Friday, March 12, 2021


 showmow (shoulder)

han (hand)

eaw (ear)

eck (neck)

noe (nose)

om (arm)

heg (leg)

fut (foot)


hai (hair)

bo-ee (body)

mou (mouth)

ail (nail)

Maybe it's hard to decipher the words, but those little words are a whole symphony of music to my ears. Lochlan stood in the shower after vomiting for the 8th time in 8 hours, dark circles underneath his eyes, his little ribs protruding from his incredibly thin frame; he was smiling and showing me all his body parts. Every time he got to bo-ee (body), his whole face broke into the biggest grin and was followed with a proud giggle.

We're afraid the protozoa may be repopulating in his gut again. He has had almost 12 days of periodic vomiting, and there does appear to be something cyclical about it, like last time. We will be doing follow up tests as soon as his doctor orders them. His mental/developmental progress since starting to improve his gut health has been exponential. I'm so afraid of him being forced to face yet another set back. He shouldn't have to; it's not right! It has been hard for me to fight the discouragement these past several days. I have to fight it... it's my responsibility to do so, for Lochlan's sake. Sometimes, my very human weakness seems substantially more prevalent than the Divine strength and courage I pray for almost constantly.

Parenting Lochlan has been terrifying for me on so many levels. It's not dissimilar to hiking along the edge of a cliff blindfolded, knowing that you're amidst the breathtaking beauty that the surrounding mountains promise. The smell of wildflowers, the sound of birds fills the air, but you can only sense them because you are blinded by the fold upon your eyes. If you could just take it off... but, it's not humanly possible to do so. It is required attire for this season of your life (perhaps for the remainder of this particular journey?), so you must adapt. You must rely on your senses, on others who walk alongside you (also blindfolded), on the One you (blindly?) trust to guide you; you must find courage and strength from the steps that have come before. You fear mostly... yourself.

Madgian slipped this note underneath my pillow a few nights ago, and left me to find it at the right time. I definitely don't know how I was given such wealth beyond measure but I am so thankful for it. Madigan has also been sick for over a week, with something different than Lochlan. The Tigger has lost it's bounce and yet he has continued to work hard in school, spontaneously tidy up the house (help make the magic happen), and has even attempted to keep up with his chores, though we've tried to alleviate those responsibilities for the time being. He puts all of the discomfort of his current ailment aside, sees others and gives care and concern. Beautiful soul.

Each opportunity that I am able to steal away into the wilderness in desperate search of emotional/mental clarity, Declan is my ever-faithful companion. He mostly doesn't talk; he is just present. He seems to sense that my mind is fragmented with the factors I cannot alter, with the physical barrage of vomit, with the chaos of emotions. He offers his presence and is a comfort and a reminder that I am never alone, even in the darkness of my own blinded way forward. Kelton, too, has trotted along on a couple of these outings; his contribution often adds the happy component of a fantastical imaginary world, usually filled with exotic creatures, courageous warriors, personal valor (obviously), and miraculous victories against various obstacles.

I find restoration in these moments/places. I cannot look at the Creation before me and not be overwhelmed and reminded that life is so much more than I can comprehend. My perspective from inside the walls of my house is minute and limited. When I stand on the hillside, below the crooked/strong tree, I see mountains that would take me days, months, years to comprehend/know and I could even then never know them to their fullest detail or measure. The painter paints and I stand in awe and am humbled. I will not stand idly by in the fear of what could lie ahead. I will face tomorrow with hope and courage that does not belong to me, but that will be given to me. I will follow the road that lies before me. 

Monday, March 08, 2021

There is a battle in play

between the boy and the man. Madigan has been struggling these past couple weeks; it is reflected mostly in outbursts of attitude, but also with anticipation replaced with lack of enthusiasm. He's mostly himself - helpful, commanding, energetic, inspirational, hard-working, enthusiastic, positive and forward-thinking. So, when we see these mini-outbursts or brush up against the red head with a hot head, it's more noticeable and surprising to each of us. 

After one such outburst on a recent adventure in the dusk of evening, it became clear that it was time for a solo hike up Mt. Everest. But, since that is not a realistic option right now, we settled for a day spent with just the two of us. Kaysee agreed to watch the little brothers, Gumbum gathered up Declan for a day of school at her house, and I surprised Madigan with a ready backpack, snacks, water, hiking boots and an unknown agenda. We managed to cram in coffee, a lengthy hike (7 miles up the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon), lunch and ice cream. The best part is that we talked the WHOLE TIME. He opened up his heart and gave me the mundane and the profound. He helped me see the burdens he feels and we talked about which are appropriate vs. those which are only perceived. We talked about hopes. We talked about the past and the future.

Our favorite coffee shop knows us a little too well. They made our favorite lattes for our special date. :-) Not gonna lie... it touched my heart. 

 I was inspired and encouraged in every way and came home feeling proud and unworthy to know and (fiercely) love this great man. 

Sunday, March 07, 2021

No one told me...

Grief. "No one ever told me that grief feels so much like fear." ~ C.S. Lewis. I remember the first time I read that and it resonated in my heart. These past several days I have watched some of our friends grapple with the terror of grief in losing their young son to a tragic accident. I have looked at my own children with something akin to insatiable hunger - to see them prosper, live fully, find joy, and even simply to breathe. To breathe in all the best parts of what life has to give them. And yet, I know life is pain, in so many ways - excruciating, agonizing, paralyzing pain. I have fought guilt as I watched Kelton gallop down the hill ahead of me, glancing back with his exuberant toothless grin, and I was gently admonished/reminded by a beloved friend that guilt is the enemy; this grief we observe (and share in some distant shadow) requires and should compel us to hold, cherish, and count every moment as a gift. 

It seems to me that when we are confronted with death in it's most potent form(s) we are pummeled by the magnitude of the curse, the fall of humanity. Death and the subsequent grief gives us a blunt encounter with the unavoidable reality that we are heirs in a fallen world. Grief cuts to the core of our human brokenness. In the smallest moments of these (broken) days, I see life and hope and the promise of the greatest love.  

How can we feel peace in the "normal" of our every day life when we are witness to the chasm in the lives of those we care about, and which has so permanently altered their lives? We are none of us untouched by the horror of death, nor by the permanent change it creates in our lives. Yet, I really believe we are given the responsibility (privilege?) to live - wholly - if we survive the breaking of our hearts.  

I have found laughter in the unexpected places these past few days. Kelton snuggled up to me last night and said, "Mama, I hope I marry a mom just like you. I want her to look just like you and act like you." That particular expectation is likely to alter a bit as my general popularity wanes with time and the rapid approach of Kelton's maturity. :-) 

As we cantered through the thrift store today, I found several large bags of tampons for a great price. Declan, standing next to me, said, "Mom what are those?" I discreetly ignored him. "Mom, what are those?" I continued to discreetly ignore him. "Mom what are those? Grenades???" I think everyone in the store looked at us. Then, because I couldn't breathe as I laughed and still hadn't answered him, "Mom, are they smoke bombs?" Smoke bombs? Grenades? 

Madigan: "Mom, I think you should be a cook." "Madigan, I am a cook." "No, I think you should be a real cook." "?????" "If you were a real cook, you would be rich." So, I'm assuming "real" means "fiscally compensated for one's efforts"? I'm taking it as a compliment. 

As I sat attempting to watch a TV show with the family tonight, Lochlan kept standing right in front of me - extremely close - chatting constantly. When I finally took real notice of his efforts, he started pointing to every body part he knows and saying them out loud. When I repeated each word to him after he said it, his whole face broke into the most beautiful grin. He ended by running his hands from his neck to his torso, and saying "BOOOOOOOOOOO(d)YYYYYYYYYY. "That's right, 'body!'" I told him. He laughed and did a little dance. Be. Still. My. Heart. I can't breathe from happiness. Not only is he using words to communicate, but he is drawing us into his (previously very lonely) world. 

"Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape." ~ C.S. Lewis
With time, the chasm of death, the void of loss is changed, though the love never changes.