Saturday, April 01, 2017
When the Bubble Bursts
Recently our little family of three took a vacation to Destin, Florida. Mike and I had planned the trip long before Louisa was born and after our naiveness wore off we realize why new parents don't often take vacations. The trip was a perfect storm of adversity and strain. Louisa got sick prior to departure and after a visit to her beloved pediatrician it was confirmed she had an ear infection. We hoped for the best and still proceeded with the plan.
We tried to take walks on the beach and go out to dinner but it typically ended with Mike and I taking turns inhaling our food and Louisa yelling in discomfort. After a couple days in Florida I started to feel this weight on my shoulders. I couldn't explain it. I started to feel insecure. In Lexington we are in a bubble. We have our family and then we have our friends, which I consider them just an extension of our family. People know Louisa and love her regardless of the Downs syndrome. While we were in Florida I felt like I had to explain her to the servers or people on the beach. I felt like I had to protect her from their judgements or negative thoughts. I was in the midst of some serious spiritual warfare and was failing to lay my insecurities before the Lord.
Towards the end of our trip after sleepless nights and stress Mike sent me to get a massage. The massage was by far the best massage I had ever had. As I opened the door excited to share my experience with Mike I was startled by a big, "Surprise," coming from my husband and some old/new friends.
Mike had arranged for Morgan, Chad and Gracie to come and spend the last three days with us at the condo. I couldn't have dreamt of a better surprise. Morgan and I went to middle school and high school together and after Louisa was born we reconnected. Gracie is their 4-year-old (soon to be 5) daughter. Gracie has Down syndrome. Gracie instantly became my new best friend and watching Morgan be her mom was incredible. I consider the timing of their presence a divine intervention. I saw all of Gracie's abilities and felt so encouraged. I saw her momma give her independence and grace. It was good for both Mike and I's hearts.
After saying good-bye to our sweet friends we began our journey home. As we drove towards Lexington I made the decision that I was going to try harder. I was going to push harder. I was going to stop failing to parent my child and do whatever needed to be done. As I played with Louisa in the hotel room I felt shame for being insecure about her having Down syndrome and again decided I wouldn't fall into that trap again. I decided I would be better. Oh the pride that was pouring out of my soul covering up my need for the Cross.
After getting back to Lexington I realized I needed like 45 more hours of sleep. Unfortunately, the extra sleep didn't happen and we started our normal work/daycare week. Louisa started daycare at Milk and Honey in Lexington. Every morning when I drop her off her teacher glows with excitement and joy. At first dropping her off was terrifying. Would she eat? Would she sleep? Would she have meltdowns? Would her teacher hold her and soothe her? Would she be taken care of? I soon learned the answer to all of my apprehension was YES. Yes she would eat. Yes she would be taken care of. Yes she would have meltdowns but yes she would be soothed. Ms. Rebecca made it easier and easier for me to drop Louisa off because I trust her with my whole heart. She loves Louisa. She is genuine and loving. I couldn't have dreamt of a better surprise.
Even though God was continuing to protect our little girl and provide her with the best care I was still discouraged. Sunday night I felt defeated and grouchy. As I listed, in my head, my insufficient attempts of the day I started to cry. I started blaming Mike. I convinced myself that I was the only one that cared about Louisa's progress. If he cared more Louisa would be rolling over and sitting up. I feel sad to admit this to you all but it is the truth of my dishonoring flesh.
Monday morning we had Louisa's Occupational Therapist come to the house for her appointment. I confessed to Jessica my discouragement and doubt. Jessica graciously listened and offered encouragement. All day I just kept thinking; What am I doing wrong? How can I be better? How do I motivate this child to push herself? Tuesday evening L and I were finishing up her bedtime routine. If you have spent any time at our house in the evening you know I am a little bit crazy about bedtime. Our bedtime routine serves many purposes but it is also my most treasured time with my girl. I laid L down on her blanket on the floor and went to the bathroom to fill up her diffuser with water. As I walked back in her bedroom I had to do a double-take, L was on her belly. BUT WAIT... when I left the room she was on her back?? It was probably just a fluke thing, every now and then she can roll if she is on uneven ground or has a bit of assistance. I rolled her onto her back and turned on her humidifier and plugged in her diffuser and as I turned around and she was pushing herself onto her belly from her back again. WHAT?? Did I just imagine that? I laid her on her back again and this time I sat and watched and sure enough this little girl was rolling! I couldn't have dreamt of a better surprise.
Not only was the little girl rolling but she did it at home with me! She hadn't done it at daycare that day! Tears filled my smiling eyes and I held Louisa close. I am so sorry, I whispered, I am so sorry for making it about me. I closed my eyes and thanked God for continuing to humble my prideful heart and not giving up on me. The fact is I can do everything on my own accord and still fail. I can push, get frustrated, and plead but it isn't about ME. I could do everything 'right' and still fail. I could do everything 'wrong' and succeed. I pray God continues to open my eyes and humble my heart. I sometimes feel like I don't deserve to be this beautiful girl's momma but I am so grateful I am!