I have carried Nathaniel for nine months. His feather light hair rests in the nook of my left elbow and he breathes softly through his tracheotomy tube. He sleeps deep in my arms. His body wraps around mine; his right hand resting on my chest, his feet extending to my right hip. We are stomach to stomach and he feels as much a part of me as if I once held him inside. In these quiet intimate moments I think of the woman who carried him in her womb for nine months.
Submitted by kim on Tue, 04/29/2014 - 19:10 in Lessons for Mom
I quit my job of twenty-five years last week.
My husband said it was time. And since the job in question was being his father’s caregiver, I had no choice.
I first realized the job vacancy in the late 1980’s. A couple days after our honeymoon, I sat in my new in-laws' kitchen helping my husband install a Christmas present dishwasher purchased by the siblings. As he finished and put the tools away in the basement, his mom asked me, “Would you like to stay for a bowl of ice cream?” Four hours later, ice cream bowls beside the sink, and Skip-bo cards strewn across the table, we said our goodbyes.
They needed care.
I feel like skipping tonight! And it's not just the spring weather in St. Louis. Nathaniel participated in a two hour augmented communication study at St. Louis Children's Hospital today and it was AMAZING!
Let me back up and give some necessary info.
We know Nathaniel will be non-verbal for a number of years at least. His trachea abnormality prevents him from passing air over his vocal chords. As a side note, yes, that means Nathaniel does not make an audible cry. He cries like all babies, but the only sound is an increased respiratory rate. Everyone knows he needs a different way to communicate. The go to option of course is speech therapy.
Nathaniel came home from the hospital with round the clock private duty nursing. I would love to write a blog post on how smooth Nathaniel's second first night home went. But it didn't. We were up all night fixing problems the night nurse was creating. At two in the morning I asked her to sit in the living room. She had told me she was afraid to drive in the dark and I couldn't turn her out in the middle of the night.
And I would love to write that she was the exception and that all of Nathaniel's nurses since have been fantastic. But they haven't. I've come to realize that private duty nursing care is a lot like homeschooling. It is as good or bad as the individual doing the job.
I went to court for the first time in my life yesterday. And it about did me in.
It was family court. Rich and I sat outside the court room for too long waiting for our new baby's case to be called. The waiting space, it can't be called a room because it was hardly more than an extra wide hall, was filled with people. Parents. Lawyers. Social Workers. Multiple times during that wait I had to swallow away tears due to the conversations I overheard. Because children's lives aren't meant to be decided on linoleum floored courthouse hallways or lived out in five inch rubber banded manila file folders.
We are starting our fifth year caring for my husband’s father in our home. It has been a very rewarding experience that has enriched our lives tremendously. The last four years haven’t been conflict free though, and I’ve learned a lot through the process of sharing my home with an in-law. Perhaps these three lessons will encourage other families in a similar living arrangement.
1. Maintain a Proper Perspective of the Responsibility
I had thirty minutes to waste at Barnes and Noble last weekend and walked out with John Eldredge's Fathered by God: Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You. I didn't intend to by a book on manhood, or even intend to buy a book at all. But when I thumbed through Elderidge's book, a chapter title caught my attention: Cowboy.
Just like I buy books without intending to, I have raised cowboys without setting out to do so. We have lassos, hats, dusters, and more boots than I can count. And somehow I've raised these cowboys while living in the suburbs of a large city. Without horses.
Submitted by kim on Thu, 10/04/2012 - 18:25 in Lessons for Mom
I walked into church smelling like Bath and Body. I made my way to the third row on the left. My family moaned, "Can't we sit somewhere else?"
We planned our summer vacation for this moment. 2,623 miles. And I couldn't watch.
He took a job out west working as a wrangler on a ranch this summer. The town's July 4th rodeo gave all the wranglers the opportunity to be cowboys.
He told me early June he was entering two events: Wild Cow Milking and Wild Horse Racing.
Wild Cow Milking was first.
His job was to chase down a roped cow and hold her still so a team member could milk her.
He had run and caught her three times, been tossed over her head, pressed under her weight, and dragged.
My heart has been wrestling.
It started the week before the inner city mission trip. I spent the week rearranging my homeschool room. We moved bookshelves, used some scrap wood to make shelves, added a $20 light. For years now I've enjoyed taking time in the summer to make the space fresh for the upcoming year. I excitedly shared photos.
Even as I prepared, I noted how big our school room now feels. Where there was once six of us doing school daily, there will be only three this year. Though the size is the same, each child leaving home makes the entire house feel bigger.