly stitches or chased away with antibiotics. They are taking a lot of time and some very hard work from the little guy.

So tomorrow we'll start the day with a physical therapy session and go into the afternoon with the pediatric neurologist. And hopefully, the doctor will be able to tell us something and we'll go on with life from there.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shoeless Wonder

We had some errands to run today so I opted to put my regularly shoeless (non-walking) baby in some actual shoes and socks.

"Max! Let's get some shoes and socks on you," I said to him as I grabbed him to sit him down. He was obviously excited.

Aiden, who was watching this process asked me, "Max likes putting on shoes?"

"Yes, he really loves them."

"Why?" he asked in total disbelief. After a moment more of watching he realized, "Oh! I know why Max likes shoes. He doesn't have to put them on!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just Another Day in the Life of a Mom with Boys

Today while at a friend's house, Dawson wanted to try out a pogo stick. I told him that I didn't think he could do it just yet but he was very convincing.

I stood there and held the stick while explaining to him what to do. I continued to hold it while he climbed on and did his best to jump. He thought it was funny...until he wiggled free of my hands and began to fall. Unfortunately, while he was falling, he was also trying to jump. I watched in agony as he banged his little chin on the top of the stick.

I knew he was hurt and I tried my best to comfort him while my friend ran for some ice. It wasn't until I asked him to look up that I noticed the slice under his chin. After looking at the stick I discovered that the top rubber stop was missing and it was an exposed metal pole.

A second look and I found that the slice on the chin, although not bleeding much, was really more of a gash that upon inspection was looking more like a gaping cavern.

Fortunately for me, my friend just happens to be a P.A. and she took a look at it and told me she didn't think it needed stitches, but some butterflies, which unfortunately she didn't have. Well, it just so happens that I have a mother who lives about a mile from me - she was an ER nurse for over twenty years. She has a seemingly endless medical supply at her house (and she's always more than happy to patch up a grandchild).

And so, with a little drama and no cost to me, my boy was patched up and good to go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now That Makes Sense

I keep waiting for running to get easier, to feel better. So far it hasn't.

I was discussing this with one of the trainees from last year's half and she told me she doesn't run because of how she feels while she's running, but because of how she feels when she's done.

That I can relate to.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Second Look

Today I only had two things on my to-do list - watch two extra kids and cook dinner for two extra families. I planned to stay home all day to accomplish said tasks.

It was a funny kind of day because my kids all slept in much later than usual. Ordinarily that would be nice but today it meant breakfast in three shifts.

Cooking for two other families is something I do once a week. Usually it's work, but no big deal. Today it involved trying out a new recipe that involved orange zest which caused me to slice my finger. It was also interrupted regularly by Aiden's quest to complete his newest Lego project.

For some strange reason I thought doing a load of laundry in the midst of all the other stuff would be a good idea. Most times this is a good way to avoid loads and loads at the same time, but today one load turned into two loads when I found a load in the dryer I had forgotten about.

Multiple shifts of breakfast meant the same at lunch time. This was interrupted by a request from my husband to clean an oven that has been sitting in our garage. A dirty and time consuming task for sure.

The rest of the day went much the same. By the end I was a little frustrated as well as disappointed by how I couldn't get the dinner done in time and how nothing seemed to get done.

That's when I decided to step back and take a look at where my time went today. Granted, every day does not include extra meals and kids, as well as so much Lego madness. However, it does involve four kids of my own who still need me a lot.

All in all, I suppose...in retrospect, it was time well spent.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Teary Movie Night

Tonight we settled the kids down for a family movie...Old Yeller. I haven't watched it since I was a kid, but after I promised the kids we could watch it, I suddenly remembered bawling at the end of it.

When the treacherous scene came on, I had Max in my lap and Dawson laying on my arm. When the gun came out, all were asking, "Are they really going to shoot the dog?" It got quiet and then "BANG!"

Dawson looked up with me with those big baby blues and asked, "Is the dog dead?"

"Yes," I said. That's when those eyes filled with tears and the throat tightened a bit. He covered his face with his hands and desperately tried to wipe away the tears.

I'm sure there will be moments in the very near future that those tears will be shamed and trained away by a world that looks down on men crying. Tonight I enjoyed the pure emotion of it all. The realization that I have a son who feels deeply and has genuine concern for others.

Whether or not there are tears in his future, I hope he keeps the feelings.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Perfect Gift

I'm finding that the older we (my siblings & parents) get, the harder it is to find gifts. August is a big month around here - 9 birthdays and anniversaries between our two families. With things being tight around here, we have to be more creative than usual.

This is actually a good thing...I think. I mean the longer we're around, the fewer things we need. Don't you find this to be true? I think it's a combination of becoming more content with our lives, more appreciative of what we have, and less needy in general. It's a good place to be.

Today is my brother's birthday and in honor of him I attended a Serra Club Adoration/Holy Hour . As I was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament I was reminded by Jesus that He is all I need, all anyone needs.

It became clear to me that of all the gifts, I could give my brother, this one is the best. We live in a world of stuff. Things have become the end all be all to a lot of people. Tonight I realized that none of that matters. If I have Jesus, I have everything I need. And truly, what better gift is there than to give Him to others?

Happy Birthday Aaron! I love you and I hope you're feeling the prayers coming your way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wishful Thinking

We had a little girl over this morning to play. "What would you like for lunch?" I asked her.

"Um, how about a turkey sandwich?" she responded.

"I don't have any turkey, but I do have some ham."

"Okay," she agreed.

"What would you like on your sandwich?"

"Just bread and turkey," she answered.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Simply Sparkling Evening

After weeks and weeks of pestering, tonight I finally answered yes to the request to light the sparklers left over from the Fourth of July. So after dinner we hit the front yard with a lighter and loads of fun things to ignite.

Before we were finished, we had managed to attract 5 extra kids and 2 other adults. It was the vision of a perfect summer evening (aside from the man-eating mosquitoes). The kids happily running with sparks flying. Friends standing and chatting. Amazed babies watching.

I'm not sure why I put it off for so long, or why tonight seemed like the right time, but I am very glad that one simple "yes" turned into an evening of entertainment.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

9 Miles Running!

Today I did something I've always thought was impossible - I ran 9 miles without stopping. I know, you're thinking, "Hey, didn't she do a half marathon last year?", and yes, I did. I didn't do it without walking though. I made it to mile 5 last year and then suffered some crippling pain from an injury that all but took me out of the race.

This year I have been training, with...knock on wood...no injuries. I made it to mile 5 and got a little fearful that what happened to me last year would happen again. But it didn't and it hasn't.

Today I was really nervous. I had a terrible time with the 8 mile run (of course, I was on vacation in Hilton Head) and had to walk quite a bit. When we started the run, I turned on my Ipod only to discover that it was dead. Nine miles with no music to keep me company was scary. Luckily I found a running partner...who turned around at mile 3 (instead of 4.5). I was literally on my own.

I was happy to make the turn around. I was glad to reach miles 6 and 7. It wasn't until I hit mile 8 that I actually started to think that I could make this distance. There were plenty of times I wanted to stop but I just kept thinking that stopping would make me feel better immediately but then I would regret it the rest of the day.

And so I did it! Now I'm thinking that if I can do 9, 13.1 is not much farther. Maybe, just maybe I can do that too.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Sometimes They Do Notice

I spent the day today cleaning and decorating for a surprise birthday party for Nelson's sister. When Aiden walked in and saw the decorations he noted, "Nice job Mama!"

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Purposeful Reminder

Some days I feel conflicted about this online journal of mine. The main idea for me is to keep a log of my feelings about my life experiences with my children and the things that they say and do. I have not been faithful to baby books or picture albums for years now so this is it for them and I want it to matter. When I'm no longer around, I want them to have a real sense of who I am...or was.

However, because I've chosen to do this in a public setting, there are some feelings and situations that I can't mention. Of course in taking into account other people's feelings, I often can not talk about my own. It's an interesting situation for sure.

On the other hand, I think that because I'm forced to temper myself, what they will see here is the best version of myself. Granted, it may not be the most truthful version, but let's face it, is that what we really want anyone to remember about us?

Bottom line - I hope to live long enough to tell them all these stories myself and that this little blog will be a nice addition to the mother that they know and will never forget.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Is This a Trick Question?

"Aiden," I called out the back door, "time to come in for lunch."

"Mama, can we have a picnic lunch outside?"

"Sure buddy, I'll bring it out in a minute."

"Hey! Can we eat outside for lunch and then stay outside the whole day until dinner and eat that outside too?"

Monday, August 03, 2009

Max Update

My Max, who at 12 months old could not get himself to a sitting position, would not roll to get anywhere, could not crawl, stand or walk, is making some big time progress.

After a few weeks of therapy in May, we worked our way to a very laborious crawl which, since then has become quite speedy. I was so excited about this major step forward that I was totally caught off guard when his therapist recommended he see a pediatric neurologist. She didn't think anything was necessarily wrong, she just said she's never seen a baby, "with such pronounced weaknesses when there wasn't something wrong."

Now don't get me wrong, if there is something wrong with Max, I'd rather know than not know. However pediatric neurologist conjured up images of baby CAT scans and such that did not sit well with me. Hearing the therapist say, "It doesn't necessarily look like Cerebral Palsy," didn't help either.

After a referral from Max's pediatrician we made an appointment and the soonest they could see him was August 25. His therapist and I agreed that it might not be so bad to wait three months. Perhaps, just perhaps, he'll make enough progress that we can cancel it.

I'm happy to report that last week, he moved from crawling to climbing...ALL of our stairs! This week he began to stand up without pulling up or holding onto anything. I can't wait to show his therapist tomorrow.

This whole process has made me realize, once again, how much I take for granted. What comes easy to most children, has required therapy and a lot of hard work from little Max. After his hour long therapy sessions, the poor little guy is sweaty and exhausted. And during the week, he has to endure countless exercises that I put him through. He has earned every single step of progress he's made.

Because of all of this effort, we appreciate every single move he makes. Even the three big kids get totally excited when he accomplishes something new. Every little bit of progress is a miracle to me. Every new action garners a major celebration around here.

I'm not really sure why God has us in this situation. I do know that we are all very grateful that He's carrying us through it.