It has been hard to write an update.
That is honesty at its best.
I want so much to tell you that being at home is better than I have ever dreamed, that my kids are in a great routine, that we are well rested and happy and enjoying every last minute.
And I want to tell you that even on the hard days, I know better than to complain and know that I should wholeheartedly cherish every difficult moment.
That would be honesty at its worst.
What I do want is to remain authentic about where we are, how we are doing, and how the Lord is using all things for our good and His glory.
So how is it being at home? It is hard. Really, really hard.
If you have been reading a while, you know that we have been battling significant sleep issues with Eliana since she was about 15 months old. This past Monday, she turned 3... needless to say that is a long time. We have taken her to two different sleep specialists whose best advice was to: change her nap time, and put her on an adult-level dose of melatonin. Her pediatrician has chalked all of this up to tempermant and typical bumps in the road.
I knew in my core that it was more than that.
As I continued to watch Eliana, look for patterns, and tried to look for some sort of correlation between her behavior, her sleep, and her eating, I began to notice some things I hadn't intended on finding.
During my first two years of teaching, I had the pleasure of having "Bobby" in my class. "Bobby" was smart as a whip... he loved the color blue, knew the name of EVERY President in US history (in order, the dates of their term, their party affiliation, whether or not they were married, and their family members' names), wrote everything in all capital letters even in the 5th grade, and had a sweatshirt that doubled as a security blanket. He had a need for things to be perfectly even, and if they weren't he found some pretty creative ways to make them so.The sound of the fire alarm caused him panic, and any change in routine was enough to rock his world. He couldn't stand buttons or zippers, had to have socks where the seam ran across the top of his foot, and his mother had lovingly cut the tags out of all of his shirts. He had the most creative mind and the most endearing speach. "Bobby" had been diagnosed with high functioning autism.
And so has my daughter.
Little by little, I started noticing little quirks and idiocyncricies with Ellie that caused me pause, and made me internally say, "Hm. That really reminds me of 'Bobby.'" At first, I was able to chuckle and shrug it off and just think about how, like "Bobby", Eliana is so endearing. She has a vocabulary and way of speaking that makes her sound like she is 3 going on 30. :) She is amazing.... she makes us laugh, she remembers the funniest things that you or I in our busy pace would most often forget, and she is so, so sweet.
And she struggles. She struggles when things are too close too loud, too bright or too tight. She can't stand to wear certain articles of clothes because they don't feel "right." She has a certain way of putting on her coat that, if disrupted, will set you back significantly in trying to get out the door. And she doesn't sleep well. Still. After all, it is currently 4:34 am our time, and I am down here writing because after being awakened at 1:00am with a full blown tantrum that not only lasted for 2 hours but also woke up her brother... it's hard to get back to sleep.
So it has been hard... and that is honest. Some days I feel like Moses when God called him to go to Egypt to face Pharaoh. You know the part when he says, "LORD... Please... send someone else to do it?" (paraphrase mine). I feel that way sometimes.
Like Moses, I don't feel prepared or equipped to handle this role. And like Moses, God is with me... fully equipping me for each turn. Most days I have come to the end of myself... and the state of my laundry pile, dishes, and playroom would validate that.
And it is at the end of ourselves where grace is. Where strength is. And where our intimacy with the Lord grows. It is where we see all that we are not and all that He is and how without him... this parenting thing? How would it even be possible? It is at the end of ourselves where His power is made perfect in weakness and we can be patient again... just one more time. The Lord has been really working on my heart and my focus, convicting my heart to trust that he will enable me to be calm in the midst of a tantrum that lasts for hours just one more time. Not all the other times today, or tomorrow, or this week... we'll get to those as well. But this time... just one more time.
Do I love being at home? I do. I love it. I am so grateful that God has provided the means in so many ways for us to do so. I love that I don't have to rush out the door every morning, that on a whim we can change our plans for the day, and that I am the one who is home helping to mold the hearts of my kids. I love seeing the little ways in which they are learning and growing, how their personalities are developing. I love having random dance parties with Eliana, indoor picnics (although I can't wait for spring to get OUTdoors), doing crafts, reading books, and tickling little Jacob until he is laughing so hard little tears creep out of the sides of his eyes.
And I am grateful that I get to be the one to help my daughter through a difficult period as we figure out how to best meet her needs as a little one recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. It is hard. It is really, really hard. And God is faithful...
His "faithful" is immeasureably bigger than my "hard."
So, Ellie is 3, Jacob is 14 months, and their smiles make my heart swell :)
Friday, March 8, 2013
It has been hard to write an update.
Posted at 8:33 PM