In looking at the picture journal of our lives (so much of which I have yet to record on here for the boys to review in the years to come), there is a story of (so much) love, heartbreak, hope, frustration and really nothing short of the miraculous.
I feel the echoes of heartbreak, and they are just that - echoes. Some mornings in the wee hours before the sunlight awakens our world, I lie in bed and feel haunted by what could confront us in the journey ahead, and in those times I feel nothing short of terror at what I cannot change/alter - what literally lies in the hands of God, alone. I force myself in those less-than-rational moments to stop. Focus. Remember. Consider all that IS. And it is those thoughts that I ponder in my heart. It is the reality of my life that gives me hope for what is to come, and trust in what I cannot alter.
As he strolled out for his morning tea, sporting his toothless grin and dancing blue eyes, my heart literally skipped a beat - every piece of him is beautiful. He was so fascinated by that old front tooth giving way to the promise of the incoming newbie - he stood staring in the mirror, his wonder so innocent and profound, moving the elder baby tooth, giving it all the incentive it needed to pop loose one night after dinner.
Every day his brothers walk beside him, in every arena of life. They guide him, coach him, command him (oh, dear eldest red head), comfort him, love him without condition or expectation. Their affection assures him constantly that he is not the exception - that he is one of a band of brothers.
The daily progress we see in him helps mitigate the frustration and irritation we all feel as we are persistently adjusting our lives to whatever fixation(s) he is currently entertaining. The latest of such challenges has included, but not been limited to:
- placing poop-filled underwear in the washing machine with the freshly washed clothes, and then subsequently into the dryer when Mommy failed to recognize the less-than-savory article of clothing included in the batch. This lead to new found inspiration as he realized that one step could clearly be skipped in the laundry process, and hence he started placing the poop-filled undies directly into the dryer. Efficient and proactive! I truly never imagined myself scraping human feces out of my (clean clothes) dryer; but there it is. It's officially part of my calling in life.
- replacing bathroom trash bags. Efficient and proactive. So incredibly efficient and proactive. Incidentally, if even a single item is placed in the bathroom trash, it calls for immediate remediation. It is an environmental danger.
- toys in the kitchen sink. All toys must be washed thoroughly several times a day. Efficient and proactive. Our toys are the cleanest toys of any household in America. Our dish rack is most definitely full of dishes. And toys. Thank you very much.
- So. Many. Baths. We now have keyless entry locks on the outside of the bathroom door because... doesn't everybody?
- pee on the toilet seat. I don't actually see how someone could pee so thoroughly outside the bowl of the toilet unless they were aiming to do so... which apparently he is. And he thinks it's hilarious. It's really not as funny for me the first time I wipe it up off the floor, toilet seat, toilet bowl, trashcan, and it's even less funny the 9th time I wipe it up that day. And after replacing the toilet seat once a month due to rotting hardware (of the seat), I'm definitely your go-to for handy-woman toilet repair.
- toys (and books, and batteries, and electronics and horse brushes, and horse poop...) in the horse water trough. All the toys, many books and all the horse brushes have been placed into rubber tubs and locked into the horse trailer. The electronics, batteries and other valuables have been placed in a combination-lock safe by the front door. See, we've outsmarted him! Hah! Don't be fooled. There's still poop, and a lot of it. And it doesn't have to be horse...
- throwing household items at and into the ficus tree in the indoor garden. Because it needs decorations. Hundreds of decorations. Obviously.
- launching toys, books, stuffed animals, shoes, and anything that has "flying potential" over the 3/4 bedroom wall into the living room. Most objects have missed the heads of anyone walking by or sitting on the couch to have tea.
The landing strip
And in and through it all is the miraculous. The provision of a Respite Care Provider, in the form of my cousin, Kaysee, who not only provides respite for me in the daily responsibility of caring for Lochlan, but also loves Lochlan fiercely, and uniquely. His whole countenance brightens as she bounces through our doorway, and he knows without reservation that she belongs to him. :-) She makes him use his words (verbally or through signs) to get what he wants and I can see how her constant prompting of him has given him confidence and desire to communicate more. Her presence in our lives in this season has given so much more than respite - it has given joy, comfort, encouragement and friendship. She has challenged me, personally, and made me want to be more, love more and see more, at a time in my life when I was genuinely weary. And she helps me fold laundry (no small endeavor), cleans dishes, wipes surfaces in my house that have not ever before been wiped, cleans the unthinkable, and even takes apart pipes and cleans out disposals for me. No. Words.
And we've been given this Guardian who always has our back in this parenting thing. She never leaves or strays from her role in our lives and I know that if there is something I'm missing, someone hasn't missed it/him. :-)
Lochlan is starting to be unlocked... slowly. He is starting to SHARE in and not just be in our lives and a part of what we do. He's starting to love being a part of it all, the adventure that is life. He's finding joy in participating because it's with us. He knows he belongs and he wants to belong.
He loves his school, where he has a teacher all to himself who focuses primarily on communication. She makes him feel successful and he adores her; he is thriving under her tutelage. His Gumpai takes him to school every morning, an absolute highlight of his life!
Yesterday, I received a letter stating that he has been approved for 35 hours/week of ABA therapy (outside of school); a battle I have fought for over 3 years and it has finally been won! His insurance will pay for all of it. So, my next project is to create an environment in which he can exponentially develop and benefit most from the training and care he is given. The therapy will all be done in-home, and is based on play therapy (teaching him through the things he loves to do) so my next endeavor is to build an adventure course on our new (miracle) property next door. All volunteers welcome and coveted!
So, to the wee hour haunting of my thoughts, I say "Be Gone! You have no place here."