Tender Mercies

30 10 2013

Back in 2005, Elder Bednar gave a great talk in General Conference called “The Tender Mercies of the Lord.” In it, he described small and simple ways the Lord blesses us when we need it most. Since then, I have looked (and found) in my own life many ways the Lord has blessed me with tender mercies.

Last week was a chain of tender mercies, one right after another.

Here’s what happened:

  • My home teacher came over and gave me a priesthood blessing.
  • I had a five-hour rehearsal and my kids followed directions and went to bed on time. (Except one. You should have read the text Eden sent me about it . . .)
  • Eden had some VERY particular ideas about her Halloween costume. We had gone to Goodwill on Saturday, but she was dissatisfied about everything we looked at. On Monday morning, I went back as a last-ditch effort to find what she wanted. I had combed through the children’s section and was about to head home when I had the thought to check in the adult section. I said a prayer (partly because of previous item: five-hour rehearsal the night before, and I was tired) before diving into the skirts. And I found exactly what I needed. Not only that–it was the right tag color to give me 50% off! Seriously, folks. I almost started crying right there in the store. Rejuvenated, I slid over to the men’s section and found a perfect shirt to deconstruct for another part of her costume. Also 50%. I think I smiled clear until that afternoon . . .
  • . . . when I was really stressed due to a concert I was playing in Seattle. Timing-wise, it was tricky. Figure out dinner for the kids, write directions down, pack a dinner for me, pick up kids, get dressed, relay all information, drive to Seattle (not my favorite thing to do), find a parking spot, find the venue. It all worked. I left on time. I got a text telling me Colby was successfully picked up. And I was able to breathe.
  • My friend picked up my kids from my house, drove them to Seattle, and sat with them throughout a two-hour classical music concert, just so my kids could see me play in an orchestra. That is friendship, folks.
  • The next day, I got to spend some time with my bestie who happened to visiting from Scotland (yes, you read that right). We ran errands and laughed and just talked continually. One of the errands was to pick up my sewing machine, which I had taken in to be serviced. Once home, I went to work making Eden’s pirate costume pieces. There were some tears (from her, not me), but it ended up coming together to the point that she smiled. I’m calling it a win.
  • Wednesday, Zack, Rainbow, and I headed to Seattle in the morning for infusions. This is where I felt I was rolling in the miracles. Zack got a fantastic nurse and had his best poke EVER–no yelling, no fainting, and in on the first try. Rainbow’s went the same way–no tears, no fainting, and in easily. This might seem like a little thing, but their dad was out of town and I was extremely concerned that it go over well. Later on, another friend came to visit us, bringing fun gifts, goofy socks, and the talent to suck Jell-o through a straw. The kids loved having the extra attention, and I loved having an extra adult around while I took kids with I.V. poles to the restroom or went on snack runs.
  • Thursday was party day. I am not a party mom. My kids know they get one “friend” birthday party when they turn eight, and that’s it. However, Eden somehow talks her way around my anti-party-ness when she points out it isn’t for her birthday and promises to plan the whole thing. So I spent the day trying to put my house back together from several days of dropping things on the floor and falling into bed. A friend called and said, “I know yesterday was stressful for you. Can I help get ready for the party?” I told her to come in a couple of hours, then spent that time sorting and sifting through the various detritus that accumulates as a natural byproduct of entropy. (Or having children.) She came and vacuumed, swept, dusted, and did my dishes. Twenty 11- and 12-year-old kids screamed through and destroyed it all several hours later, but the weight it lifted off my shoulders was not insignificant.
  • Friday morning, I said good-bye to my friend from Scotland after a quick, cozy visit. And that night I crashed.

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Smiles all around.

One of my friends said today regarding miracles: “They serve as much-needed reminders in the midst of our struggles that God is aware of us and loves us, that no matter how hard the path we’re walking, we aren’t walking it alone.”

I am so blessed to have such wonderful kids and so many friends who willingly reach out to help me. I’m humbled by the generosity of so many and know that God is aware of me. That’s completely amazing.

Now who’s ready for Halloween tomorrow?

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And There Was Much Rejoicing

7 03 2012

Yesterday, I took Zack and Rainbow (and Colby, but this isn’t really a story about him) to Seattle Children’s Hospital where we talked to the doctor about Osteogenesis Imperfecta, growth, and pamidronate infusions.

It’s always stressful for me to drive to Seattle. It’s always stressful for me to talk to doctors, because I’m afraid something I’m supposed to be asking will forget to be asked, or something I’m supposed to remember later will slip through those cracks in my brain that seem to be getting bigger all the time. It’s always stressful to have to weigh medical decisions about what will help, what might help, what won’t help, and what is just experimental so it might not do anything. The stress makes my eyebrows get concentrated and my body get tired.

However, we left the doctor’s office with grand news: our pamidronate infusions are being cut to the maintenance dose!

Yahoo!

What this means for us is that instead of going three times a year for three days, we only need to go twice a year for only a day.

Let me say that again: twice a year for one day!

Instead of being wiped out for a week plus due to the actual infusions and the stress-unload aftermath, we’ve got one day of procedure and hopefully no more than two days decompression.

I’m beyond thrilled, if there is such a place as that.





Arborgeddon

5 02 2012

 

The damage to the trees from the ice storm has been incredible. It seems every time I go out, I notice another downed or topped tree.

This is the heart of a giant shade tree near one of our favorite parks.

Pretty sure the bench I’ve sat on many times before is currently under all those branches.

The entire park was hit pretty badly. I think that besides the big shade tree there are five or six other trees in the park that look just like this one.

All over town, piles of broken branches litter the sidewalks.

And parking lots.

Here are three trees (yes, the breakage is similar in each) in front of my daughter’s school.

Lots of people lost trees in their yards, although I haven’t seen any that have damaged homes (thankfully).

The sight of that bright, fresh, unweathered heart wood shocks me every time.

Gratefully, trees grow back.

In other news, Zack experienced ‘anklegeddon’ this week.

Poor guy. It has not been a great year for him, injury-wise.

Yes, it is broken. Yes, he had to get a cast.

But it’s a walking cast, and he’s already been slumming around without crutches, AND we get to go back in two-and-a-half weeks to get it re-checked. Hopefully he can get it off then. Gratefully, bones grow back, as well.

In the meantime, pray for sunshine!

 

He can’t get it wet.





It’s been A Week

29 10 2011

[Post-edit note: this blog post is long and boring. I am apparently too tired to be entertaining. If you want to hear about infusions, by all means read away. If not, you aren’t missing much.]

So let me tell you what’s been going on around here.

A week ago Friday, I had the opportunity to design someone’s wedding flowers. It was fabulous and fun (and I unfortunately neglected to take pictures) and kind of stressful. I mean, it’s only one of the most important days of a person’s life. Get over it, right?

Anyway, I blocked out all of Friday to work on them and ended up spending some time on them Saturday morning as well. I heard the bride was pleased, which is always a good thing.

Later on Saturday, I had rehearsal for a choir I was singing in on Sunday for a special musical fireside for Relief Society. Lots of fun, but lots of kid juggling at the same time.

Sunday was the fireside itself—except I forgot to say I was also playing a bassoon solo. Correct: you don’t hear that every day. I was a little [lot] stressed, seeing as how my performance chops (not to mention my reed) were not exactly up to par. However, it went fine. According to the compliments I received, there are a lot of closet bassoon lovers in my stake. Who knew?

Monday bright and early we dropped off Eden and Colby at my friend’s house (Tami, you are a saint) and took Zack and Rainbow to Seattle Children’s for their tri-yearly pamidronate infusions.

I should probably mention at this point that Zack came home from the neighbors’ house Sunday evening, minutes before I had to leave for the fireside. He said, “I think I broke my hand.” Not exactly the words I like to hear any time, but in particular when I’m already freaking about playing in front of a chapel full of people.

Let me digress here. We get a lot of “I think I broke my fill-in-the-blank” around my house. That general anxiety about breaking bones whenever anything painful happens is part of living with OI. (Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel like a better mom. You be the judge after you hear this next part.)

I had him wiggle his fingers. I had him bend his hand. It hurt. I asked how it happened.  (He over-rocked on the rocking chair and went forward, catching himself along the the top of his left hand knuckles.) I said, “Well, let’s tape it together and put an ice pack on it and see how it feels in the morning.”

(Okay, yes. I am ashamed.)

When we got to the hospital (way late–thank you 520 Alaskan Viaduct closure or whatever it was), they were able to call up an orthopedist to look at it before we started. He said, “We’ll splint it now so you can do your infusion, then come down for an x-ray.”

We got Rainbow hooked up and going with hardly a squeak. (It was more of a yell: “OWW!”)

Zack, who has extreme anxiety about needles, did famously. During our last infusion, a child life specialist came and helped us come up with a coping plan for him. Unfortunately (especially for how well Zack was doing), they were unable to get a line in. They tried five (5!) times; they got it into a vein each time, but each time Zack’s body went into super-panic mode (fight or flight!) and his veins clenched up and blew the line. FIVE times. Since the infusion takes four hours each day for three days, we decided at that point to call it quits and add another day on the end.

But it wasn’t really quits, because Zack still had to go down and get an x-ray and (because it was indeed broken) a cast. Despite breaking a rather large number of bones in his 11 years, this is first cast.

The next day they put an anti-anxiety med in with his pre-infusion Tylenol. It definitely didn’t seem to help, as he screamed much more and was visually more upset and anxious than the day before, but they were able to get a good line in.

As per usual, I didn’t handle infusion week all that well. Tired, unfocused, and on the cusp of getting an awful cold, I don’t know that I’m ready for Monday and Halloween. I still feel like I’m suffering from a bit of stress-related ADD—I can’t seem to get anything accomplished other than reading books (and that, my friends, isn’t entirely productive).

Mrs. Olsen sent me a lovely package (I should have taken a photo of the goodness) with lots of delectable food stuffs that I have been living off of for two days. Can I just say Pie in a Jar = Heaven ?

This evening I was able to go to the temple, which I must say was a great way to round out the crazy week with some peace.

And the little camera comes through for me again.

Happy Sunday, everyone.





Infuse Me

29 06 2011

It never fails. (Unlike my “a” key, which is currently being finicky and needing an extra strong punch every time I use it.)

Infusions come up, and I have a to-do list in my head because, shoot, all I’m doing is sitting around a hospital for four hours three days in a row. There’s lots I can get accomplished.

But then we start and I become fatigued–both mentally and physically–in a hurry.

I’m not even the one doing the work.

Simply thrilled to be there.

Zack had an extra hard time this go-around. (He is studiously ignoring me in this picture.)

As nice as the people at the hospital are, we really don’t mind waiting four months to go back.





Where has all the mojo gone?

16 05 2011

I wrote that title, thinking of a song those words fit into (name that tune!), when I realized I didn’t even know what the word “mojo” meant. I thought it meant “desire” or “ability” or “get-up-and-go.” Being the word nerd I am, I turned to the ever-trusty merriam-webster.com. (A nice feature is the long list of rhyming words after the definition. You know, in case you’re writing song lyrics or really bad poetry. [By the way, “mojo” rhymes with “bateau.”])

What it actually means is “magic.” Well, it means “a magical spell, hex, or charm; broadly : a magical power”. 

My question now is this–do I consider my writing/blogging a magical power?

[Several hours later . . . ]

Zack broke his foot last Saturday. He jumped off the back of a pickup truck bumper and landed wrong.

We’ve spent all day today bouncing from one doctor’s office to another, getting x-rays and entertaining Colby while we sit in waiting rooms.

We haven’t had a break in awhile; I kind of forgot (or supressed) how tiring and energy-sucking it can be. My computer is also trying to die, but I’m not letting it. So . . . I guess I’ll get back to you later.

P.S. Wouldn’t a bone-fixing super power be more useful?





One, Two, Skip a Few

4 03 2011

It starts when your kindergartener comes up to you with that mischievous look in their eye. The one that says I’m going to pull one over on Mom big time and it’s going to be SO awesome.

Then they say, “Hey, Mom, guess what. I can count to 100.”

Before you can act impressed (because, really, who taught them to count to 100 in the first place? Yeah, that’d be you) they launch into the punchline: “One, two, skip a few, ninety-nine, one hundred!”

Then comes the smile. The one that beams and glows and says, “Laugh at my brilliance! Tell me how clever I am!”

And of course, you do. Because you’re a mother and you know that even though this child’s older sibling made the same joke a couple of years before, that doesn’t change the fact that they are brilliant and clever.

(Sorry the picture is so light. Apparently I need to either get a scanner or start working in ink. This is Rainbow on day 2.)

This week, Zack and Rainbow had their infusions. Yesterday was the last day of treatment, and it ended up being the worst of the three. I held Rainbow in my arms while she cried and said, “I just wish I could skip this day.”

I hugged her and stroked her head and said, “I know, sweetie. But you can’t. You have to finish the treatment so it can work.”

It made me think of the times when I have wished I could just “skip a few.”

Sometimes when things hurt too much, I want to skip a few.

Sometimes when I don’t do things right or I don’t feel like I’ve been a good enough mother or I don’t know what the week/month/year ahead is going to be like or my children are being extra fill-in-the-blank, I want to skip a few.

But, as with Rainbow, skipping a few is not an option. In order for things to “work” I have to live every day.

In order to become the person I’m supposed to be, the few I’d rather skip have to be lived through.

And, hey, when we’ve lived through a “few,” that’s what makes the great days stand out–the tasting of the bitter lets us prize the sweet. Looking at it that way, the things we want to skip are actually a gift.

Now to figure out how to remember that when we’re in the middle of a skip-worthy day . . .