When December Ends (Gracefully)

Wowsers, the next thing we know we will be in a new year!  Some say time flies when you’re having fun.  Others say time flies when you have too much going on.

I try so hard to stay simple.  I really do.  A few years ago, when I was home on leave after Calvin was born, I read Nicolas Spark’s book Three Weeks With My Brother.  It was one of the most thought provoking books for me at that time.  I gleamed from it that simple equals less stress!!  Isn’t that…simple?

There is a bit of nostalgia for me as I think about the days of old and how life seemed more simple.  And I must remember that I will feel nostalgia regarding today in years to come!

It’s not so much that life isn’t great.  It really is, but my challenges and exhaustion with Calvin lately are rising.  I feel it more and more and I am lately fairly impatient with him.  Part of it is for sure me and needing extra sleep and needing to feel good.  The larger part is the phase Cal is in.  He is very very busy with little boundaries and ability to communicate.  Because of having Down syndrome, there are extra factors at play with parenting Calvin.   For example, he does not like transitioning much.  He most always has an arching back fit when I make something happen (like go somewhere, take a toy that needs to stay with it’s rightful owner, take him out of the high-chair, take him out of the bath even though he has indicated he wants to be done, washing his face, etc).  He is fairly set in his routines and cannot get out of his own mood unless that routine is followed.

One major thing is snack always follows nap-time or the crying does not stop.  Take for example the day we went and got the tree.  He was in a great mood earlier in the day and then had a nap.  He woke up and we went and got the tree.  He was in a foul mood though and part of that is because he did not have ample time to have a snack after his nap.  He has other mini-melt downs because he wants things he cannot have OR thinks I don’t understand what he wants (though most always I do understand).  He does not give up on it.  It is very draining for me.  Fortunately there are a few tricks that can help reset him, depending on what’s going on.  In the past 2 weeks I learned one of them is sensory input by rubbing his arms and hands.  That will calm him and I’ve been doing that before naps and bed as well.  But the fact that I have to be thinking and acting, usually planning ahead, is a job in and of itself.

Well, after church Sunday morning I have been trying to look at these (TEMPORARY) struggles as God opening the door for me.  That was part of the message.  All our challenges are not just problems.  They are opportunities.  Opportunities to need God.  We want an easy and “good” life so we can do it on our own.  We want worldly things because we think they can solve our problems.

This does not mean I will spend my time praying to God to make Calvin a neater boy.  Or a boy who can eat all kinds of food.  Or who can talk, or will stay away from hot or fast (cars) items, etc.  I do not believe that is what this is about.  It isn’t actually.  First I need to pray a lot for my patience level and opportunities for breaks and to have peace and acceptance for who Calvin is.  Next it’s about me giving Calvin grace because of the fact that God sent Jesus to die for MY sins.  That is grace.  And grace alone is what is going to get me to God’s Kingdom when I die.  Granted, grace is not always easy or the first thing that comes to mind when I’m angry or exhausted.

For some reason I have been given the 3 children I have, the husband I choose, the home, the dog, the career path, the siblings and parents, the friends, and this little place in Wisconsin, etc.  I guess it was meant to be.  However, today can I just say I’m battling burn-out?  Sure, but I’m going to make a choice to see all of this as progress.  Progress that Calvin is growing and learning and maturing.  I KNOW things will change for him.  I also know there are parents of children with more needs than Calvin.  We need to pray for them!

With this ends another year.  Next year at this time I will have a clan of 8, 6, and 4 year old children.  3 boys I would not trade a thing for even if I do need some R&R 🙂  And, next year I will focus on grace.  It seems to be calling my name the past few months in my small group study and when I think about it, for years now.

Here’s to grace!

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