We're back at school today after a bout with illness over the weekend. Amanda had a bad cold early last week but recovered within a few days. Katie caught it and was down for a while---Saturday afternoon through last night. She had an incessant cough which began to hurt her chest. We got her some tussin medication, and she noticed things start to break up once she began taking that. She was too sick to attend church Sunday or school yesterday, but she is on the mend today. I'm sure she still wishes she were home today, but she needs to finish the school year........and there are only one and a half weeks left to go! Emily began running a low-grade fever Friday night, nothing to worry about but enough to make her miserable. She complained of a very sore throat (Katie did as well) for which we gave her Tylenol and ibuprofen round the clock Saturday night/Sunday. Saturday night was pretty bad; Emily could only sleep a couple of hours at a time and woke up crying long before the next dose was due. She fared better Sunday, although I didn't even try to take her to church. No need to expose her to more germs or infect her entire Sunday school class! She took long naps Saturday, Sunday, and yesterday to make up for the sleep she lost and slept better these past two nights as well. She, too, wishes she didn't have to be at school today, but I think alot of that is simply "mommy withdrawal." Sometimes I swear the umbilical cord is still attached! The waterworks have been flowing freely and continually since she realized she had to go to school this morning. I have reached the end of what little patience I possess and am now considering boxing her up and attaching a label for Timbuktu! To make matters worse, now I have a nagging irritation in the back of my throat which is causing me to cough frequently and consume numerous cough drops. I don't even want to be here today; this attitude makes it difficult to display kindness and patient understanding when Emily begins crying over the (stupidest!) tiniest little thing. Once again, I am left in confusion as to why God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me, less-than-outstanding mother that I am, five children to rear for Him. It is a well-established fact in our household that, if the kids ever turn out warped, it will be my fault. Any good character traits come from Chad; all bad ones trace directly back to me! Heaven help us! :-)
As yet another example of my unworthiness as a parent, I messed up my son's medication Sunday morning. I could use the girls' illness as an excuse, but the truth is that I just plain forgot. I got Dale up and ready for church (that sounds like I dressed him and brushed his teeth, doesn't it? He got himself ready; I just played overseer) and saw them out the door ("them" being Chad, Amanda, Dale, and Ashley), never once remembering Dale's meds. I spent Sunday morning caring for Katie and Emily and starting a big pot of wonderful potato soup (I can say that because it's true.......and because I came up with the recipe all by myself, and it's gooooood!). When everyone arrived home, I concentrated on dishing up lunch and continuing to care for the sick ones. By the early afternoon, I had developed a migraine which only worsened as the day progressed, negating any possibility of even driving the healthy kids to the evening service (Chad had to work). It wasn't until 7:00 Sunday night that I realized I had completely forgotten Dale's morning meds! By then, it was too late to administer them. I simply made sure he took his evening meds on time and put him to bed. Since there were two girls home sick yesterday and Dale had no therapy scheduled, I kept him home as well. This allowed me to keep a closer eye on him since his body was adjusting to the lapse in medication. He did fine, of course; I mean, was I really expecting something drastic? But, referring to the previous paragraph, if Dale had had a problem, whose fault would it have been? MINE! :-)
I was kind of thankful for an opportunity to see how Dale would do, doing school work at home with his sisters providing distractions. When I dropped off Ashley and Amanda yesterday morning at school, I ran in and grabbed Dale's books from my classroom. Once Dale was awake and ready for the day, we sat at the dining table and proceeded with his lessons for the day. Dale did very well blocking out distractions and concentrating on his work. Emily did her best to bother him, insisting on laying out her collection of Littlest Pet Shop creatures right next to him at the table. Plus, the TV in the other room was on, and people were going in and out of the dining room. These distractions are very similar to what SP sets up each week to teach Dale how to focus, so I allowed them to a certain extent. And Dale stepped up to the challenge, getting as much work done at home yesterday as he would have at school. He worked on math, science, history, and vocab (quiz) from about 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a short break in between. Once he ate his lunch, he sat down in front of the TV and watched cartoons before switching over to a video game. I think the "see how Dale will work at home during the summer" experiment was a success. (Do I get to take credit for that?)
Speaking of video games, Dale has this sneaky? encouraging? pull-the-wool-over-our-eyes? habit of maneuvering himself around the living room to attain a personal goal: loading a video game into the X-Box. He will stand up and walk to the TV stand or sit on the nearby couch and reach over to turn on the X-Box, load the game, grab the controller, and return to his seat. He does this at school, too, finding a way to either walk over to the student computer in my classroom or scoot himself in his chair over there so he can play games when his work is done---or when I'm out of the classroom too long! He's even learned to deal with falling during these times. If he falls (and he has), he'll wait until his trembling and jerking stops before getting to his feet again. To do this, sometimes Dale will simply balance himself, get up on his knees, and push to his feet; sometimes, he will use a nearby chair or desk for balance. Either way, his desire to play a game exceeds his fear of falling---which is exactly what we want him to learn! Dale's desire to achieve some goal must outweigh his fear of possibly falling in order for him to keep striving to get better and better. And he is, thanks be to God! Every day we see God's hand of healing on our son; every day we have reason to be thankful.
Do you realize that, even though Dale is doing so well now and showing progress regularly, we could be in a much different situation? Dale could be dead, having never recovered from his drowning in the Pacific Ocean. Dale could be in a hospital bed, his mind in a vegetative state, unable to control his own body, never to leave the hospital again. He could be severely retarded, needing constant care and protection, unable to feed himself or dress himself. He could be in a wheelchair for life; he could be on a ventilator for life; he could be unable to speak or eat or breathe or live. But, in a way, we would be in the same situation we are now: trusting God to know what's best and serving Him regardless of the circumstances. We would still have godly, faithful, praying teenagers who got God's attention by throwing themselves to the sand, disregarding onlookers' stares, and begging God for Dale's life. We would still have a loving, praying, giving church who, I am convinced, were the ones who directed God's hand of healing by their fervent prayers for His will to be done. They were the conduits by which our family was blessed, comforted, and held together during those first dark days when only God Himself knew what the outcome would be. We would still have a close circle of dear friends and family who did whatever we needed them to do, regardless of time sacrificed or sleepless nights spent at the hospital, so that we could stand watch over our son. We would still have the godly heritage and Biblical training in our backgrounds which laid the strong foundation of our faith in an almighty, all-loving, all-wise God. And we would still have God, the great I AM, the Creator of the universe, Who listened when we prayed "Father, whatever You see to be best, do. But, O Father, please, if it be Your will, spare our son. Restore him to us whole." He has promised never to leave us, nor forsake us. He is with us when the sun shines; He is with us in the shadows. He cares for us more deeply than we will ever know. He hurts when we hurt, and He holds us when we cry. He stands by patiently when we stray, and He welcomes us back when we repent. God is all we will ever need. We will always have Him.
Before Dale's accident, I prayed, "Lord, Your will be done. If You take one of our children, so be it. If You take my husband, so be it. Please let this family bring glory to You." When Dale's accident occurred, I prayed, "Lord, Your will be done. If You take Dale now, we will serve You. If You take my husband, we will serve You. Please let our family bring glory to Your name." Even now, I pray, "Lord, Your will be done. If You see fit to take Dale now, so be it. If You take one of the girls, so be it. If You take my husband, I will serve You. Please let this family glorify You always." I state this, not so I get any praise or so I am thought of as some great powerhouse Christian; I state this so that God knows I am sincere. I want my faith to be public so that, in times of despair or backsliding, I will be brought back to Him by the encouragement of fellow Christians who will remind me of my prayer today. And, please, don't get the impression that I am in any way the spiritual glue that holds this family together. That would be my dear husband, Chad. He has always been the godly pillar of strength and guidance that keeps our family on track. (Remember the first paragraph?!) I simply have voice here to express what we both feel: that God is God and, as such, can be trusted implicitly, no matter what the circumstances or how painful the grief. He......is......God.
Psalm 91: 4 "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
Hebrews 13: 5c "For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."