Thursday, April 2, 2015

home, at last.

"What is the goal?
A house that is like the life that goes with it, a house that gives us beauty as we understand it-and beauty of a nobler kind that we may grow to understand." -Elsie De Wolfe
One year ago, we were one year past the time when our family shifted and changed.  In the cold of winter Nora expressed the need to move from our big white house where we were once a family to a place where her memories would be new.  I heard her.  I watched her closely and decided that this little girl was onto something.  We needed a fresh start; a foundation where we could build our strength back up and therefore our lives. 
One year ago the kids and I lived moved into a quaint 3 bedroom house that was just the right size for us.  We had neighbors, the best front porch, a large yard, and a really great open field where they could run and play.  The move was hard initially.  When we left the big house, especially for the kids, it felt like we left an entire life behind.  And essentially we did.  We left the notion of what once was in that home; airy, cold and bitterly empty.  But we didn't look back either. 
I tried really hard to make the transition good for the kids.  And as the days passed, we watched as they got better.  Emotionally they just got better.  There were still really hard moments.  Really tough days.  There were crying breakdowns and fits of anger like I've never seen.  There were hard truths to talk about and really honest conversations about life that I wish never had to be had with my children, only 7 and 8 years old.  It was excruciating to walk through those days with them.  But we did.  We walked through it, together.
And we did what we set out to do.  We started fresh, building strength from a foundation of God, love, honesty, trust, and family.  We answered their questions truthfully.  We spent every day with them, never leaving and assuring them that we wouldn't.  We talked, talked and talked some more.  We hugged, danced, celebrated holidays, ate family dinner, enjoyed making new friends, tested our limits and really opened ourselves up to the possibility of a life that was far more grand that we ever could have dreamed.
A few weeks ago, the dreams that I once dreamed as a little girl came true. 
It's not at all how I imagined it would be with a cookie cutter family, shared last names, Sunday morning church, healthy children, and a home that was our home from the start of it all. 
Rather, God turned what could have been very broken and very imperfect into something very, incredibly, oh so extraordinarily good. 
As He promised He would.

You see, two years ago when our world was rocked on a cold February morning, I set in my mind to go on.  I set in my mind to trust God with whatever it is He was going to do with the mess I was in.  I quite literally remember looking in the mirror one day and saying, "I'm done.  It's all up to you.  Whatever it is that you're going to do, just do it.  I'm all in."
I was. 
And here I am. 
Two years later.  
A few weeks ago the kids, Chris and I moved into a home that we hope will be ours until these kids are grown.  It sits on the outside of our little town, on top of the most perfect hill and rests in the center of 2 acres.  The sun sets directly behind our living room window where we just happen to have large sliding glass doors.  There hasn't been an evening since getting here that I haven't stood in awe.
Of this life.  That sun.  The beauty.  The bigness of this world and of His love. 

When I stop and really think about it all, I'm overwhelmed. 
Some of us bounce questions around to one another, asking things like,
"Was this God's plan all along or did He take what went bad and truly turn it around for good?" 
"Was this the ultimate end game?" 
"Was this what God intended all along and it just took life and choices and the mess to end up here?"
All I know is that out of the darkness, depth and ashes, God truly did form beauty.  It is still really difficult on most days but I can look at the faces of these children now and see that in it all, they are going to be ok.  Their foundation is sturdy and their hearts are pure. 
They are good.
This may not have been the original plan, but I have to believe in my heart of hearts that this was the plan God envisioned for us; that He wanted the goodness of this exact moment, this exact life to be our truth and our legacy. 

The last 4 weeks have brought amazing changes for our family as a whole; changes that will inevitably provide security, safety and stability for the kids.  In moving to a new home, I tried desperately to make it feel 'normal' for them right away as to help control what could otherwise feel very scary and overwhelming for them.  I also have this strong desire to make everything feel as normal as I can in their lives because they have so much going on that is so far from it.  

5 weeks ago Mabel had the biggest seizure that I've ever seen.  It lasted a very long time, what felt like an eternity.  Chris and I watched her and I felt the panic rise from my stomach into my throat.  There was nothing we could do except watch.  I began to sweat. 
We are wholly helpless.
She hasn't quite been the same since. 
She stopped drinking by mouth completely.  She's choking or more often than not, flat out refusing to swallow, some days even her own saliva.  I'm thankful for her tube but I'm just sick about it.  This is one change that I have always known that I wouldn't be ready for.  I could never have anticipated how hard it has been for me, more so because I know that any change of this magnitude is one that could mean so much more than just not drinking a bottle. 
She is far more lethargic than she's ever been, falling asleep at random times and some days not having enough energy to even jerk around like she once did.  Other days she still screams for 12 hours straight and seizes almost non stop.  The up and down from day to day is emotionally exhausting.  It's so sad and hard and unpredictable.  My mind and body are exhausted at all times.  And my heart? 
My heart is still beating but otherwise, it's hard to say.  I'm very sad and very scared.  Very worried and very stressed. But mostly sad.  

Strangely the sad only fills up part of my spirit.
I'm in no way taken over by it anymore.
Because truly, life is really unbelievably great.  Every day I wake up and wonder how anyone gets this lucky. 
Even on our hardest, saddest, most overwhelming days I can't help but look around and feel blown away by joy and love.  

The big kids are doing great in school.  Nora's doing speech and is in therapy, which she loves.  Braden had a couple of appointments this month as well, one ending with two teeth having to be pulled, another telling us he needs his tonsils taken out and another that will bring about a whole lot of relief for him in general.  Their grades are above average and they seem to be making really great friends.  Every single day I am in awe of how really great they are.  They handle life with such grace, such poise, such dignity.  I pray that these are traits that they continue to exude throughout life.  They are honest, kind, compassionate, empathetic and very intuitive kids.  Those things are incredible gifts to possess!
All in all, the view from here is remarkable. 
I can see things exactly the way they are meant to be seen. 
There is peace, hope, joy, family and love. 
So much of it.

Our days are, as usual, a perfect blend of calm and chaotic.  There is just enough of a balance that it all feels too good to be true.  I feel incredibly lucky, thankful and happy. 
I've never known the kind of joy that my heart knows right now, all of us together in a place that we not only call home but that feels like a home should truly feel. 

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