Thursday, May 11, 2017

I'm not going to survive winter

Life does seem to be seasonal, with the events/circumstances following the summer, fall, winter and spring patterns. The seasons of life can be of shorter/longer duration, though.

As we moved to Tennessee, 8 years ago, it felt like we were leaving fall - with it's beautiful colors and the excitement of crisp mornings - and walking toward winter. We had a new (first) baby on the way and we were ending what had been a rich (though not without it's challenges) season in our lives. With the loss of Mama Lynn, we felt we were walking into winter, with it's time to be reflective, to mourn, to survive. In many ways, spring (and then summer) did again find us - surprise us - sharing a house with Lisa and Virginia, the birth of four amazing boys, the birth of a beloved horse, life shared with treasured friends. Then, we lost Papa Ross - winter again returned - Lisa's health began to fail her. Kris' extended family began to unravel. Kris' work became jeopardized and eventually his employment completely in question. And winter has continued, with little hint of spring. We have found time to play in the snow, see the sunlight through the clouds and even see glimpses that spring is likely to come again some day. 

Each morning I awake and look to see if spring has arrived. The hope in my heart gets me out of bed, dressed, and down the stairs to start my day. Then - of late - my coffee gets me the rest of the way, as it becomes apparent that winter is yet upon us and spring is still absent. I ask (well, beg) for spring to hurry back - for Lochlan to be released from the prison in his mind, Lisa to be restored to health, for George to find a job that he is designed to do, for a home around which we can build a life - but winter remains. Incredibly, I'm only beginning to realize that we are to live in winter, not just survive it. Of course we can hope for spring, but not live in that hope alone. I need to remember to live, well, in the day I am given, in the season where that day exists. I must find the quiet and the beauty when I am surrounded by screaming (not just my own) and another mess to pick up. I must continue to write the story even as it gets carelessly deleted by tiny hands that are looking for trouble.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

For the impossible to be possible

Even after receiving our "official" autism spectrum diagnosis, I have continued to feel that there is more going on with Jevy. I've been told by several doctors and many other people that it's normal for parents to be in denial about their child's diagnosis, but deep down, I don't think I've been in denial. I just think there's more going on with him and it's hard to describe. As I crawl from day to day, trying to decipher how best to parent him, how to understand what his needs are when he's unable to communicate them effectively, and how to help his brothers love him well, sometimes I feel like I'm sifting through sand, looking for a gem, in total darkness. 

After consulting with yet another doctor, we decided to have an MRI done to rule out any brain injury from Jevy's fall when he was 13 months old. We finally received the results from the MRI and it shows that he does not have any obvious brain damage (Yay!), but they discovered a massive cyst on his pineal gland, which is the probable catalyst for all his symptoms (including sleep issues, vertigo, lack of speech, crankiness, outbursts, car sickness, moodiness, various autism spectrum symptoms and throwing up). This cyst could also be creating severe headaches, which would account for the countless hours of screaming and general belligerence. 

When he fell and hit the back of his head, the gland was probably hit and the inflammation from that trauma likely created the cyst we now see. We will try to treat it with medication, first, and see how it responds. He has a chance for complete recovery, but it's all speculative, at this point. We are thankful for a diagnosis and praying for a miracle. I dare not hope, in the weakest part of myself, but I also know that where hope does not persist, people perish, so the stronger part inside me is determined to hope and to believe that the impossible is possible. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

journey across the moon

After more than four years apart Fancy can finally be seen from my kitchen window. My friend - let's be real... my sister - Susan, postponed knee surgery (on BOTH knees) to journey with me to Austin, TX to pick up both of my beautiful horses. Truly, the gift of a lifetime. We relished days of conversation (MONTHS of catching up) on our journey to/from and had a wonderfully uneventful journey across the moon (Oh, was that TX? NM?) to bring the girls back home, to their Mama's arms and to the boy club that excitedly welcomed them both home. 

5:05 PM - Wednesday, my journey began. 5:06 PM - Wednesday, Fancy's journey began. Three days later, our paths finally reconnected in Austin, where we arrived within 2 hours of each other. 

The high mountain air seems to agree with them as much as it does each of us.

Fancy already has the boys doing her bidding and I think she will have them thoroughly trained in no time.

She happily obliges their greatest wishes, too, so this promises to be a happy partnership. 

Devany seems sincerely happy to be home, with her people. She nickers when she hears me talking through the windows of the house. She's always ready with a kiss and is fascinated by the smallish humans who now feed her, brush her and take care of her housekeeping. 

As we played with the horses, Fancy followed Jevy around the pen. Somehow she seems to know that he needs her/wants her. As he pranced around, he would hear her behind him, turn around and rub his hands through the soft, fluffy hair along her sides, and then press his face forward kissing her repeatedly. Then, as he wandered off, she would, again, slowly follow. No words, but there was a language spoken between them. 

THIS is home. 

Friday, May 05, 2017


The following are some random nuggets from the popcorn gang that I've recorded so that as the tinier details of each day slip through my memory, my lads can still go back and recall them. 

While sitting in the car waiting in traffic, I saw Madigan conversing with his stuffed Tiger. "Did you just call me daddy? Did you just call me Daddy??? Well, [thoughtful pause] I am your daddy. You may call me daddy."

Upon Ankie Tae's arrival, Madigan grabbed her hand, looked at me and said, "Mama, excuse me. I need to talk to Ankie Tae." "Okay, go ahead." "No, we're going into the other room so that we can have a private conversation. I have a lot to tell her." He has a full treasure store just awaiting her visits.

"Madigan, vehicle identification is important because that way people can find their cars in parking lots when they come out and forget where they put them. That's why they have tags on them." Paugie logic.

As he sipped the tiny cup full of Gingerale, Madigan looked up and said, "Mama, you're doing an excellent job mothering us. Really well done." A way to a (little) man's heart is...

In various moments of exasperation with these angelic creatures, sometimes I have exclaimed, "Oh, you're being a T.U.R.D. B.U.T.T.", always careful to spell out the least two words lest they begin freely using them upon one another. Recently, I overheard a heated conversation in the boy club: "No! You stop doing that, you T.D.R.B.!" Close enough.

As each of his brothers and parents fell prey to the Norovirus, Kelty (the last man standing) was left to his own devices in the role of only child and man of the house. He soon resorted to practicing vomit maneuvers in an obliging pot and got quite adept at both sound affects and barfing motions.

I chuckled to myself as the voices from upstairs belted out Johnny Cash. As I listened closer, I heard, "Don't take your buns to town, boy, don't take your buns to town." Awesome.

"Mama, I'm not tattling on Kelton, but I feel compelled to tell you what he did. I think you'll be very disappointed in his choices." Madigan logic.

"Mama, I made a hupongous train track!" "Paugie, what does hupongouns mean?" "It means bigger than huge!" Now you know. 

I thought I heard a scuffle upstairs between Kelty and Jevy. When I walked into the room to intervene, I saw two very happy babies, wrestling each other in a huge bear hug and laughing heartily. #mamashappyheart

I can see why God loves a child's faith: "God pwease hep Daddy to get a job. Hep my brudders to not be sick. Fank you for Stank and Devon [Fancy and Devany]. pwease hep Mama to know I wuv her. Jesus name. Amen." Maybe the cutest thing ever. 

When Madigan saw Kelty in his new booster seat: "Wow, baby, you look grrrrreeeeeaaaaat in that booster!"

"Paugie, come here lad." One Scottish gentleman to another. 

Daddy started to back down the driveway when Jevy dashed out the door and threw his hand up in the "I love you sign" dramatically and shouted "Daddo!" Mama melted into a puddle. 

Sometimes as we're driving, Paugie quotes tidbits of truth and philosophy. "Mama, at least goblins aren't true. They wouldn't live very well in cities. They'd probably prefer country life, but the cows might not enjoy having them around." Probably true. The horses might not enjoy having them around either. 

"I made us all tea, Mama." As I sipped the mostly flavorless tea which he had carefully poured into teacups with saucers, I inquired, "Is this decaf tea?" Madigan replied, "I'm not sure. It's the tea bags from yesterday's pot." I really did try to stifle a giggle, because his thoughtfulness in setting up tea and popcorn for his whole family is too much cute for this world to handle. 

In the scramble to get ready for our next outdoor activity, cousin Ruby shouted, "Let's get pared to go!" Madigan pulled her aside, and clarified, "No, Ruby, it's important to say it right. It's PA-pared. Say it: Papared"

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The forest creatures play, Part II

More everyday enchantments: 

Mornin' coffee

Brothers who love eachother.

"Look, Mama, a cute cup! I love it!" 
Paugie, YOU are a whole cup full of cute! 

If you're going to feel icky, convalescing outside with the cool breeze and a good audio book is the way to do it. 

And the next day could be totally different! And better! 

It's important to be amazing... even when you're sleeping.

Mama loves haircut day! Note Kelty's "I love you" sign. He kills me! 

Like I said... 

There's a horse sleeping outside my kitchen window! As it should be. 

Baby porcupine we discovered in the forest. 

6 inches of adorable fury! 

The forest creatures play

We all congregated onto the porch, as dusk settled into the meadow. Bedtime was upon us, but we resisted it's pull because the elk had started to descend from the trees, cautiously approaching the pond in our view to see if they could safely continue. We sat huddled in a bunch, trying to be still (something impressive given the energy mass conglomurated in that space), wrapped in blankets to ward off the chill. The elk, finally convinced that they were safe, began galloping around the meadow, playing like (extra large) goats, pirouetting, rearing up at one another, and splashing into the pond. One hopped sideways down the embankment of the pond and began ferociously pawing once she reached the knee deep water, tossing her head and snorting enthusiastically. It was so reminiscent of the hilarious antics our goat herd used to entertain us with in our former life (Nashville). There was much delight, and what seemed to be pure joy in their play with one another. The more mature kept watch, but were very much engaged in the games. Eventually, they all settled into the more serious pursuit of the evening meal and meandered slowly back into the forest. 

These days, still so filled with unanswered questions and anxiety are splattered with magical moments of wonder. I watch the boys pedaling furiously down the forest roads, and there is so much energy and happiness (and sometimes tears when a hill too steep leads to a dramatic crash), it's hard not to absorb it. 

The time with family, or fellowship with those we love, is far too absent and sporadic, but when we get to partake of it, it is sweet and fills us up. If only it had no end... 

The little men in my life grow in front of my eyes, each day. They become taller, yes, but it is the maturity and wisdom I see in them that makes my heart swell. They sincerely desire to become who they are created to be, to experience what each day holds for them and to learn from every encounter in life. And, they look amazing in camouflage and mud boots - not everyone can pull that off. 

Most importantly, they love one another endlessly.