Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Dose of Perspective

I apologize if you were at our local Walmart between 3/4pm this afternoon. The screaming out-of-control baby you heard? Yeah. That was mine.

Normally, I would have never consented to going out with my kids that close to bedtime. Especially on a day when my daughter refused a nap. And on a frigid day in Buffalo that's about five degrees. Never. Except... Benjamin wanted to go out. Anywhere. His official request was somewhere to buy bubbles. And since I'd do just about anything that boy asks of me these days, my immediate answer was, "Yes! Let's get in the van right now!"

Jack and Ben were angels. (Though, admittedly, there was a lot of whining from Jack.) We immediately found the bubbles he was looking for and I didn't fight too much when they each asked for a Nerf dart gun and a set of walkie talkies. Their requests are so simple, so... little boy. I just love it.

I tried to get the remaining items on my list - you know, totally pushing my luck - when my twenty-two month old starts unraveling. First, that included demanding that she be held. Yeah, that wasn't gonna happen. Then she decided to kick off her boots. I quickly scooped them back up and threw them under the cart. Then it escalated to all-out out-of-control screaming. All through the store. She wanted to hold the bubbles. But they were too heavy. She wanted her boots back on her feet. But I know she'd just kick them off in defiance anyway. I finally decided to cave on her request for boots when I realized that one of them must have fallen out of the cart again. Oh boy. So I backtracked. And returned via the same path again. No boots. At this point, it is full-on hysteria.

And yet, like the crazy mom I am, I insisted on gathering my last few items before hitting the check-out. At one point, Megan was being held like a rag doll in my left arm - kicking and screaming - as I dragged the cart that held my groceries and my two four-year-olds with my right.

I really wonder what thoughts people had about me today. On second thought, I really don't want to know.

It took me a while to calm down from my Worse Trip to the Store on Record. I was counting down the minutes until bedtime.

But you know what? I'm kinda grateful for meltdowns in Walmart. For the toddler that refuses to nap and won't let me out of her sight. I'm even kinda grateful for the excessive whining we've been hearing from Jack, my oldest (and Ben's twin.) I'm even grateful for those afternoons where it feels like bedtime will never come. You know why?

'Cause that's kinda normal.

Our "new" normal looks a little different than our "old" normal. A lot actually. That's why I feel like I'm beginning to appreciate those traces of normal, even the ones that make me want to pull out my hair and hide in the bathroom. Because over the past few weeks, it's just been too stressful or tiring or exhausting to even deal with the regular stuff.

Today was the first day I didn't join Andy and Ben at Roswell. I was a nervous wreck. But I knew that Ben was more than comfortable with his new routine with Daddy by his side. I went the first three days to help ease him into his new surroundings. Now it was time for me to help bring some consistency at home. With our other two kids.

Megan has been screaming at bedtime. And at naptime. When I bring her in to sing, she goes nuts, screaming, shaking and yelling for us to "go downstairs!" There have been a lot of changes lately for my less-than-two-year-old. Except she doesn't have the words to explain them to me. This is how she's been handling the stress. And now I feel like we're back to Square One in sleep training again. She needs to have her mommy put her down at naptime, sing songs at bedtime and be there when she wakes up - just like it's always been.

This morning, I took Jack and Megan to my Mothers of Preschoolers meeting at church. What a joy to be with my friends. Loved on, prayed over, listened to. It really was a beautiful morning. I haven't been ready to receive much love from the outside world and so today was a great start. Plus, it was what we usually do on a Thursday morning. Normal. Routine.

I really enjoyed being able to give Ben a few pieces of good news tonight before bed. Tomorrow, when he returns from Roswell, the port will be disconnected. He will be able to take baths all weekend (something he can't do during the week when his bandage is supposed to stay dry) until they'll need to reconnect it on Monday. But he gets two days off! Also, tomorrow is Friday: Movie Night. That boy smiled so wide and immediately jumped up to give me a hug, as if I had been solely responsible for providing him with these little perks.

Amazing how much joy a little perspective can bring.

Perspective. That's what it is.

Perspective is what allows a meltdown in the middle of Walmart to be a blessing. For whining to be music to a mother's ears. And for a bath with his siblings to be some of the most exciting news ever.

Perspective is also the thing that allows me to realize Ben's circumstances for what it truly is. It is not a death sentence, a punishment for sinful living or something that God gave us just because He enjoys fooling with the faithful. It is an opportunity. To see our lives as fleeting, to appreciate all of God's blessings and soak in His goodness. Because He really has been so good to us.

If I ever forgot that, I only need to look into the sweet, goofy face that keeps on smiling, even though he has very little control of his current surroundings. That is grace. And that, my friends, can only come from God.

Although, honestly, I really could do without the meltdowns in Walmart. Just sayin'.

26 comments:

  1. Mindy, I've never met you in person but I know Andy, Matt, Pete and Tommy from the old Camp days...but after reading your beautiful REAL blogs I just want to say I love you, your bravery, your spirit, your love for your children...your love and faith in Christ. My heart breaks and aches for your and Andy and the journey you're having to take with little Ben. There are no words to describe how amazing you are. Every day and every night I pray fervently for your family and for little Ben. The pictures of his little face just makes me ache to hold you all and help bear this ache with you. You are so not alone and are so loved by people who don't know you personally, but you're our sister in Christ and that makes you family. God Bless and know there are hundreds and probably thousands of people who are upholding you. Lilly

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  2. Mindy, your beautiful words make this mother of high-schoolers weep. While I would never wish your journey on anyone, God chose perfectly when he made you Ben's mother. Please know that this mom of 2 boys who also wore red and blue even though they were not twins, is praying constantly for you and your boys. And your daughter and husband too. And let me share with you two stories of hope. My niece, when she was 4, went through many surgeries, radiation, and chemo. Now an adult, she works at Google designing computer program for the visually impaired. And an extended family member of ours, also a young mom, was diagnosed with something aggressive last October. Heaven was stormed with prayers for her and her last scan came back with no sign of disease. A miracle! And now, on to praying for Ben's miracle. Our God is the God of miracles and wonders! And He LOVES Ben! God blessings and peace to you.

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  3. You are a beautiful woman of God and Ben, Jack and Megan are SO lucky to have you! I am praying and believing for Ben's miracle! :)

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  4. Had I been in Walmart, I would have smiled and said "God bless this mother"...and I would know you were a loving mom...praying for Ben and his family

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  5. Praying for you as I go to bed. Bless your hearts, Mama! <3

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  6. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your perspective during such a difficult season is beyond most peoples understanding. It is obvious that the Lord has taken your whole family and hid you beneath the shelter of His wings. So thankful that nothing is too hard for Him and standing with you in prayer for a miracle for little Ben!
    Sherrie

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  7. I'm sitting in the parking lot of school waiting to drop Reid off and just letting tears slide down my face. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you share this with us, and I am so honored that you do. Praying without ceasing!
    Kier

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  8. Thank you for sharing your journey. Our God is so very visible through you. My prayers continue for your precious family.

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  9. Continuing to pray for God's abundant grace for you and your family!

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  10. The detail of your posts guide my prayers. I am reminded to stop right now and pray for the balance you are seeking. The balance between making the most of the moments, but savoring routine. Giving Ben all he needs, but monitoring the emotional feedback from the rest of the crew. The balance between supporting and encouraging Ben and stepping back so he can display his confidence. The balance between hiding in your safety zone....and GOING TO WALMART!

    Praying til we're BLUE in the face,
    heather

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  11. oh man. When I see that mom I'm just glad it's not me. I would be sweating through my shirt! Poor Megan. I'm glad you were able to be blessed at MOPS! Always praying

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  12. Mindy this is so beautiful! You are so right about a "new normal". I continue to pray for Ben and for your family. Your children are so blessed that you are their mother.

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  13. Oh Mindy... I wish we lived closer. The boys would have a blast with all their nerf dart guns and walkie talkies (we just got those too as a mind-saving mid-winter activity two weeks ago). And the girls... they would enjoy climbing our legs and following us around the house together. Right before we had Ian I took all 3 kids to the grocery store for BIG shopping... I had to get two carts, one for the boys (who had Mc. Donald's french fries to keep them busy) and one for Charity and the groceries. You should have seen the looks, :) especially with my big belly. Alas...you survive and the kids learn so much from you taking that time to spend with them... even when it makes you want to pour a glass of wine when you get home :) You are a great mom Mindy! We are celebrating this first week being over for Ben and we are praying continuously for the ones to come. Lots of love your way

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  14. I stumbled upon your story when a friend of mine shared it on her Facebook. I am praying for Ben, for God to bring complete healing and wholeness. I am praying for your beautiful family that God will wrap his grace, strength and love around you.

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  15. "New normal" can be such a difficult thing to settle into, to accept, to find joy in--- but Grace will give you that. Celebrating this week being full of accomplishments big and small, and praying along the way for all the others, too.

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  16. You are a absolutely amazing! Praying!

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  17. also, not that you selected to be in this situation, but more so "elected" by the all-knowing and merciful creator, to educate, remind and influence everyone that reads your post. you are affecting us all with your messages and reflections. our family collectively sends positive energy and prayers your way.

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  18. Mindy I met u and your beautiful boys @ Kenmore church for playtime a few years ago. I hope God will bless you all with strength to get thru this. My prayers r with u and remember Mom"s prayers always r answered! Pat Bogdan(Matthew,s grandmom)

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  19. My prayers are you all, and asking for a miracle...

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  20. Honestly, I'm impressed that you can handle three kids with such grace, even under the best of circumstances. I don't do half so well with one baby with a growth spurt, teething, or whatever the healthy normal problem of the week is...

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  21. None of us are promised tomorrow. As I read your posts I tear up. Perspective to put everything in place. I hug my children even tighter than before. Enjoy those moments even in the chaos of a spontaneous trip to Wal-Mart (try 5 kids) Never worry what others think. .. we've been there. Praying for strength and courage for all of you. Love from The House Clan

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  23. Oh Mindy, My heart breaks with your most recent news from March 3. We attended Houghton College together. You were one year behind me, but we lived on the 2nd floor together. I am praying for Ben, you and your family. I purchased some bracelets and will be wearing one as a reminder to pray continually. Praying for a miracle! Your testimony is an example and inspiration to me!

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  24. Dear Mindy, My prayers are with you and your family. It was so nice to meet you at the zoo, last summer. May all of you find comfort, in the love and prayers, that are being sent your way.I'm so sorry that I will not be able to attend your fund raiser, this weekend, because I am with Brooke, in NC. If I can help you in any way, please let me know. God Bless you and your family. (Brooke Rockey's mom)

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  25. Beloved of God, I am a humble Orthodox Christian priest who received this link from my wife. We have never met, but in this tribulation, we stand with you as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    As I celebrated the Divine Liturgy today, I placed a printed copy of your post on the Holy Altar in the Church of St. Demiana. She is a powerful intercessor who has worked many wonders and healings throughout the world. I am confident she is with your family and the will of the Lord God will be done.

    We are praying for you and your family.

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