Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Virus fighting

I woke up to the sound of coughing - a remnant of the week of COVID we've all battled. It wasn't an earth shattering event for us, thank goodness, but not without it's challenges, nevertheless. The boys each had one bad day filled with aching bodies, fevers and a lot of tears. Then, they were quickly on the mend. I only really battled fatigue and some muscle aches. Kris had a few days with a fever and definite muscle aches. His cough has been persistent, but I think he is on the mend, as well. But, gosh, the fatigue holds on for a spell! I had gone from sprinting up my hill one week to rejoicing that I made it up the stairs the following week. I actually made it back up my hill last night, so all is once again well-ish in my world. :-) 

Life is so fragile. I take so much of it for granted, in spite of my grand intentions of never doing so. We are, each of us, touched by our own frailty at some point. Sometimes it is a devastating encounter, and sometimes it is in less catastrophic, but still remarkably sobering ways. And encountering the frailty of others - of those we love - that it possibly the most terrifying/daunting reality of all for me. 

A beloved friend - a sister in every way it counts - is slowly losing a battle on this earth and heaven will call her home far too soon. We say phrases like, "my heart aches", often flippantly or without understanding. But, sometimes, the heart actually, resoundingly aches. The void I feel in this inevitable loss has filled me with such a pain. The kind that takes your breath away. The kind of pain that fills your eyes with tears before they even open to face the morning sunlight. What will the tomorrow be without you in it? I don't want to know. 

Death surrounds us. We are none of us untouched by it. We can avoid living fully in this world where we are placed, and that is our loss. But, the frailty of life eventually touches each of us. This day I found myself watching the boys more closely, appreciating the tiny nuances that make them unique and absolutely incredible. As Madigan grumbled through Math, I saw him power through and fight to learn and understand, in spite of the fatigue that still plagues him post-sickness. He leaned against me in the kitchen as I washed the dishes and said quietly, "Mom, I'm so sorry I was cranky this morning. I want to learn and I know you're trying hard to teach me well. I'm sorry I make it more difficult than it has to be." I. Cannot. Ask. For. More. 

We are still in the arduous process of moving stuff from the old house to the new house (and from the sheds into the garage), and today after one such trip back and forth, I found Kelton holding tightly to my hand. I stopped, knelt down and asked him if everything was okay. He looked straight into my eyes and said, "Mom, I just need some time with you. Just you. I feel like I haven't seen you." Same. It's strange how you can all live under one roof in the same house, day after day fighting the same sickness, eating at the same table, but still feel like somehow you're missing one another. We stopped what we were doing and went to get a decaf coffee together. He held my hand all the way there and told me all his meandering thoughts that he has been bottling up for apparently quite some many days. These things I will treasure in my heart. 

Declan asked me if we could make bread tonight. I placed the unbaked loaf into a cast iron camping pot and surprised Declan with the massive loaf pulled from the oven. His joy was abundant and he has been flitting about the house in a state of pure delight. He even announced that nothing else shall be required for dinner tonight. Works for me! 

Lochlan has found some new and more constructive habits in the past several days. Perhaps the sickness worked in our favor to distract him from his previous issues. It has been so encouraging to see him engaging with us in so many new ways. He even sat and listened to Kris reading the boys a long book on Saturday morning, giggling throughout the whole silly book. He has been using words to communicate more often than not and today I looked at him and said, "Lochlan I love you." He smiled, looked me in the eye and gave me the "I love you" sign. When he's in trouble for some naughty outburst, I tell him, "that is unacceptable. You have to make a better choice and not do that again." He now often responds with direct eye contact and a clear, "Okay". It's nothing short of a miracle. Keeping his active mind stimulated is one my great challenges in life. May God grant special favor in this department. 

I don't know what tomorrow holds. I will arise and face what I do not yet know, trusting in the goodness of the One who Knows. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

New House, and other stuff too.


Each day starts and sometimes we're ready for it. We may have consistent routines that we follow (vigilantly), or we may arise at ever-changing hours and waddle into the possibilities as they present themselves to us. As a family, we have tried to establish the consistent routine of tea-time together, before the day smacks us in the face. We usually succeed and a couple mornings ago, I discovered Kelton melted into a sobbing puddle on the floor because he had missed tea-time due to over-sleeping. It's a part of the day that I genuinely anticipate no matter how bleak the future steps may appear in every other direction. 

We have been taking time out of each afternoon to clear our heads of Mathematics, Reading, Science and all the other book-learning tedium that is required in our daily happenings, to explore new places. Lochlan has been in such a rough patch that he starts to unwind a little after lunchtime, once I've finished his schooling, and the screaming commences. Every boy almost instinctively reaches for his hiking boots and jackets, packs his snacks/water, and heads to the car. Lochlan often screams all the way to our destination, but once the exploration is underfoot, he usually fully engages and seems to be soaking it all in. 

We are always accompanied by our faithful canines and I have found that since my encounter with a predator in the woods, I rarely go anywhere without them. They are always on the lookout for danger, but mostly they are enthusiastically a part of all we do, see and experience together. We all benefit from their company.

I think I'm often blinded to the beauty of life as it is being lived out in front of me and alongside me. When I turn around after hiking up a hill (either figuratively, or literally) and see the sun beaming down so relentlessly casting it's cheery warmth on the coldness of the earth below, my heart is softened and my eyes are able to see more clearly what is right in front of me. I tremble at the goodness of the Creator and all that lies before me (and behind me). 

The remnants of humankind that walked these same hills, meadows and forests are everywhere. We can see where they hunted and built their homes and I sometimes feel like I can see the shadows of the children past running about. They loved my mountain as much as I do - of that I'm sure, because they always had a view and usually picked a magnificent one. I'm sure they also feared the mountain, as it had erupted in front of many of them. They must have rightfully looked upon it with fear and wonder. 

We were able to take Jess out to explore with us on her visit to see us this time. What a special treat for us all! The boys can't get enough of her and it's a bummer she only has two hands because they actually have to share. 

And in the most surprising turn of events for us to date, our 9 month pursuit of investment property in Colorado ended just as Lochlan was really starting to deteriorate health-wise and his pattern took the more massive turn to the negative. Kris lost his job, and we waited... less than a month. Kris found a new (and muchly improved, I might add) job and we found a house in Flagstaff that was an answer to prayers we had not even known to pray. It is an investment in our family. The boys have actual bedrooms (two to a room) and they each have a place where they can do school, uninterrupted. We have an actual school room (which I will post pictures of later), but since Lochlan's school will usually monopolize that, we have been able to set up desk and work stations for each of the boys in separate rooms. The house is a work of art and the builder took unbelievable care in all the details. It has three acres and a there is also a huge garage (that screams opportunity). It is only 4 miles from our other house, so we are able to maintain the Airbnb there, and will be renting our Octagonal house to some wonderful people. Our cows and horses will remain at the other property for now until we can set up the proper housing for them here. That part has been tough, as I miss seeing my beauties first thing every morning, and snuggling dangerously with my spicy red-headed horse.

But... they will be here soon enough. And, pictures (and I promise I will post more, once I have tackled the wallpaper!):

So, amidst the fatigue and exasperation of each day, it is not difficult to recognize the bounty and wonder. For each of you facing the poop in your life, please hold on to hope and face tomorrow and all the horrible unknown because the sun does rise each morning and your life is a principal part of why it does. 

(I will probably regret saying this, but... ) BRING IT!!!