Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Real Life

Lucy's not taking steps anymore. She did so great one day, then tried to build a tower with soup cans the next and one of the cans fell smack dab on her poor foot. (Yeah, I know, don't let her play with soup cans..but you try taking cans away from a baby who is so incredibly delighted that she can build a tower with them. It's tough!) Now she won't put an ounce of weight on that foot. I took her to the doctor for an x-ray this week and they only saw a lot of swelling...no break. Now, is that due to the fact that she screamed bloody murder while I was trying to get her to hold her foot super still and the x-ray is just so darn blurry they can't tell, or is she really ok? One step forward, two steps back.

I feel like I was introduced to "real life" as I was sitting there a few weeks ago waiting in line for my girls to get their ears checked and watching other parents deal with kids with much more significant issues than Lucy has. It suddenly hit me: I've been living in a dream world with my first four kids. Every one of them has been right on developmentally. One week they learned to play peek-a-boo. The next maybe they learned to give kisses. Then they started saying words which were added to one by one, then ten by ten. This was normal. This was life. Now suddenly I have to re-think development. Lucy will learn something and then forget it. I've never thought of needing to practice the new skill over and over again to make it something that lasts.

I watched those other parents in that waiting room and thought of what they're going through. Are they ok? I think of all my totally healthy kids and realize I'm not thankful enough for health. For the quality of life we live because my kids can run and breathe and jump and talk as they should. We have no oxygen tank to lug around or emergency shots sitting by in case one of them eats a peanut, or inhalers or wheelchairs or walkers to deal with. My kids run to the bus, play tennis, eat junk food, do flips on the trampoline. That was my real life. But now things are a little different. I appreciate all those things a little more. Lucy is probably fine, but some of those kids in that waiting room probably aren't. And my heart aches for them. And then what if Lucy isn't fine? What if there's more to it than a little delay? I called my sister-in-law who is a speech therapist for advice on my way home and left a message for her. As I said the words "Lucy has qualified for speech therapy" I couldn't help getting a little choked up. This is my baby, and she needs more help than I can give her.

And now she qualified for physical therapy too, and I've had the toughest time trying to find an opening with developmental speech therapist...in and of itself worthy of another story for another day. Man it's rough to get a spot even when qualified. But that is my new "real life" along with rice milk and gluten-free pretzels, and I'm telling you, it's ok. Because it makes me love this little girl even more, if that is humanly possible. I love to concentrate on her and focus on really helping her any way we can. I love that these sweet ladies can come to our house and teach me how to teach my daughter in a way that I've never thought of before. It's a whole new way of thinking. I love that I can then teach my kids how to teach our baby. I love to watch them dote over her and cheer her along.

This morning Lucy had her MRI. No parent should really have to watch their baby disappear down the hall with a random nurse to be put under anesthesia...twice. (We've already been through that once for her toe surgery when she was six months old.) That's such a helpless feeling. But she did fine and we'll see what our results are tomorrow. She's a cherub. I can't believe those humongous cheeks haven't been kissed off yet. And I couldn't be more thankful to share with her my new version of "real life."

24 comments:

  1. Hey Shawni... just reading this makes *me* love Lucy! She's such a sweet, beautiful little girl. I pray and hope for you that everything will work out. She's extremely lucky AND blessed to have a mom and a dad and a brother and 3 sisters that love her so much!

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  2. Thinking of you and praying and hoping that your questions, and concerns will be answered soon. I am sure you are anxious waiting for the mri results.

    She is so dang adorable!!!!!

    "Real life" can be so hard sometimes, but also such a learning experience. You are such a great mom and person and you are blessed with a wonderful family and extended family. Keep us posted!!!

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  3. Shawni
    Just coming to visit your cute blog as I do time to time and admiring your beautiful pictures. BUT on a more personal note as I read about your concerns for your little Lucy it just hits home for most Moms. We worry and only want what is best for them but I have to tell you that even though I don't know you I can see the love you and your kids have for each other and so then I am not too worried because she is loved SO much! Not to minimize your concern because as a Mom I have been worried about one of my kids with certain things too. When you see them going through something you just want to take that burden for them so they don't have to go through it.
    I hope your results come back okay...Keep smiling!

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  4. Shawni I just love you so much. You make me want to be a better person and Mother. I am going to appreciate my "normal" (if you can call them that) kids more. I hope there are some answers for you tomorrow. Love you.

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  5. What a beautiful and tender post Shawni. You have me in tears. What a sweet mama you are. I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father knows what and WHO we need in our lives to get us back to HIM. What a miracle that Lucy is for you, for her, for so many... Thanks for sharing so much of your beautiful soul. Love!! Jen

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  6. What a sweet little girl, Lucy is! And what a great support system she has as she goes through this. I love that she has these four great siblings that just dote on her, not to mention fantastic parents. Maybe it's perfect that she is the youngest so you all can rally round her. You are doing a great job with a tough, new situation. Hang in there!

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  7. Health is something we take for granted until it is challenged. I am so sorry to hear about Lucy's foot. It sounds like you have been going through some tough challenges lately, with appointments, MRIs....When Cole was almost 2 he had hernia surgery and I know that feeling of watching them be taken down the hall, without you.
    I know that with all the love and support that your family gives little Lucy, she'll be blessed.

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  8. Health is something we take for granted until it is challenged. I am so sorry to hear about Lucy's foot. It sounds like you have been going through some tough challenges lately, with appointments, MRIs....When Cole was almost 2 he had hernia surgery and I know that feeling of watching them be taken down the hall, without you.
    I know that with all the love and support that your family gives little Lucy, she'll be blessed.

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  9. I have a journal entry just like yours, 4 healthy very smart gifted children, learned to do everything ahead of schedule, easy. Then, Tate. I had no idea what to do. It rocked my world. I remember praying that he would just start talking and walking and being just like my other ones. I had the words come to me that that would be easy, it would fit into my perfect little life, but life is not meant to be easy. I now look back at where I was when I first learned he was not the same and I wouldn't change a bit. He has changed me and my family. What it does to a family when you need to rally around a child and become selfless doesn't compare to anything else. I assigned my kids jobs to teach Tate. One was the librarian, to read with him. One was the P. E. coach for physical therapy etc. We have learned more from Tate than he has from us. I think that is the whole point in life. Although I hate to see little ones have difficulties, I wish every family could have this experience. I now look at his Autism as a gift.

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  10. I'm so grateful for perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Well, looks like I got my fix of inspiration! I don't know many of your sweet ladies that leave comments, but I wish I did. Thanks for adding to Shawni's post in such a positive way...and Shawni, you are a star.

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  12. Well, looks like I got my fix of inspiration! I don't know many of your sweet ladies that leave comments, but I wish I did. Thanks for adding to Shawni's post in such a positive way...and Shawni, you are a star.

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  13. Shawni this post made me get teary! She is so darn cute. That picture of her in the hospital bed...I agree no mother should have to watch their baby roll away with a random nurse. I can only imagine the stress you must feel. While I am sure Lucy will be just fine I am sorry you have to go through this.
    I am so thankful for healthy kids...it actually amazes me that I have four healthy kids too. I am very grateful.
    Thanks for your note on my blog! It was great to hear from you.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Let us know when you get the results!

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  14. Shawni, I've never commented on your blog before...I'm a lurker! I stumbled on your blog by accident and I love it. I enjoy your insights, your talents, and your positive attitude. I was thinking about this entry and felt that I should comment. I have just two children right now, and my oldest has Autism, he's four years old. My youngest is a fireball in the developmental arena, speaking like a little professor at barely two years old. So, I've experienced two extremes.

    I never thought I would have a child with even mild developmental delays, much less Autism. It was a big shock, and something I had to make adjustments for in my life. But now it is just normal, and the ways we have learned to teach him have been such a blessing. He's just our kid, and we enjoy him. I have a little three year old niece who at one point had seven major food allergies, three of them with the highest possible severity. She sure turned her parent's lives upside down...but now they are used to it, they have to be careful, but the changes are now automatic and they enjoy their lives.

    So, what I am trying to say is that sometimes we are dealt a blow out of nowhere that feels like "real life" smacking us across the face. But after awhile it just becomes life. And if we are open to it, the peace, and joy, and comfort we once felt returns, it even intensifies! It is remarkable what Heavenly Father does to make us the people that He wants us to be.

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  15. Shawni-
    It's Anne-Marie Israelsen Halverson here. Do you remember me from Israel? I've kept tabs on you through my sister in law, who knows Saydi. Anyway, I'd love to catch up. I love your blog and have tons of questions. Your family is beautiful!

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  16. I love your perspective. It often takes something to happen that rocks our "normal" world for us to see the big picture of life instead of being focuses on our day to day tasks. I does shake us. It does scare us. I would say it knocks me to my knees- where I should have been in the first place.

    I'll be thinking about you today. We've had a few minor health scares in the past and there's nothing like a doctor taking your child away for (in my case) CT scans, surgery, ultrasounds and x-rays. That is a pain no mother can forget. My prayers are with you and your beautiful little Lucy. She's is so precious and perfect. I know you're blessed to have her and she's blessed to have you. That's life. Just loving the ones we're with!

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  17. i love love your perspective and the way you put things. thank you for reminding me of all that i have to be grateful for. parker has been in developmental therapy since he was 18mo. old. he's been right on or ahead with his gross and fine motor skills, but he's been pretty slow to talk and communicate. it's really helped, and he's finally starting to get it. he'll probably be working specifically with a speech therapist in the next month. since he's my first i may worry more, and people told me that i didn't need to be concerned or be doing therapy with them. but, i knew it could only help, and it has. i have no doubt that he's fine, but you have to trust your mommy gut and do what you think is best. lucy is so lucky to have you as a mommy. please keep us updated on how things are going.

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  18. Hi there-

    This is Nancy again... I wrote you a little while ago about your camera. I still feel a little stalker-ish checking in on you and your family, but tonight I just had to. I'm a stay at home mom with one 10 month old daughter and I'm exhausted. Today I had photos taken of my daughter at a studio, went to a play group, and made some hair clips for a friend... does not sounds like much (and it wasn't!) so I wanted to log in here for some inspiration from you. I love your blog, your writing, your photos. When I "grow up" I wanna be just like you! ;)

    I realize from reading some of your past posts that you used to live in DC, and are now in AZ... right? I grew up in Chandler, and now live in Bowie, MD. It's a big, small world! ;)

    Hope you are have a great weekend. Just wanted you to know that I think you're pretty put-together and great, even though I don't know you outside my computer!

    Nancy
    www.babysites.com/sites/kules/

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  19. Hi Shawni... love to read your blog and get inspired! You really do have such a positive way of looking at life. My good friend's 2year old nephew passed away lastnight, and it has really opened my eyes. We are blessed with these sweet spirits, but we really don't know what the plan is. Aren't we so lucky to be moms and get to experience this crazy journey. My baby has had some issues that we have not been able to pin point with his eyes. Like you I have never had to deal with anything like this before and it can be really stressful. All I know is that after sitting in the car with my girlfriend tonight and listening to her cry, it makes me just want to hug my kids. Good luck with Lucy. You are such a good mom.

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  20. Every time I read your blog I am more and more impressed with you. Honestly I think you are amazing I am always telling Ryan how great you are. He read some of your blog and came out and said boy that Shawni is an amazing woman. So there you go! You are wonderful and I need to hang out more in the hopes that it'll rub off on me! Love you...

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  21. Hey Shawni, It's me again, just popping in. Thank you for what you wrote about your sweet little Lucy. Isn't it so true that Heavenly Father gives us weakness so that we can turn them into strengths. It looks like that is what you are doing! Good luck with it all.

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  22. Real life is hard. I'm not loving real life right now. Well. I love my real life, but it's hard! I'm thinking of you!

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  23. Hey Anne-Marie, I don't know if you'll ever see this, but just in case, I need your contact info! I'd love to catch up but when I click on your name there's no contact info. available. Let me know how to contact you. I'd love to hear what you're up to!

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  24. Hey Shawni. This is Anna Ford Halverson. I also love your blog! If you email me I can give you Anne-Marie's email address (I don't know if she would want me to post it here). But my email is anna.halverson@gmail.com. I'll also try to get your email from Saydi to pass along to AM.

    Anyway, I have been thinking about your little Lucy since I read the first post about your "worries." We sort of went through the same thing with Oliver. In his case, I think that everything is perfectly normal with his development now (ok, he still has big problems with feeding/eating) but for a while his doctors thought that he might have "Sensory Integration Disorder". Have you ever heard of that? Apparently a lot of times it is overlooked or mis-diagnosed as learning disabilities or autism or even ADD/ADHD. It can present in a lot of different ways. There is a book called "The Out-of-Sync Child" which is a good resource. I don't know if it is at all aplicable to your Lucy's situation but I just felt impressed to mention it.

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