Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This is one of those posts. The kind where I just lay it all out there- the stuff that's been heavy on my heart and mind for the past week. The photo above is of Wyndham's feet. She has traded her pink casts in for these ankle-foot orthotics {otherwise known as afo's}. I will use the term afo's in the future, just so you know what that means. Wyndham has worn afo's in the past, but never before have they been so big, bulky, thick or as unflexible as these. She is required to be in them 24/7- only having them removed for showering. They are basically keeping her foot in alignment and giving her feet high arch support. When we asked how long she will be wearing these at her doctor appointment a week ago we were told likely indefinitely, but at least 6-12 months. There could be revisions done for growth or other needs along the way, but this is it- these are the supports Wyndham has to learn to walk right now.
Needless to say, Chip and I left very disheartened for Wyndham after all her patience with her casts the past 2 months. She has been about as easy-going as we could ever expect her to be given her circumstances. I have nothing but admiration for her attitude through this whole experience.
Which is in part why it is hard to see what has to go through now. I will be totally honest here. I have been mad, angry, discouraged, frustrated, immature, unreasonable, stressed out, and a whole host of other not-so-nice things as a result of this surgery and recovery the past 2 months. I ended up pouring out a lot of my feelings in a letter to my sister last week and here's just a portion of that- because it was raw and real and part of me still feels this way. Here is, in part, what I had to say:

I am tired of facing each day knowing it brings more struggles and no matter how hard I try to look for it or create the joy just seems to have vanished from life. That's the truth of where I am at right now. The day before Thanksgiving.
I feel like the most pathetic person on earth. The bitterness that is taking root in my heart seems like the only thing that's thriving in life right now. I don't feel like 'fighting' for something better anymore. I really hope you can pray for me because I'm not sure I know what to say or if the prayers of my heart can even be answered right now.
Wyndham was fitted yesterday for some ankle-foot orthotics that are hard plastic and go from the whole bottom of her foot up to her mid-calf. Now after 2 months in casts she's supposed to relearn to walk in them and wear them 24/7 for 6 months to a year or more. That means she will be in knee socks and tennis shoes and even sleeping in socks and these supports... and that is where my anger and frustrations lie right now. All I can think is this-UNFAIR! I am already thinking of how she can't go to the beach and put her feet in the sand. I am thinking of how hard it will be to not bend her foot as she attempts to walk. I am thinking of how much she has had to take in this life and now, instead of some sort of reward for her patience and endurance, she is getting dumped on once again. I admit it, I am angry for her. I know she will overcome the obstacles placed before her but I am disgusted and down-trodden that this has become her lot in life. I am tired of seeing her rise to the occasion only to get knocked down time and time again.I t just doesn't seem fair.
I am tired of having to support her and watch her struggle. I wish I could just take on all her pain and challenges and make them my own. It hurts me so deeply to see her never able to reach her full potential because of the path her life has been forced to take.I am sorry to say when I look in the mirror of my life I don't like a whole lot of any of it right now. I know I have been optimistic and hopeful for a long, long time, but I feel like I've finally had enough. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'll admit it, I am struggling with what I am feeling inside right now. I know there are blessings in my life and things could always be worse. I do have a pocket of gratitude in my heart somewhere, but honestly I don't feel like wearing it right now. The hurt of everything in my life over nearly the past 10 years has surfaced all at once the past 2 months and I am ready to sit and wallow in that hurt. Wyndham's daily struggles have become, dare I say, a 'visual reminder' of the pain I feel from Teagan's death and a constant roadblock to experiencing happiness.
That's a lot for me to unload all at once.
What are your therapy fees?! =)
I know you can't change a thing for me- for Wyndham- for all of us, but I do appreciate that you would listen and care. I hope life starts proving me wrong and I hope that some glimmer of goodness starts glowing in life again too. I don't know how or why we've been dealt this hand that we've been given. But I do want to find my place back to believing that it's worth the struggle and to keep pressing on. Thanks for being in my corner when I need you. Thanks for praying our family through yet again. I hope you have many reasons to give thanks this year.
I'll look around and try to find my rose-colored glasses for tomorrow.
And if for some reason I find them, I might just start wearing them like Wyndham has to wear her afo's... 24/7.

* * * * *
I have been thinking so much about life's pain and hurt and challenges and I'll admit another thing. Sometimes I wish our "suffering" didn't have a name. Meaning, I get frustrated knowing that there is a person responsible for what Wyndham has to go through and has gone through for almost her whole life. I have been dealing with anger inside knowing that Wyndham's life challenges will follow her all her days, while the one responsible for her disablilities will walk away from her 'sentence next summer'. That reality has been dragging me down and while I still believe in my heart that forgiveness has been given and claimed in this situation, I am having to remind myself of that day after day. It's not an easy thing and I feel like my faith is sort of being chipped away at a little bit more with each new challenge our family has had to take on. Sometimes I think it would be 'easier' if all this just happened randomly- or accidentally- rather than intentionally, and that is proving yet another challenge to my faith.
So while Wyndham is still in her wheelchair all day long and has yet to take a step, I feel like I am the one with my feet bound and the one needing to learn to walk all over again.
Our family continues to be so encouraged by many of you who email and send notes on FB and pray for all we have gone through and continue to go through. We did have a very nice Thanksgiving with Chip's parents here with us. We DO have much to be thankful for and I am trying hard to not look too far into the future, but instead just focus on what the needs are in front of us one day at a time. I know that Wyndham has the fight in her to get back on her feet and walk again... I just feel like I'm not her best support system anymore and she deserves nothing less than the best right now. So, please feel free to keep praying her through this and to pray that I will find a way to lift my eyes and heart up even though it's an enormous task to look on and cheer her forward.
I am hoping to falter less and to triumph more.
And should I fail and stumble and fall, I am grateful to my family, friends, and God for giving me another chance to get back up. I've never claimed to be a superhero, or even a person of superfaith. It's in these times of trials that that is so evident to me. I am nothing on my own and I would have fallen apart by now. But thankfully God is rich in mercy and strength and He continues to hold me up and see us through. If anything good can come from Wyndham's suffering, it is this: it makes me believe more and more in God and His ways. Even when I can't see one step in front of me. I am humbled to know God has it all in His control.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just in time for Thanksgiving...

It's been a long two months- for her and for us. If all goes well, Wyndham should have her casts off tomorrow! The next phase is for her to be fitted for some ankle-foot orthodics and she will wear them for an indefinite length of time. But the good news is she will be able to start bearing weight on her feet again.
We're hoping she will have minimal pain and that she will find it a relatively easy adjustment to relearn balance and get back on her feet again. As always, we appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Wyndham- as this time around she literally takes the next step! Just in time for us to have something to truly be thankful for at this time of year!
I might even be on top of my game to take a Flip video of her first steps when she takes them. If that happens, you can be sure I'll post it here. As any proud mom would do. =)
Thanks for helping to see us through the past couple of months and caring as much as you do. We are more than ready to put this tough phase of our lives behind us. It's much more exciting to look ahead than down and let me tell you, we're so ready to see Wyndham on her feet again. She's had enough 'computer/table time' for this year! =)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The kindness of strangers...

You are all so supportive and your encouragement has been a blessing to me especially in the past 24 hours. I just wanted to stop in and say a big thank you for so many of you who have privately emailed me with your thoughts and prayers and words of inspiration to keep hanging in there right now, in addition to all of you who have left comments here too. It has helped me put things in perspective a bit and I'm feeling less 'alone' in this just knowing so many of you have been in the pits too and yet have found a way out. Or some of you are still trying to find a way out but willing to keep going too- just like us.
I will admit that I have been "sick and tired" of life being so hard on us. When I shared how Chip and I feel like we're ready to split our team up it stems more from us being frustrated with life's demands and the wish that things could be different- yet we're so 'stuck' with how things have to be right now. It's not that we don't love and care about one another and we're ready to call it quits, but almost the opposite- we sort of think that if one of us took on more of the 'problem issues' and the other person took the rest well then, at least a few of us would have a chance at happiness. Does that even make sense? It sounds funny when I type it out. But we've been here before. Here meaning at the end of our ropes- wishing things different- feeling like we can't be who we need to be to all the people who need us right now, and then thinking maybe we could cut our problems in half and at least salvadge life for part of our gang.
But it's not to be.
For lots of reasons.
And truthfully, we know that even trying to split the problems in half won't solve things, but instead add to the already long list of overwhelming issues in life right now.
I do think that as I've been able to write out some of what I'm feeling and thinking, as well as sharing it with some friends and with Chip that a lot of my hurt and inadequacies come from being Wyndham's mom and unable to change her circumstance and 'feeling' her pain and watching it but again, being unable to fix the hurt.
I will also say that as the time nears for her to get her casts off I have some new fears growing inside about how the next phase will go. I just want the world for her and have such love and respect for how well she has endured the past 8 weeks that I'm just holding out hope that she will get a bit of a reward for all she's been through. She's had more smiles than I have at times and I just know she is ready to move on from this situation of being so sedantary.
The kindness you have all shown through your understanding and words and emails has been a bit of what I needed to get through the rest of this week. To top it off though, Teague ended up with a horrible, 'barky' cough last night and he was checked out at Urgent Care today because of my growing concerns for him. At this point the doctor thinks it's a bit of croup and he was given some meds to help his breathing and cough. I just feel like one more big thing- like Teague being hospitalized- would be a bit too much right now. So I've been praying since early, early this morning and if you feel like joining me in prayers for his health I would love you all for that too.
It just seems that when I finally unload my burdens to whoever cares to listen, I am lighter for doing so and more clear in how to proceed. So thank you, thank you from me and all my family for walking through this not-so-hot part of our lives too.
I decided to lower my expectations a bit too- thanks to the advice and encouragement from many of you in that regards. I also sat on the couch nursing Teague today and told myself that how I was truly being productive at that moment- no matter how much my mind raced to other things on my to-do list that needed to get done. Sometimes, we women especially, can be so demanding of our own selves that we neglect to see just how important some of the 'little things' we do each day truly are in the scheme of things. I am vowing for the next however long I need to, to be less hard on myself, more tolerant of my little ones, and more appreciative of Chip. I think something as small as a shift in thinking can refocus and realign my heart and mind to better take on the challenges that life keeps sending our way. I hope I get around to baking something again soon too. There's something missing around our home and I think it might be the smell of baked goods. I'll be sure to pass along any recipes I whip up if that happens. Thanks again for all of your love, cares and prayers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Down, but not totally out.

This past Sunday the MN Vikings lost another football game bringing them to 3-6 for the season so far. Brett Favre stood in front of a swarm of media camera and microphones and made some post-game remarks about his losing team. As I sat on my couch and listened to his statements I commented to Chip- who sat across from me- that it was as though Favre were talking about our family. As the remarks about the losing team continued we found ourselves laughing at just how fitting the comments were to our family life right now.
We're in the homestretch of Wyndham's recovery from surgery and on the verge of the next phase; she will be fitted with orthodics and start therapy again. We're not sure what to fully expect once she's out of her casts, but we are crossing our fingers that things will get better from here on out, as we feel we've pretty much worn ourselves down and out the past 2 months.
As you can see from my lack of blogposts, I have not felt like writing, taking pictures, or even baking the past couple of weeks. That's a sign of just how rough things have gotten around here. Most often I turn to baking to relieve stress, so you know it's bad around here right now! =)
Truthfully, it has been bad and sad and ugly for several days. It's been stressful and I am sorry to say that I haven't done my best with our life circumstances the past 2 months. A part of me would like to blame post-partum blues. Which likely play a big part in how I've reacted to everything on our plates. Still, I have to admit and take responsibility for my actions and that means I have to say a big, "I'm sorry" to everyone in my family and some people who have been playing supporting roles to us at this time too.
Favre hit the nail on the head several times in his post-game remarks saying such things as, "There needs to be some changes made". His summery of the defeated Vikings team just matched my thoughts and feeling so much... but he also made a poignant statement where he said, "There's still a little bit of hope for us... there's still alittle life left in us". I was so glad to hear him say that because it actually was at that point that I laughed out loud and realized how true those words were. Not just for the losing Vikings, but for our family that has felt more than overwhelmed with life for weeks now. I'm so glad that we're down, but not without Hope. Even in hopelessness we first see HOPE!
I'm glad to tell you today is a new day. I feel like I am finally ready to admit that I've sunk far enough into the pit that life has dragged us into and I'm ready to start looking up- or wherever to find a way out. I do want to just tell the honest truth- more for me to look back on this for the next time I'm in life's pit- and say that I am awful down here. I 'look' awful- which means I haven't liked who I've become lately. I have yelled far too many times, said things I didn't mean, meant things I shouldn't have said, felt hurt and kept it in, hurt people by letting things out, and just all around been miserable to everyone- including me. I'm sorry to say I have let things get the best of me this time around and it goes without saying, but being a 'loser' has been no fun at all!
To be perfectly honest and blunt, Chip and I have had it with life and each other. Yes, there has been a lot of stress and demands we never anticipated and goodness- we haven't been taking care of ourselves the way we should be- simply because things are just that demanding. We haven't even slept in the same room for 2 months as Chip sleeps on a mattress next to Wyndham's bed because of her added needs right now. There just hasn't been a good opportunity for us to be much of a good team through all of this. We have talked and made mention of how life might be if we split our team up- that's how down we've been. The funny- or merciful thing- is that we can't even begin to think how to split our team up and make things work. We've got too much on our plates to divide up!
Today, honestly, I am thanking God that He has given us "too much" so that we can't even begin to figure out how to split up. Our problems are actually blessings that are being used to help hold us together in this season of defeat in our lives. Oh the irony of that!
I could share a whole lot more of what has gone on and continues to demand from us, but I won't. I just want to share my heart- even the heaviness of it- so that I might look back someday and see that even though the path isn't always rosy, it does keep winding and there is something around the bend worth forging ahead for.
We've been down, but we're not totally out. We're trusting that God will see us through even this ugly time we've been experiencing, and we're hanging on to the fact that we don't need to have all the answers in order to keep trying.
I have felt and 'heard' God's voice in my life in some still, small ways the past couple of days. I think He knew I needed something tangible. One of the ways He's spoken is through the messages from this website: Revive Our Hearts. The series- especially today's message- on the ABC's for Handling a Meltdown, have been so helpful to me. I don't know that I am fully out of this life pit yet, but I am happy to report I am headed in the right direction. I want to praise God for showing up and giving me more grace for the journey. Something I need no matter where I'm at in this world! I don't know if you need encouragement or help where you are right now or if you are at a place you simply want to praise God for blessings. But I'd love to invite you to praise God in the comments here and we can all give Him glory for the little and big things He has done and continues to do. Even when we can't see Him or feel Him or we turn our backs on Him, He is still there. He never lets us down, and for that I am most grateful today!

Friday, November 05, 2010

These two little guys...

So here I am trying to strike a balance and find time to update a blog while maintaining some sense of control in our home at the same time. Not an easy task with Crew around- he is ALL about being and acting like a 2 year old. Which, according to his pediatrician, is perfectly normal and acceptable for him. Since he is 2! In these photos he had pulled Brock's Batman t-shirt out of the clean laundry basket and proceeded to wear it proudly all day long. He is quite the character in real life- even without this type of t-shirt on. He is wild and demanding and loud and stubborn and smart and into everything; in addition, he knows what he wants. Did I mention he is demanding?! Oh yes he is. But he has this way of pouring on the charm too. We only wish he would be more charming- more often! We are worn very thin by his demands most days, but that little bit of love he gives somehow makes us hang in there with him and try to work things out. However that turns out to be. One day we will tell him all about how he acted when he was two and likely he will grow into someone fiercely independent and able to do amazing things. Because that's exactly how I would describe him right now. Only the "amazing things" he does right now most often get him in trouble!
His little brother, Teague, on the other hand is quite the opposite these days. He is so mellow and happy and just a little bundle of charm. His eyes light up at almost everything he sees and everyone of the kids can make him smile and coo now. It makes us all melt and he seems to know that and it leads to more smiling and cooing. Teague is so observant and aware of his surroundings now. He still loves to be held and cuddled and smothered with kisses. And although he is just 11 weeks, it seems as if we've had him around forever. We couldn't imagine life without him. He's added a lot of love and happiness to our lives already! Now we do know that he will be 2 one day too, but for now, we're soaking him up just the way he is.
Wyndham continues to spend long days in her wheelchair or laying on the couch. I've nearly worn my back out having to lift her and change her diapers a few times this week. My body was not made to lift 80 lbs, but we're are managing to get through this extra-trying time for her. She seems to be more accepting of her double casts right now and rarely lets it affect her mood. I wish I could just roll with circumstances the way she does. We are lucky that she's such an easy-going kid too. It makes the hard times in life just a bit more tolerable. With 3 more weeks to go it is starting to seem like there is an end in sight for this phase of her recovery. Hopefully she will have her casts off jst in time for Thanksgiving and believe me, it will give us all something to be grateful for! Or should I say one MORE thing to be thankful for. We are a big, busy family, but when I pause long enough to reflect on it or write out a few thoughts on life right now, I can see clearly how we are blessed as well. Blessed- even with challenges and an independent 2 year old. =) Hope you're finding things to be grateful for as November gets underway. Being grateful for small things each day can lead to a heart filled to the brim with contentment all life long!