On the more brutal days when everything is hard, we all find our solace, comfort, joy and strength in the people, places and smallest nuggets of goodness around us. Lochlan astounds us with his budding sense of humor, his abundant laughter when we tickle him or one of his brothers does something he finds hilarious (and his parents usually find alarming). Yesterday, he curled onto my chest and fell asleep in my arms… I wish I could bottle up that encounter to dip into in darker times. The boy/man I see each day is still incredibly locked inside himself, but we see glimpses and more each passing day. And those glimpses of the REAL him make me want to fight so hard and conquer every obstacle to help him find himself.
“The brothers”, they call themselves… they are a fierce pack of warriors on Lochlan’s team. Each day they help me keep my 2-minute watch, give him rides on the lawn mower/wagon to help distract him when he’s falling apart, pull him up the trails when he is weary, run and capture him when he's on the loose, and hold him in their arms when they fall asleep at night. They cry when I pray for Lochlan and beg for his healing; sometimes, at night, I hear them praying, alone or together, for Lochlan to find his voice and to be set free to express himself.
Declan's kindness and care for others is remarkable. His gratitude toward others for EVERYTHING is enough to melt the most frozen/hard heart. His biggest temptation is to exasperate Kelton to absolutely no end, holding the "big brother, therefore..." card openly in his hand (and on his face) and Kelton is often seen with anger-induced lava pouring out of his ears. But, Declan genuinely cares about the hearts, feelings, minds, and even physical well-being of others around him. He sees (really sees) PEOPLE when other people are oblivious to them. He is oblivious to almost every practical matter in life, but he is abundantly perceptive of people and their needs. He shows me everyday what I cannot see for myself.
Madigan is STILL a force of nature. He, too, has a profound desire to do what is right/good, but sometimes his will to do things his own way (I mean, the ONLY way) takes the driver's seat. We've been talking about flexibility and what it means to consider others (and their desires) as important as your own. He has encountered countless "opportunities" to lay his own plan down and consider/act upon another plan that often differs largely from his own, and it has been extraordinarily painful for him (and hence the rest of us). I just feel that it is so vitally important for him to understand and realize in a very tangible/physical/emotional way that life DOES NOT and WILL NEVER go the way we plan for it to go. We will constantly be disappointed with an unexpected turn in direction but may find that we are surprised by joy if we are willing to adapt and adjust ourselves to the path that is put before us.
There is no way that sanity would be a reality (for any of us? but definitely me) if it weren't for "cousin Kaysee" who is not only (my cousin, yes) Lochlan's Respite Care provider, but my right hand and my beloved friend. Her companionship, her true empathy (because she LIVES the frustrations right alongside us all), her cleaver wit, her desire to know each of my boys well, her wise counsel, and her absurdly amazing ability to connect with Lochlan makes her absolutely vital to this family, this life. And she works harder than anyone I know. Truly. Except maybe Susan. But that's an absurd standard, let's be real. :-) I am more thankful than words can express for all that Kaysee brings to my life.
I don't think it would be possible to take this magical, albeit it crazy difficult, life for granted. We watch today come to it's end and we will welcome tomorrow as another day to live, learn, and probably just survive, in certain moments. And we will find joy and laughter in the most unexpected places.