Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Conversations with a Giraffe

Madigan has been visiting his aunties in Austin for the past week... it's crazy how slowly time can creep by when you're missing someone you adore. :-) He's had such a fulfilling week, getting to fly alone for the first time, seeing the best of "old friends", cousins, aunties and so much more. I think it was important timing for this solo journey of his. 

He is a man trapped in a boy's body and also still very much a boy somewhat threatened by the man within. This dichotomy creates a great deal of frustration both deeply internal and also frequently erupting on the very surface of his being. He's very good about talking with me about his frustrations, even when the words are difficult because the exact cause of his frustrations sometimes eludes him. He just knows that it IS - the frustration nags at him and the triggers to that frustration are not always easily identifiable. 

He is a leader marked by humility and honesty. He leads his brothers so well - not perfectly, mind you, but with great skill and natural ability. Sometimes his strength of leadership also acts against him (and all of us) as thwarting his will can be something not terribly unlike facing down a volcano. Ultimately, his bark is a far greater risk than his bite, because love truly dictates his desires and actions. He receives love openly and without condition, which I have come to realize is a gift not all are blessed with. He gives love in the same way. And I marvel. How can one so young teach me so much each day? He is helpful and capable to an extraordinary degree.

He talks with me about his hopes and dreams, about his worries for what the future might hold, about his heartbreak and challenges in loving his brothers, his disappointment with his parents, his profound joys and sorrows and even his thoughts on God as his Creator. He remembers almost anything he's ever been told, especially with regard to history and seems to comprehend in a very real way the importance of history in how it reminds us of lessons learned, tragedies we can avoid (should we choose to remember the history that humanity has spelled out for us), and things done right/well. It's the whole-picture-perspective which he owns, and it is amazing. 

He also still has conversations with his Giraffe, Lofty (whom I tease him about, saying Lofty is actually a Yiraffe, since his neck is way too short to be an actual Giraffe). They are epic conversations and he is the mouthpiece to Lofty. Lofty is a very expressive Yiraffe, often much to our chagrin. :-) 

Madigan can spend hours playing Roman Legion with his brothers and he still rides David, his stick horse, when he rounds up the horses and cows at night. Be. Still. My. Heart. It is these boyish parts of the man that I treasure and hold close to my heart. 

He has the ability to see people and their needs. While in Austin, Ankie Tae bought him an ice cream sandwich when they stopped for gas. When she handed it to him, he asked her if she would be okay if he gave it to a young boy he saw sitting by himself, looking alone and sad. She, of course, agreed, and he trotted over to hand his sandwich to the boy, who eagerly took it. She said Madigan's joy was abundant and it filled her heart. 

The "gun" he built from a metal detector and other various items. :-)

So, here's to ever-so-many more conversations with Giraffes, to countless rides on that great stick horse, to water fights in the hose with his brothers, to long conversations on the porch swing over everything and nothing and to all that makes this boy a truly great man. 

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Motherhood Manifesto

Keep the children alive until tomorrow. Tomorrow: Repeat. 
When the poop hits the fan - literally - don't scream, though sobbing is acceptable. 
When you feel your blood boiling, jump in the fridge. 
When you step on a Lego, curse loudly in a foreign language. 
Gourmet cooking is not a reality. Settle. 
Kiss a clean house goodbye. 
If you are a mother of boys, you shall never again sit on a clean toilet seat. Wet and gross is your new reality. 
Remember that peace and quiet are overrated and underutilized. 
Your toothbrush does not belong to you and is now a multi-use tool. 
Mud is a probiotic. 
Sympathy vomit is no longer an option. 
You will no longer need an alarm, and the alarm times are never mutually decided.
When you are tempted to take a nice hot bath - in bleach - that's normal. And there are additional ways of removing feces odor. So, it's a win win! 
When you can't find your house through the laundry, build a new house. Way easier. 
You'll probably never hear another phone conversation again (because of the noise right now, and because you'll be deaf when the noise has lessened).
You will dream of little else when you're sleeping and you'll wake up savoring those dreams.
Live in the moment. No, really. At least try to stay alive.
Sleep is an elusive hilarity. Don't let it pester you. 
They will infuse you with joy that is actually painful it's so potent.
You will never cry so much. You will also never laugh so much.
You will think you're crazy so much more than you thought possible. And you will be (mostly) right. 
They will probably eat their boogers. Deal with it. 
You will never know such fear; you cannot protect them from it all, and it's absolutely horrifying.
Shower less because no one will care (or notice) if you stink. 
You will want to give them the moon, but you will actually give them so much more, by the grace of God.
You will be both amazed and horrified at their energy. It is greatness that cannot be harnessed!
You will break their hearts sometimes and nothing will break your heart more. 
Fill their lives with adventure, because they're your greatest adventure ever.
Hug them. Then, hug them more. Believe it or not they won't always be right here. 
Wake up, be thankful you've been given another day and RUN the race before you. You've got some great team mates.

I lost it tonight. Aberdeen found me in the bathroom, next to the toilet, with a face full of tears. I pleaded uselessly with Lochlan to poop in the toilet instead of the trashcan, the shower, the floor, my bed. And then I pleaded with him to wipe before he pulls his pants up because... well, just because. He, knowing I was upset, started screaming and yelling about a great many things. Then, Declan and Kelton came in and wrapped me in a hug and asked me what kind of tea I would prefer, and if I had a milk preference. It worked. I felt like the lunatic I was in that moment and I was able to SEE that sweet, struggling boy perched on the toilet. He's just a mess right now and it's most definitely not his fault. He has had diarrhea (I'm still absurdly proud that I know how to spell that) for three days and then yesterday started vomiting. After 24 hours of vomiting, the diarrhea resumed. He's skin and bones and his eyes look bleary. He lacks energy and though his thirst for knowledge is abundant, he is clearly struggling to keep up in school. 

It's more frustrating than I can say. The diarrhea and vomit are taxing, but watching him suffer again is utterly impossible. It's unfair in every way. I hate nothing more in this life. I find myself angry - so angry - and tonight, as I sat there on the bathroom floor I remembered that I'm not angry with him. At. All. He's the one who has been dealt this ugly hand and we're the ones who are to stand beside him, and in front of him, fighting for him, and finding the answers for him. We're the ones to hug him and hold him. We're the ones who are to remind him that he is fearfully and wonderfully made and cherished beyond all measure. Because He Is. 

If it's into the shadow lands, I will go. 

We will begin another round of protozoa, fungal and bacterial treatment as soon as possible. All prayers are coveted. 

I found this picture of my dad holding Krista and me. A picture worth a thousand words - words I wish I had. I think it says what I'm trying to say...