There have been a few times in the past that my life has changed dramatically. I remember when Kim broke her leg and I had to stay with the mean neighbors. My world was shattered and I don't think I have ever completely recovered. Then when Kim got hit by the truck, I blamed myself for the longest time (probably still do) and I also started to be afraid of things that hadn't previously scared me. I've always taken on the role of caretaker. When Kim was in college, it was I who make sure her phone was plugged in to charge every single night, and it was I who asked her every morning, "Do you have your phone?" when I probably wasn't even awake yet. Each night after I did my solitary 400 jumping jacks in the living room, I'd walk through the house and make sure the floors in front of each door were cleared so that if we all had to escape the house in the night, we'd be able to get out quickly.
Even now I feel like so much rests on me. So much responsibility is my responsibility. I have three children each with needs that are out of the ordinary. Not a single one of them is an easy child. Sure, there are parts of each of them that are easy, but other parts are hard. I have the responsibility of driving my husband everywhere he needs to go, and even though I love it, it's a time commitment and a responsibility that I am not willing to delegate to anyone else, mostly because I am afraid someone else will involve him in a wreck and he won't ever come home again.
The medical care of each child in this home rests on me, and they each have their challenges. Ilse, obviously, has the most, but Joey has some health issues too. And Chris has ear issues and emotional issues (Joey does, too). We also watch Chris' blood pressure, although that seems to be resolving itself.
Tim needs surgery and I am simultaneously looking forward to it (because the goal is less pain for him) and dreading it (because there will be rehab, hospitals, waiting rooms, babysitters, etc.. I'm a pro at hospitals (or so I tell myself) but I despise waiting rooms, and rehab means more driving.
So, I've been looking for ways to simplify our lives so that my stress level and responsibility level comes down to more what a cardiovascular surgeon might experience instead of what a Navy Seal in a war zone would experience.
I've found lots of ways. I'm looking for a nurse who will truly make me feel relaxed the few hours a week she comes to take care of Ilse and give me respite. I think we might have found one! We started eating low carb and so I have more energy. I've started sleeping much better, longer, and deeper. I've been more connected with new friends who understand my lifestyle and emotional needs. Hope's Seed has been a tremendous blessing to me and others.
And now, my life is going to change in even a more dramatic way. We've decided to send the boys to school. I guess that seems horrible to some, but we know it is the right choice, at least for now. It might be temporary or it might be permanent. We don't know and we are going to take it as it comes. This is the right choice for their education and for their future. It will be a huge adjustment for them, though, and it will be hard for all of us. Ilse will miss her brothers, I'll miss them, (and their help!) and even the boys will probably feel insecure and their behavior will probably regress. We're going to work through it, though, because we believe this will be for the best.
I've never been a mom to a baby only before. My days will seem strange! I went from just being alone all the time during the day, to being a mom to two wild boys, to being a pregnant mom to two less wild boys, and then to being a mom with a medically fragile child and two unbelievably wonderful boys. I told Tim that I'm not sure how to be a public school mom. I'm not sure how to be a mom to one child during the day. How do you even go shopping with one child? She's not really sitting up, so I guess I will be pushing a stroller and pulling a basket, which was dramatic the few times I've done it. I think I'll feel like I'm forgetting something/someone for a long time. But, this is one area I need to let go of being the caretaker of, and let someone else bear the daily responsibility for carrying out their education.
I hope we'll all adjust with a minimum of difficulty and pain.
We know the Lord is with us, guiding our decisions.
And we're thankful for the insight and peace He gave us as we made this decision.