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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Keeping Perspective


When I was leaving a doctors appointment this week with Brenna at the hospital, I pressed the down button on the elevator, and soon it opened to reveal a small family of elevator occupants.

The mother was looking for a different floor, so we joined her in the elevator as she and I laughed about how all of the floors look the same. She had two little blond girls with her, and she was pushing a third girl in a  very large, reclined high-tech wheelchair, a precious child who appeared to have very severe physical disabilities, if not mental limitations as well.

And I think if I had spent even two more seconds with this family, I would have felt inclined to give that mom a hug and tell her how much I admired her. Because I can only imagine the stresses of caring for a child with such special needs, along with multiple other children.

I thought about them all the way to the car as I thanked God for Brenna and the minimal care she needs as compared to what that child - and many others - probably does, and I said a prayer for that family to stay strong.

Sometimes when we're around family and friends and people, and there are kids running and playing and so seemingly perfect and healthy, the normalcy of everyone is almost suffocating to me. And that's when I think that our lives will never be a quick weekend away with lots of outdoor activities planned (without months of planning anyway), a carefree trip to the local hill for sledding, a last-minute afternoon at the pool. The worry of temperature and germs and Aquaphor applications will always consume us to some extent.

But I often have to force myself to take a step back, to keep perspective.

First and foremost, Brenna is here with us today. That alone is cause for more celebration than anything else we'd ever want to have or do. She is the perfect addition to our little family, and she lights up our lives.

When I blogged the other day about occasionally struggling with being a stay-at-home mom, I was reminded by some kind commenters that even though I felt this job is the envy of no one, those who want so desperately to get pregnant would trade places with me in an instant. I was humbled by these comments, and they reminded me how richly blessed Evan and I are by our two beautiful children. Having the sole responsibility of these little people in our lives can sometimes be very overwhelming, but I can't even describe the value they have added to our family.

Yes, Brenna has a very severe and serious skin condition, and it's something that will change many aspects of life for us, and for her. But ultimately, though her skin care is constant, it's pretty simple at its core. Daily baths, constant lotion and a little pump to feed her? I'll take it. Compared to the highly technological equipment and care so many children with special needs require, we often remark how simple the "tools" are that we need to keep her alive and healthy.

I think this will be a constant internal struggle for me - feeling like we have it hard and then feeling like we have it easy.Wishing Brenna didn't have to overcome all of the obstacles that she does on a daily basis and that she will in the future...and then feeling blessed beyond measure.

But already I have seen how God places certain people and events in my life to help me keep perspective, and I am grateful for his guidance, especially at times when I am unaware that I need it.

12 comments:

  1. As always, you choose to grow and learn from your daily experiences. Being open to how much an unexpected encounter can help us gain perspective is the best way to walk through the world. Hooray for you for choosing that openness. Again, Brenna will learn all good things from you.

    I wanted kids but was never able to get pregnant. I went through years of infertility treatments and struggled with "why her and not me?" every time someone else I knew had a baby, and then another baby. It was hard to perceive anything beyond my own disappointment and loss. And then on the same day I heard that a friend's wife was pregnant (after trying only one month) and another friend had breast cancer. In the space of two hours I had my typical "why her and why not me?" response to two very different situations. Why was she pregnant and not me? Why did she have cancer and not me? That day helped me find a peaceful acceptance with my infertility and stopped me from every wondering "why her and not me?" about anything.

    We learn things along the way that help us cope with whatever it is we face that we didn't ask for. What you describe in your post today is one of those things. You're an amazing young woman. And your daughter will be an amazing young woman too!

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  2. Wonderful post about keeping all of the ways we are blessed in prespective with what challenges us. As usual, you articulate this struggle beautifully.

    And Sharon, I love your comment. I hope I can possess as much strength and insight in the face of heartache and disappointment. <3

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  3. Amen. That is why it is healthy to get out and get around. It makes you grateful, and empathetic. Prayers headed your way, guys. Glad things are a "smooth ride" now.

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  4. Breanna's a bright girl. I believe her skin condition is making you much more empathetic toward others, and shows you that others have it much harder than you.

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  5. Beautifully expressed! Blessings on you and your family.

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  6. Love reading your words...you're expressions are so beautiful!! Thank you!

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  7. Courtney,

    You truly are an inspiration to many! I love reading your blog, and love even more hearing about your love for the Lord! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. Courtney please know that life won't always be so constrained. As Brenna grows and learns to manage her care herself, and things become more routine, dare say predictable, you'll be able to do so much. I never felt like I missed out on doing stuff as a kid, and certainly don't now. It can be hard to be spontaneous, like stay out all night, but I do the best I can. Love this post. Brenna and you look just beautiful in your photo.

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  9. Your posts are incredibly inspiring to me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    Veronica Burk
    (casie Burk jones sister in law)

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  10. Don't doubt yourself. You are doing it harder than the rest of us but you are excelling at it. I am the mother of two boys the same ages as your kids and I find it overwhelming every day as it is. Being a mother is relentless, requires an infinite amount of patience and is oh so tiring. It is as you say, the best and most rewarding job out there and I am grateful every minute of my day for my two boys, but I have moments of 'get me out of here'. So, with the extra care you have to factor in with Brenna I can imagine it is extra challenging to say the least. You may admire the lady you saw in the lift, but in the same vain, I admire you as well. It's sometimes taboo to complain about being a mother, but mothers need to support one another and to do so we have to be realistic about what we are all going through. It's all relative. When I am asked to sing 'Wheel's on the bus' for the 20th time during the day.......I have to remind myself how 'lucky' I am ;)

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  11. We ALL have the feelings you have, just in different ways. I know even moms of "normal" kids think "my kids are the greatest" one day and then the next, "why can't my kids be as talented/well-behaved/trendy/personable as so-and-so's kid?" When I thought I was infertile, I was overly critical of moms who complained. Now that I have 4 kids, I am the mom that sometimes complains and feels guilty about doing the complaining. Sometimes I want to drop my kids off at a daycare/school and go to work a "normal" job. Other days, I am thanking God that I chose to home school and we make sacrifices to let me be able to stay here with the kids. I do know that seeing someone in a certain situation can definitely put life into perspective, though! Love the pic of you and Brenna. :)

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