Saturday, September 6, 2014

When Life Doesn't Look The Way You Think it Should

We packed up in the middle of the night. Pulled the girls out of their bunk beds and quietly left Flagstaff and our Labor Day Weekend vacation in the middle of the night. Reese was struggling to breathe. We needed to get out of the altitude quickly.

The girls had plans to make breakfast with their cousins in the morning. Olivia and the new neighbor friend had planned to play a game. Those plans were stripped bare suddenly when we peeled them away from their snuggling cousins that night.

I would say, typically, I am a “suck it up, sweetheart” kind of mom. Not a coddler. But this night my heart was aching. One more time they had to miss out on something they looked forward to because their medically fragile sister needed attention.

I really don’t know if people realize it, but sometimes our life is hard. Not complaining. Pretty sure only a small group of people really GET what I’m saying. Our days are filled with therapies, doctor’s appointments, a constant stream of to-do's and concerns, and lots of attention on Reese. And those are the days when we are not fighting for her life in ICU. It can be really hard, no way around it. I love her with every fiber in me, and if I loved her any more I would explode. And let me say that she is one of my life's greatest joys and sweetest gifts, lest anyone misunderstand. But she does require a lot of time and energy. True story.

We don’t have the freedom to run to the mall, take a trip to Hawaii, or even run out to get toilet paper without scheduling it. It’s just the way it is. The siblings sometimes pay a great price. Life is not as carefree as I wish it were for them. They worry about their sister dying. And I hate that they worry about that.

So we were driving back to Phoenix that night in the quiet darkness. My heart hurt for them. Olivia teared up as she said, “I didn’t get to say goodbye.”
“I’m so sorry you guys. I know you had plans. Thanks for getting in the car,” I told them. Then I turned around and held back some tears. They were great sports about it, but all I could think was it’s really not fair.

After some silence, I heard Faith say, “Thanks for being a great mom.”
“What do you mean?” Pulling children out of bed in the middle of the night didn't seem like it qualified me for such praise.
“Thanks for doing whatever it takes for Reese.”

Wow. Not what I expected. She gets it and she wasn't thinking of everything she was missing out on. A glimpse of selflessness. Thank you, God.

Yesterday, while driving Mia to a rehearsal I quizzed her about her childhood.
“Would you say it has been awesome…good…or just OK?”
Yes, this has been on my heart since that middle of the night drive.:)
“I’d say it’s been awesome.”
“What would you say has been the best part of your childhood?”
Without hesitation, she answered, “When Reese was born.”

It was one of those moments when I felt like God had come up behind me to rub my shoulders and say, “It’s OK, Sweetie. I've got this.”

You know what? Just because life doesn’t look the way you thought it would doesn’t mean it can’t be good. And sometimes those things we think are the hardest on our kids are the things that are making them awesome. Refining them to unselfishness. Teaching them to overflow with compassion and love for other people. I wouldn’t have designed it like this. But God has, and He is overwhelming me with joy as He unveils pieces of his mysterious ways when I least expect it.


  1. Teared up reading this. We live in such a world of entitlement and I'm so glad when I see kids NOT acting that way. I see the giving, loving spirit in my own kids - although not for such extreme reasons - and I am so thankful each and every time for them thinking of their sibling or friend instead of themselves. I think, God is in charge. God is good. Always. Thank you for sharing.

  2. You are a great mom. You are a great teacher of love and faith.

  3. You know we 'get it' with all the sacrifices you make for Reece. We also know that there is nothing you would change, except for her having good health. Yes, there are moments of pity partys occasionally. But they pass and you move on with a cheerful heart. And there may not be the date nights or the vacations or the sleeping in on Saturday or all day shopping trips when school starts with your girls........But the joy you give Reece is an amazing gift to her! Even more, the joy she gives you is priceless! I can relate to the feelings of guilt and sadness when you can't 'be there' sometimes for your other girls. The words 'I can't right now' still makes my heart ache for the many times I had to say it. I mean, aren't we supposed to 'be there'! BUT, what I see in my grown kids now is only love for their disabled siblings and a bond I didn't expect. I see compassion and the ability to smile when they see others with similar conditions as their siblings I've seen them see a scared and teary-eyed DD adult and go over with tears in their own eyes and hug that person until they were feeling safe and happy again. And I see them want to care for and protect their siblings when we won't be able to some day! All thus to say, yes our healthy kids sacrifice what might be called a 'normal' childhood. But the character they develop and maturity is so valuable The Lord has His arms wrapped around them! And you guys are doing an AMAZING job! Your witness is strong. People watch in awe! Your attitude shines out joy and kindness and patience and peace and gentleness....Know you are doing a great job and, as I do for our two children with the Lord, there will come a day to look forward to when we will walk and talk together with our kids who never have spoken a word! Won't that be a glorious day!!!!!

  4. You ARE a great mom and Mario IS a great dad and you are both raising 4 amazing daughters! I always love reading what you write and I always cry. Thank you for sharing your life.

  5. Love you so much! Thank you for sharing your heart through such lovefilled words!


  6. So glad you shared this Kerry! A great and timely reminder to me that God's plan is often unexpected, yet always perfect


Thanks for taking the time!