Archive for December, 2012
We are coming out of Christmas and my head is spinning. Not because of big family meals, gifts galore or touching church services (though I did experience all of the above), but because the whole holiday feels insignificant. My mom fell, broke her femur, and I thought I would be planning her funeral through Christmas.
Because she is still alive and slowly coming out of her 10 day medically induced coma as I’m typing this post.
Late on the 19th she fell off a curb after her Bible Study Christmas Party (oh how us Bible Thumpers can get wild) and her femur snapped like a twig. She was rushed in an ambulance to the ER where one of my High School friends happened to be the doctor to admit her. That was cool. My mom was happy-loopy on pain meds in preparation for the next day’s surgery. The surgeon attached a steel plate with 10 pins into her leg and ended up having to do a second surgery right after the first to to drain her leg of fluid with a vacuum. My sweet mom, who already has all sorts of health issues, now had three open 10” incisions on one leg. When I visited her the next day she was ventilated, restrained (because she wanted to pull out the terrible breathing machine from her throat) and terrified. We were surrounding her bed weeping and when she heard our voices her back would arch, her eyes would bulge and she radiated fear.
That’s when I knew she would die.
She would be moved for 24 hour dialysis. She would be put farther under for sedation into a medically induced coma. She would end up going through 5 surgeries in the days to come. Her organs would shut down and technology would be keeping air in her lungs and poison from her blood.
We rearranged Christmas with extended family (which was met with very little compassion… which was totally lame), but we felt like we couldn’t rearrange Christmas morning with the kids. No matter what happened. On the eve of Christmas Eve we had to go to the store for a gift for Eli. We had just left the hospital and I was stifling sobs. I was watching the other people in a daze. Shoppers were frantically looking for last minute gifts or coveting things on their wish lists or laughing at novelty items. It was surreal. And I wanted to get on the loud speaker and scream at anyone who would listen, “Don’t you see how trivial this is? Can’t you understand that this ‘holiday’ is a joke? Did you know that the most wonderful person ever is dying while you are shopping for that aunt you only see once a decade? A light is fading from this earth and it will be gone forever!!!! I would trade every Christmas if she could survive this. And you would too, if you met her. Because she’s amazing. And she’s mine. And she’s dying. I want you to wail and shout ‘UNFAIR’ with me. And most of all I don’t want you to be happy.”
Dramatic. I wasn’t in the best place and I didn’t come out of that place till yesterday, when I was truly sure she would live.
She is happy-loopy on pain medication again. But she’s alive!
She’ll have to be in an extended care facility for about two months before she can put ANY weight on her leg. But she’s alive.
She is alive.
And I’m going to go visit her right now.
I GIANT thank you to YOU! My friends, followers, pastors, prayers warriors. Without you she would be dead. And something precious would be gone. Of that I’m certain.
(Picture of my mom this Halloween with Cinderella.)
I can’t stop thinking about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown. Eli is in kindergarten, and the same age as most of the victims.
20 Elis are dead.
Friday, the day of the shooting, I had started a post in my head reflecting on my children and about cherishing all of our little moments. But this isn’t about me, or my kids, or about being grateful for the simplicity of daily life. The reality is 20 moms in Newton will never have those “little moments” with their kids again. 20 families have carefully picked presents wrapped under their Christmas tree that will not be opened. 20 dads have to walk past their child’s empty bedroom. Little siblings are wondering where their big siblings went. Big siblings are trying to make sense of injustice. A whole community has been changed.
20 moms have to watch as their fearfully and wonderfully made child gets closed up into a box and buried in the ground. Gone forever. Always wondering how life would have been different if their child was still alive. What if we had stayed home sick from school… what if we bought that house in a different district… what if Adam Lanza had a friend to talk him out of shooting children. When did shooting children become a way to express your hurt and anger and sadness and bitterness at the world. My God! My God, Why?
I would be scared of forgetting the feeling of Eli in my arms, the sound of his voice and his laugh. Fearful of watching an old home video and wondering if that time was ever really real. What will it be like for the Newton moms to fold the next load of laundry and find a tee shirt her child wore days ago but will never wear again? Everyday your heart breaking all over again. Weeping, screaming and hoping to wake up from this nightmare.
Across the country people are doing 20 acts of kindness in honor of the each murdered child. (Some are doing 26 to include the murdered adults.) I think it’s a great idea. If I was one of the 20 moms I would like to hear that thousands of people were doing good in honor of my precious lost child. But, of course, I would really just want my child back.
But the most comforting passage for me when anything happens to children is Matthew 18 6-7 (The Message version). “But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do.”
Which basically shows what a jerk I am. God throwing evil people into the ocean with a giant stone tied around their neck and the word doomsday… yep, that about sums up my thoughts. I should probably work on that. But most likely I won’t.
I’m trying to decide how we are going to do the 26 acts of kindness. Maybe we’ll combine it with the Christmas sacrifices we are already doing. I don’t think you need to be legalistic about it, but making a list of 26 things you can do with your kids to comfort/help/serve others is an awesome start.
I’d love to know your ideas for the list or your thoughts about the shooting. Leave a comment, and if you’ve written a post, leave the link.
Over the Summer, we were in the car and Eli was having an award winning fit because Cora Jane wouldn’t let him hold her glow stick.
He shrieked, ”This is the worst day of my whole life!”
Really? The day your sister doesn’t share a dollar store glow stick is the worst day of your life. First world problem.
So in a “shining” parenting moment I said, “REALLY!?!?!?!?!????? The day your little sister doesn’t share a 10 cent glow stick is the WORST day of your LIFE!!?!?! Did you know some kids don’t have toys to play with, or a place to sleep, or a mommy and daddy to take care of them… just like little Henry who we have been praying for!!!!!”
Eli – “I thought Henry had parents who are trying to bring him home?” (UPDATE: Henry is home. Post coming!)
Me – “Yes, that’s true… but that’s not the point, the point is… (deep breath and in a calmer voice) today is not the worst day of your life. When someone doesn’t share with you, it’s not the worst day of your life. In our family, we don’t let tiny problems control our attitude or behavior.”
Eli – “Well, it’s a big deal to me.”
We talked more that day, but as the months have passed I’ve often thought of this conversation. I’ve brainstormed how I will teach my children to identify the difference between little life problems, and real world problems. Such as global hunger, sex trafficking and corrupt governments. How do I tell my child their problems aren’t “real?” Especially when it really isn’t age appropriate to be talking about child prostitutes.
I want my children to have perspective about their difficulties in relation to the community around us, our nation and the globe. And I truly think children are smart enough to start learning early about many of the real world issues. I feel like the best way to teach our children anything is to show them. Show them to be passionately angry about kids starving, not dollar store glow sticks. Ultimately, resulting in their own desire to create a positive impact.
Now, we are in the midst of the season of excess. Kids around the world are hoping for a bit of Hollywood Holiday Magic to get the “perfect” gift under their tree, families are in a rush to send out their clever holiday cards and solidify plans with extended family. It’s oh-so-easy for me to get caught up in a matching pajama frenzy. I love it. But I’m choosing to give up things to show my kids how to serve others.
I know it’s silly, but it’s a sacrifice for me to give up the magical Christmas extras. I’m not being a martyr. I’m being selfish, and I hope my kids see that unbecoming quality in me. Then I hope they see me fighting against my selfish nature and being content. Not just content, brimming with joy. The feeling you get when you realize you made a difference but also recognizing you are a small part of something bigger. Instead of buying a live Christmas tree we are putting up our broke-a&$ fake one and buying two goats. Instead of prepping a full spread for Christmas party guests we’ll be doing a potluck and asking for donations to the chicken fund. We are baking cookies for neighbors, babysitting at the local ESL class, volunteering at a Christmas store for locals in need, Meals On Wheels gifts, letters to soldiers overseas… Oh how we are going to give till it hurts.
My children will learn that giving is addicting.
And maybe they will learn to share a freaking glow stick.
It’s the 4th and I’ve done NOTHING for advent. Eeeek! (Is feeling like a failure daily, a huge part of being a mom, or is that just me?) My friend Carlee told me about the Jesse Tree last year and I REALLY want to try to get it together… but I will have to wait till next year. I still have the Truth is in Tinsel and I’m hoping to do some of that this advent.
The excuse in my head is that my husband’s company Christmas party (which is rad and a super big deal) came quickly so my whole month feels a little off. This year’s theme was Alice in Wonderland and my hubby and I ran with the Mad Hatter theme… (You must check out 2011 2009 2008)
Below are scenes from this year. Be warned. We like to dance… no, we love to dance… no, we were made to dance.
I look forward to dancing with this group of peeps every year. REALLY. If we can only find a place without half naked gogo dancers and where people over 25 aren’t shunned. Or if we could bring our lil’ dance posse with us to every wedding. We would be golden. (There are a few friends missing… who has a wedding on a Friday anyway!?!?)
We also got to go to a preview of this year’s Christmas at the Zoo this weekend. It was sooooooo fun! Locals, try to go if you can. The animal keepers put special treats in Christmas boxes and it looks like the animals are opening presents. The price is right! (And I’m giving away free tickets below!)
Date: Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $2 per person (2 and under FREE), Parking $5
Location: OC Zoo (Inside Irvine Regional Park), 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Contact: 714-973-6847 www.ocparks.com/oczoo
The Christmas Train has really become a special tradition for our family. It’s refreshing to be outdoors with some cocoa and a cookie instead of bombarded with toys and commercial stuff. (Though the cookie station by Santa needs a better display tray… ask me and I’ll pick something up, on the house.)
The train ride through the park filled with Christmas lights is magical…
And light speed…
Date: December 7th-9th, 14th-23rd. I think the first train is just after 4ish.
Cost: $10 per person (children under age 2 ride free), Parking $5
Location: Irvine Park Railroad (Inside Irvine Regional Park), 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Contact: (714) 973-6835 or (714) 973-3173 Christmas Train site
Don’t cry because you didn’t get to go with us.
Win tickets below! 3 winners.
1st winner: 4 tickets for the train and 16 passes for the OC zoo. (NOT the Christmas Train, the regular train ride at the Irvine Park Railroad. 4 OC Zoo tickets which are good for 4 people each.)
2nd winner: 2 tickets for the train and 8 passes for the OC zoo. (NOT the Christmas Train, the regular train ride at the Irvine Park Railroad. 2 OC Zoo tickets which are good for 4 people each.)
3rd winner: 8 passes for the OC zoo. (2 OC Zoo tickets which are good for 4 people each.)
Good Luck Friends!!