I’ve started pulling back from checking in on Jack. I still have plenty of contact with the director, but I’m not texting her every day to see how he is doing. I need this space for my sanity. If he can’t be here physically with us, then I can’t torment myself with daily bits of out-of-context information.
The sadness is still very much present. But with this emotional distance, I am better able to cope.
Today, parenting Jack involved emailing some paperwork to the director. I mothered Jack by buying him a much needed new swimsuit on Amazon and had it shipped to his new home. I added a sensory spinning toy for kicks. Then I put my grief in a box and put it on a shelf and stopped thinking about it.
I went to the gym and it felt great. I took Truman to swimming lesson, and Henry to the rec center to hoop. I took the little boys to Despicable Me 3, which we all liked. I made a healthy dinner and everyone ate it, except Truman, who basically only eats dino nuggets dipped in ketchup and yet still lives and grows quite tall. Go figure.
Today felt like a good version of our new normal.
And yet, the world spins and pain happens. Two of my kindred friends have medically fragile children who are recently on hospice. As they step closer to the hinge moment of their lives, the event around which all other events, past and present will turn, I feel we are comrades in arms. We are marching on to battle. We’ve come from other battles. It’s a weary war, but it’s the war we’ve been called to fight in.
I don’t intimately know their daily experience, but my heart stretches out across hills and a valley to where April and April live. I know loss. Perhaps in a different way, but loss nevertheless. I feel so much love for them and their families. The disabilities aren’t the same, but the appreciation of life, and hope, and faith that Jesus Christ has ensured our kids’ restoration to wholeness—it’s carved on all of our hearts by the fallibility of our children’s mortal tabernacles.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21.
This is the passage of scripture that’s been floating through my mind this week. I’ve pondered it as I’ve thought of Isaac and Leah.
I’ve thought about it as I watch my parents grapple with serious health challenge after serious health challenge.
I’ve pondered it on the elliptical, and while weeding, and while folding sun-baked beach towels that were hanging over the deck railing.
I’ve repeated those verses in my mind as we purchased new flooring for our basement, and planned to move the old furniture downstairs making way for new living room furniture. I think God is reminding me not to care too much about it. My philosophy as we choose new planks and couches to replace the broken/trashed ones we’ve long lived with is this:
A Good-Enough House Will Do.
It doesn’t have to be amazing. It doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy or aesthetically unique. I don’t have to stress about how well it reflects my inner style. Just find something that looks pretty good (and is durable as heck) and go with it. Good Enough.
A Good-Enough House Will Do.
You don’t get to take it with you, and if you spend too much time thinking about it, that’s where you heart will be.
Where’s my heart?
A big ragged part of it is two hours away at Jack’s house.
It’s beating and hurting for Leah’s and Isaac’s parents.
It’s healing and regenerating when I talk to and write to other SN moms who are desperate for direction and a measure of peace in their frantic families.
It calms when I pray in earnest and the Holy Spirit applies a salve that always soothes, no matter what.
My heart is broken open, expanding in grief.
It’s better than hardening and withering. I suspect both hurt.
I’d rather my heart become an expansive mess than a shriveled thing with a hard candy shell.
(V blurry action shot of Jack reveling in Santa’s Christmas Eve stop at Gma Shirley’s house. This squeezes my heart and feels happy/lovely at the same time).