Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Being A Dream Encourager

Above all else (state police, wrenching, or leading a shop), my husband has wanted to be a farmer. I have dug in my heels because I cannot imagine how this is a sustainable life when you start from nothing. Since getting out of the service, he has been trying to find his niche (wrenching is not it). He is so happy being outside and he loves to work hard (I mean tired and dirty work hard) and he is so happy on his tractor. To give you a better idea of how much he enjoys growing and working the soil. We spent 3 days one week shoveling composted horse manure for our family garden just so we could enhance the quality of our crops.

I came to the conclusion that just maybe, this is where he is meant to be, but then I have felt this before. I have been waiting for him to find a passion for something, and when I think he has it, it disappears. I do not want to be the wife that keeps saying, "no", but with a house full of people, we really need the income that his job provides. Unfortunately, I am still in school for my career field, so working right now on top of the care that I provide around the house really hinders my ability to work while he starts a business.

Then, I began to have this mental tugging feeling. I really have found a joy in baking, canning, harvesting and want to teach the kids the value of business. I want to sell at farmer's markets. Our passions, though each their own, have a common thread (farming). Moreover, I love my husband so much (I even still have those school girl crush feelings about him) and I want to see him happy. As my husband has stated and I've seen, he has consistently wanted to be a farmer. That has never changed in the years since leaving the Army. So there in lies the struggle for me as a wife. I need to be a dream encourage instead of a dream crusher. I am hoping that the passion that I see in his eyes, when it comes to tilling the soil, remains. After all, I want my honorable and hard working husband to find joy. He knows that he does not want to work for anyone else, and would like to have his own business. All of his previous endeavors or ideas just do not make his eyes light up like the prospect of being a farmer (crazy huh :)

I will continue to document our journey, and in the mean time, pray that the Lord has begun to open up my heart and mind to this idea. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Husbands and Fathers

Husbands and fathers are gems that are often left buried in a treasure box. Truth is, husbands and fathers are very important to the family composition. I am not saying that mothers are not the entities that often make the world go round. Pluck me out of my household and many things would remain undone. There are  a plethora of mothers (single or married) who are doing an amazing job raising their children to be strong, independent people who are productive members of society. That aside, I want to touch on what is the magic of husbands and fathers.

My husband, an Army veteran, is an honorable man. No, he is not perfect by any means, there are things that he does that would drive any wife nuts. However, Twelve years ago, because he loved me, he became father to my son (now and forever, our son). Throughout our near ten years of marriage, deployments and our own schooling, we have had three girls together. The littlest one, in the picture above, was our surprise baby. We thought we were done having children, even took the surgical precautions to insure this. God had other plans, and my husband's response to adding another child into our world, "bring it on". I was falling apart, and my husband was there to pick up the pieces.

When my 55 year old mother began showing symptoms of a serious issue, he was the one who suggested that she come live with us. Who does that? What man in his right mind would add a seventh person to an already busy home, on one income no less? When I was sick in bed, barely able to stay awake, he took my mother to her neurological appointment, and acted on her behalf. We learned at that appointment that my mother has Frontal Temporal Dementia, and my husband's response to me when I sob uncontrollably, "whatever you need."

When our children are hurting, he is hurting. When our three year old fell off the steps and busted open her lip, he took charge and cleaned her up. Watching my husband, my lover, and best friend calm the fears of our sweet little girl made me feel breathless. He is able to calm our children like I cannot do. He is the perfect mix of tenderness and strength. We ventured to the ER in my car, but my husband couldn't remain at home and traveled to the hospital too. This meant loading up our other children and my mother into his truck. He said on the phone, while we waited in the waiting room, "I know that this is not too serious, but I couldn't remain at home while my baby was hurting."

My husband and my children's father remains a significant part of our family. I am blown away by his connection to his children, his increasing faith, and how lucky I am that he picked me to be his wife.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dementia, an open letter

Dear Dementia,

Thank you for gracing us with your presence over the last few years. You have come when we least expected it, and always seem to give us so many surprises. I do have a few things that I would like to talk to you about. I am having a slight issue with you hanging around. I do not remember asking for you to come in the first place, and now that you are here, you seem to linger far beyond anyone's desires. Least of all, my mother's desire. She knows that something is not right inside her brain, and I think it's rude that you mess with her thoughts and emotions, causing her to fear her own worldly outlook. You are a jerk. Let's all face it, the issues she is having are all your fault, and the intense anger many of us feel inside is also your fault.

However, despite all your efforts, this family is remaining strong. With the help of the Lord, our family appears to be thriving despite all the pitfalls that you have created. We have managed to fit seven people into our home, and will continue to do so as long as the Lord creates the ability. My husband is a hard working, loving, God fearing man who has taken on a responsibility that he never dreamed of taking on. Our older 2 children, despite their adolescent faults, have a unique view of the world. How many children will learn the love and responsibility that they will be learning, helping family the way it was intended to be? This is my duty as a daughter, and I take joy and pride in this. This is my mother's God given right, to have her children take care of her, and we do.

Yes, you thief, no thanks to you, I am learning that life is fragile. I am learning that you cannot take advantage of the one's you love. Sure, my mother is around on a daily basis, but she is not my mother. She is not the woman that I knew growing up, and that makes me so angry. What the hell were you thinking, choosing her? What is your problem? You are lucky that I have the Lord to turn to, or you could be tearing me apart more than you already are. I am broken hearted, but I am strong. You were unexpected and unwanted, but we will work through this. I still wish you'd just go away, but let's face it, you're not going anywhere.

Until our next correspondence,

A determined daughter

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hair Brush

Many times as a child, my mother's hair was a source of play. When I was a young girl, I use to brush it, curl it, and style it with whatever decorative clips I had laying around. As a teenager, I found joy in dying my mother's hair and creating beautiful up-dos before we dashed off to the symphony for a mother daughter evening.

As a mother of a nine year old and three year old, I am often the source of my own daughter's fun. Many days my husband arrives home and utters, "girls got to you, didn't they?" This often happens with hair, make-up, and the occasional nail polish. I often proudly reply, "yup."

Since my mother has moved in with us, I am recalling many memories more and more. The times when I would comb and brush and brush and comb her hair as she allowed me to have my fun. Nowadays, I want to have fond memories, but it is very difficult to allow the happiness in. I would be lying if I said that I was taking things in stride. Truth be told, most days I feel sick to my stomach. My mother worked full time when we were growing up. She always managed to get things taken care of. Sure, there were times when things didn't go smoothly or we very much did not see eye to eye, but she was always capable of doing her own thing. Now, doing her own thing takes on a whole new meaning.

What brings the memories of styling my mother's hair about? Recently, I cut her hair. I was hoping to accomplish a few different things, create a more manageable length and set her up to be cooler once the warm months did finally decide to show up. The other day, after setting her up for her shower, I decided that I was going to style her hair, even if it was something simple. I knew her mother and sister would be coming to visit, and I wanted her to look nice. So, I took to braiding her hair, and that's when the memory came back. I use to do this as a kid, when I was dependent on her for nearly everything in my life. Now, she is dependent on me and my husband for nearly everything in her life. I had that sick feeling in my stomach again, and I wondered "can I do this"? Am I prepared for what is going to come in the next few years of our lives? Truth is, no, I am not. BUT, this is my mother's God given right, to have someone take care of her, and I am the best woman for the job. Not to knock anyone else, my sibling included.

Overall, I am thankful to have a husband who understands this. He has the same values and beliefs, and simply replies, "you would do the same for me." And I would, I would in a heart beat because we are family...we are best friends, a relationship that takes us far beyond lovers. Now, I am off to make sure hair is brushed, teeth are brushed, clothes clean, and any other needs in our blessed home are taken care of.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Little Miss M

So little Miss M is just that...little. I mean she is of the teeny tiny variety and we are working towards figuring out why that is. So far she has been listed as medically, "failure to thrive", which is a medical term that covers the inability to gain weight or one who looses too much weight. Among other issues, she has a propensity to turn blue whether it be 40 degrees or 80 degrees inside, outside or all around. Another cause for slight concern is that she is not developing where she should be for a near ten month old baby.

Please don't get me wrong, she is beautifully and wonderfully perfect. We love her more than words could ever express, but as a parent you start to get a slight concern when your baby doesn't follow the normal growth curve of all the other babies around and to boot, turns blue. True, we are use to small babies. Our last baby was an IUGR baby (Interuterine Growth Restricted) due to my pre E, so she came home at 4 # 3 oz. Today she is a 29 lb three year old who is full of piss and vinegar most days. Miss M. herself was 5# 12 oz, our biggest baby girl out of three, but still small in comparison.

Point is, I would like some answers, and I know that I will get them. This may mean that our tiny little girl is just that, tiny. So far, the biggest flag is her zinc level, which is low, but still no major cause for concern. In a few weeks we will be double checking to make sure her heart and circulatory system is working the way that it should be. Part of me wants them to find something just so things make sense and fit in a neat package. However, the other half, the part that adores our daughter, wants absolutely nothing to be wrong. I think this is honestly where we will land because the Lord is great and mighty. Moreover, we have faith that all things will work out for good, no matter what the findings are. Still, the next few weeks are going to put me on edge as I go from one extreme to the other, "my baby is great, she is fine...what is wrong with my baby?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Life Reimagined

So, on this day, our son's 12th birthday, I decide it was time to sit down and write. The last few months have defiantly been some of the most trying times that I have ever endured, and I was an Army wife who survived deployments.

There is a long list of things happening in our busy household that have claimed all of mine and my husband's attention. I am determined though, to foster something of my own. First, I want to write our love story as I believe it is not only beautiful, but inspirational as well. Second, I want to document the life of a busy wife, mom, graduate student, and daughter to a mother suffering from dementia. I want to inspire, I want to share our victories and failures, and I want to let folks know that there is always hope through the tough times.

What has been weighing on my mind lately, my children and my mother. My husband and I have been blessed with 4 beautiful children. Within the last few months, we have been transitioning my mother into our home (a 55 year old woman struck with frontal temporal dementia). To say the least, we are filled to the brim with people. I won't get into detail where everyone is located within our home, but know that everyone has their space, and all of it is defiantly legal. Back to our 4 children who are: one 12 year old son (happy birthday today!!!), and 3 daughters (girls age 9, 3, and 9.5 months). Needless to say, if our schedule wasn't filled up before with appointments, errands, and events, it is now with the addition of their grand mother. The point of this (I begin almost breaking into tears) is that these children have done quite well. Our oldest children (12 and 9) are not perfect, no. They have a lot to learn yet about diligently cleaning and working hard, but that will hopefully come by the time they are teenagers. What they do, help with their younger sisters. Our oldest daughter can scoop up her baby sister and sit with her like a little mama. She helps with changing diapers, feeding, and calming her sister when she is upset. They help clean up messes from their toddler sister who struggles with potty training (set on by a traumatic accident months earlier and her need to get attention). Our son, helps get his grandmother her drinks, wakes in the middle of the night when grandma cannot find her way to the bathroom, and makes sure that grandma washes her hands thoroughly after she lathers her hand with soap (as if putting on antibacterial cleaner).

These children do not fully understand yet, the heart that breaks inside their mother as their grand mother fails to wash her hands or puts her clothing on backwards. This has become the new normal for our children, and I thank them for giving what they do to this family. I thank the Lord that His hand guides this family, and has wrapped His loving arms around our children. They are the light of my life.

To this new journey we set forth on...Only through the Lord can I begin to endure.