Lochlan just ambled into my bedroom where I was sitting on my bed, reading. He looked at me as he came forward, giving me a huge smile. Then, as he got close, he leaned in, and placed his cheek on mine. He turned and KISSED me and said "night". My heart stopped. My dreams are made of these moments.
As I sat in the living room tonight, I was watching Lochlan and Madigan interact at the dining room table. There was a steady flow of playful banter, a tickle poke, raised eyebrow, giggle, and more teasing. I think in many ways we will never fully realize how much "brothering" Lochlan has shaped each of the boys; deep in their hearts I believe they are changed to see the world differently because they have lived with the perpetual stream of challenges, they have learned to understand a human who is complicated and difficult to understand, they have loved past the pain and even more incredibly they have understood the profound simplicity of love that is not based off merit but is given because humanhood is beautiful and it's value is immeasurable. I think it has built in them a resilience and it is something I look at when my own courage fails me.
Lochlan has been nursing a few new and old fixations for the past couple weeks - undoubtedly inspired by the absurd amount of stress. He started pulling his hair out in chunks again, so we had to cut his hair very short. To express himself he often hits his arm with his other hand, leaving bruises, so we've had to put his arm in a brace and tape it on with Gorilla tape. He has been trying to climb out of our new yard which is fenced with the panels, so I'm 'bout to have to put my creativity hat back on. Grrr. He has continued to receive speech therapy from Allie (AJ) who has worked with him for years. He adores her - we all do - and we are incredibly blessed to have her. She started working with LJ when he was completely non-verbal and we all rejoiced if he grunted a response. Now, she has him enunciating words more clearly and she's working with him to say 3-4 words at a time. She utilizes creative methods to motivate him, including mini chocolate chips. For each word he gets a choc chip. But, only if he says all three words at once! :-) She's also working with him to keep a shirt on (sometimes adding a weighted vest helps) during his sessions.
Lochlan is getting hippotherapy from a therapist across the street from us. We have had to miss several sessions due to evacuations, and then flooding, but I can see that it has been a huge benefit to him nonetheless.
So, as we adapt to our new realities, we are trying to keep this boy on track to continue making progress. This current season of our lives is in the crazy zone, but we have few choices in the matter, so... onward. Today, I loaded a 12' gate to take to the other property and while I was delivering it, a storm rolled in. I rushed to get home, and as I was grabbing the (metal) gate (in pouring down rain), lightning struck impossibly close and I felt electricity run through me. Max and Fancy felt the same shock, so perhaps it was running through the water we were all standing in. Max and I both felt slightly numb on one side of our bodies for a bit, and our hair was standing on end, but we seemed unscathed otherwise.
I, then proceeded, to drive home entirely too fast with almost zero visibility. I rushed up the road to park my car at my parents' house (as it cannot safely be parked anywhere near my house) and my dad drove me back home. By the time I reached the cabin, the rain was relentless and the water had started flowing. Within an hour there was an active river beside both the octagon and A-frame. We also lost power, though only for a bit.
We lit candles all over the cabin,read a boxcar children story and waited out the storm. It all passed eventually. We've lost a bit more real estate in the rivulets that are spread across our land, but all-in-all we fared well. Madigan and I walked the property after the storm had passed and were able to remove some trees and rocks that were piling up on our few remaining fences.
Living in the tiny cabin has had it's challenges, including the hobbit-sized refrigerator, the itty-bitty stackable washer/dryer unit, the lack of a pantry and the fact that on rainy nights my bike (an efficient mode of transportation to get to and from my car parked at my parents' house) has to be parked in the kitchen.
However, I have discovered that the perks outweigh any of the inconveniences. I can enjoy the new kitchen sink we installed in the grand remodel last summer and I love it! The bathtub... it's magical. I have been looking for an excuse to use it for quite some time, and then suddenly no excuse needed! The candles... almost as soon as you walk into the cabin, it just says to you "candles would be lovely right now". (Right, Kathy?!) I love to have a candle on the fireplace and I actually find myself waking up excited to light it and grab my cup of tea. I love the smaller space to clean - even if it also means we are tripping over each other a bit more. But, the BEST part is my mountain. I can see it in all it's grandeur and the sunsets do not disappoint. I find solace in the wild places and seeing the wild places outside the back window, even in their scarred form, bring me comfort and joy.
So, the storms will come and they will go... we will press on and face tomorrow with the joy that we find in the hidden places.