Very recently someone asked Jason and I how we were doing. Not just a hey how's it going, but an actual I want to know how you two are. We both had to laugh. It had not even been twenty four hours since we had an intense conversation where we talked about what all was going on with Abigail, how we were doing, and what our thoughts were on all of it. We don't grieve the same. We don't think the same. We don't deal the same. Sometimes it causes tension, but slowly we are learning to be accepting of each other's way of dealing with things.
Really we both had to say we are doing well. This may be the first time that, even with lots of craziness and things in the air, I truly feel emotionally fine. I am overwhelmed by a lot of it. It takes it's toll on me. But I'm not crying all the time (crying is fine) or losing sleep over all of it. I have learned that it's okay for me to take a few days to process things instead of trying really hard to be fine.
Beyond that though I think it has gotten to a point where, although the ache for my daughter to not have all of these health things in her life is there, it is masked some by the feelings of how truly blessed we are. I watch her laugh, dance, jump, paint, color, sing, and read. And for that I am thankful. She snuggles in against me and sucks her thumb asking to "wock" and I do because there is no greater joy for me than to hold my baby and feel the weight of the blessing in my arms.
Abigail tells me the color of everything, the shape, she points out letters, and counts things. And for her incredible intelligence I am thankful. This is something specifically that I feel like God has showed me His mercy with. I have wondered what (if any) issues we would be facing down the road, and tried to prepare myself. It could be physical, but it also could be intelligence. And I planned to be proactive. But then my plan to teach her a color or shape every week until the new year went out the window when she learned them all in a week. My goal to work on numbers for the first few months of 2011 has been surpassed, and if she continues at the rate she's going she will know all of her letters by the new year. It feels as if God has exuberantly showed me that He is holding all things in His hands. Because in reality, she has three strikes against her as far as being at high risk for low i.q. or learning disabilities. But God doesn't care about statistics.
We have a home, that despite it's flaws, and mice, is home. It's warm. It's safe. It's cozy to be in. We love the hardwood floors, and space that abounds. We love that the mortgage payment is less than our rent for our 400 square foot apartment we used to live in (and it includes taxes and insurance). We feel blessed to have enough land outside to plant a garden, draw with sidewalk chalk, and let Abigail swing and slide. For all of these things we are thankful.
We feel beyond worthy of the amount of money people have shared with us, and how much it has helped with gas, meals, and parking prices for our trips to Riley. We feel blessed that my full time job is caring for Abigail, figuring out appointments, therapies, and traveling with her when I need to. I can't think of any job that would have been flexible enough to work with all of the appointments we have been to in the past 17 months. We are thankful that Jason's job is close enough he can walk so we only need one car. We are thankful that his hours are somewhat flexible, and that his boss loves Jesus, and is understanding of all that our lives hold. We are thankful that even if we don't make much, and some might affix the word "poor" to our livelihood, that we always are able to pay our bills, and buy food.
We are also thankful for the way God provides so abundantly for our physical needs. Since Abigail's water must now be thickened with applesauce I had been trying to find someone with apple or pear trees so I could make some. Meijer had apples on sale so a friend picked some up for us and I made some apple sauce. Pears were on sale as well so I made just a little bit of pear sauce. And then Sunday some friend's parent's showed up at church with two bags full of pears. I took them all. I spent last night making pear sauce. I don't know if we have enough to make it all the way through the six months of thickening, but we will have to buy much less at the very least. It was wonderful for me to see how God heard my want (maybe it was a need?) and orchestrated parents from a few hours away coming to visit and bringing more pears than any one person could eat. For this we are thankful. I had also hoped to not have to buy any more straw cups. We had a few and only needed a couple more to be able to get us through this time. And a friend had two extra she let us have. Abigail thinks they are pretty special too...every time she drinks from them she tells me "Gus."
As you can see, I'm sure, it's hard to stay focused on the bad when there is so much to be thankful for. Our lives are full of wonderful things to celebrate. So we will take time to grieve, be sad, and even angry when we need too. But we won't stay there because we have too many blessings to stay focused on the bad.
P.S. We are looking for a cheap (and by cheap I mean free) place to try to get away for a weekend. Just Jason and I. If you know of anywhere in the Indianapolis area (or not too far driving distance) let us know be e-mailing the address on the side. We love people, but don't want to hang out with anyone. We want a weekend with just the two of us. :)