Friday, January 30, 2009

"Empty Nest", he says....

Cheney and Alan are out in Wheaton, IL looking at Wheaton College. Cheney has ditched his Dad tonight to stay in one of the dorms. We both agree this is a good thing for Cheney and if Alan didn't feel good about it, he would not have left him there. So, Alan had dropped Cheney off and was driving back to the hotel alone and we were talking on the phone. Alan told me that dropping him off there is kind of the start of an empty nest for him. I asked why and he explained that Cheney going to college will really mark the end of part of our life. HELLO!!!!! Is that not what I had been saying and coming to terms with for the last several or many months???? What a funny guy he is. I guess he just needed to realize that on his own while spending the weekend with his boy who working towards being all the way grown. Big Sigh!!

God has given me such peace about Cheney and Alan doing this college visit together. I don't miss much in my kids' lives and when I do it is usually kicking and screaming. Now through in there that it is his birthday and I wondered how I was going to make it. But, God is good and this is the weekend it was supposed to be. God gave Alan and Cheney the chance to do this together and even set up all kinds of details that show we have a God who cares about the smallest details.

Happy Birthday Cheney Boy!

Today is Cheney Alan's 18th birthday! Wow, how in the world did we get all the way to here? Anyway, instead of him being home and us having a family dinner together, he and Alan are away in Wheaton, IL visiting Wheaton College. Selfishly, I would rather have him here with me. In the beginning stages of planning the trip, Davin and I were going along, too. As things worked out, just Alan and Cheney ended up going and will have a father-son weekend until Sunday. In spite of my selfishness, I can see that this is a great opportunity for the two of them to spend time together. Happy Birthday Cheney. I miss you and love you!

Cheney has grown so much and it truly is amazing to look way up into the eyes of this boy who once looked up into mine. I am really proud of the man that he has turned into. I don't think there was ever a time in Cheney's life where he was not happy and proud to be told how much like his Dad he was. I have always thought his Dad was a pretty good person for Cheney to want to be like. You all know I have gushed before over what an incredible brother Cheney is to Davin. They are so adorable to watch. I know that Cheney still has growing to do, as we all do. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him.

Cheney is on the left in the above photo. Standing next to him are two of Martha's boys - Josiah and Nathan. Aren't they adorable?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Talking and Listening

I love talking with my kids. They are pretty much adults now and our conversations are much different than they used to be. This past week has given us quite a few opportunities to talk about some really serious topics. It was so interesting to listen to their views and discuss things. Sometimes their views are not the same as mine, but I have really appreciated listening to how they came to their conclusions and where God has brought them. They are thinking, they are learning, they are growing. I sure do miss those early days of conversations, but I really am appreciating the conversations that we can share now.

Friday, January 09, 2009

So Blessed

I was fixing (that is from you, Tina) to write a comment on my last post, but realized I would rather write another entry instead.

Thank you to my friends who commented already on my last post. For all of Davin's life, I have realized that I am being watched. Not by the CIA, well, at least I hope not. But, by other people. All the time. I bet Sherri can relate to this. I bet Kelli can relate, too. We have children who are different. People can tell they are different by looking at them and so they watch us. They may not know someone with a serious disability and the way they learn about them is by watching me in the grocery store with my son. They watch me talk to him. They watch me pull his wheelchair from the side, so I am not walking behind him, but beside him. They watch how I explain things to him, although they may not think he can understand. I am constantly aware that I am an advocate for people with disabilities even though I have never signed up to be.

With each of my children came different challenges and I was ready and prepared to meet each one of them. My challenges with Davin are a bit different. That involves responding to people's looks and questions. I don't always like this part of my job, but it is part of my job. Like it or not. My hope is that when people watch me or one of my family members with Davin, they don't see a lack of anything. They see an abundance of many things. They don't see a chair. They see a boy. They see a huge personality and someone who likes to get into some trouble;)

That is why yesterday's post was so difficult for me. I don't always want people to see the harder side of my life. I don't want anyone to think that having Davin was less of a thrill than having their child who is "normal". (I REALLY hate that wording) I want them to know that Davin has so much to offer and that it is my privilege to care for him. I guess with Davin, I have to work a bit harder to have people see that sometimes, so I try not to complain and talk about the bad side as much.

However, there are hard things about having a child who is non-ambulatory. I don't like to admit it, but it is true. Maybe it is good to talk about it sometimes, especially with the people in my life that already see Davin for who he is. I didn't have to convince any of you:)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Hard Times

There are times in a person's life where things go smoothly. There are also times in a person's life when things just seem hard. I am in a bit of a hard time right now. Maybe that explains my "lack of blogging" lately. Just not too much to share and yet lots and lots to think about. I have a couple of close friends going through some very difficult things. My heart is very heavy for them and God brings them to my mind often so I can pray for them. One of those situations also affects my family and that has weighed heavy on all of us.

I am also feeling a physical burden that I have never faced before. Well, maybe I have, but was slow to admit it. You all know that I am the caretaker (and quite glad to be) of my 16 year-old son Davin. He has brought my life so much joy in these last 16 years, I can not even explain it. Many of you know him and you know that he is a special boy (almost man, I guess?). For all of these years, I have been able to take Davin wherever I went. If I needed milk and bread, I just plopped him in the carseat and went to the store. I whipped the wheelchair out of the car and off we went. Davin went everywhere. I was very capable of giving him his baths and taking total care of him. I like being self-sufficient and I have always liked it this way.

Well, Davin doesn't weigh 20 pounds anymore (thankfully) and his wheelchair is so heavy that every time I put it in the back of my Jeep, I am amazed that it got in there. I am choosing (I can hardly even believe it myself) to not take Davin anywhere I don't need him to go to. Even as I write this, tears come to my eyes. At the end of the day, my body aches. I pick Davin up to put him in his chair, I carry him to his bed, I carry him out to the car....I get tired. I know that Davin has grown a lot in the last couple of years and that has made it difficult for my body to keep up with his growing one. I will catch up once he is not growing as much and I will get used to the weight again, but things won't be the same.

I made a choice when Davin was diagnosed. I chose for his life to be regular. I chose for our family to be regular. I think we have done a good job at that. Most people might not even know that I am struggling. I want Davin to go to the store and everywhere that he wants to go. (He LOVES to go with us everywhere!) I have also made the choice that God gave Davin to me and Alan to care for. We will keep him at our home for the rest of our lives. I know that is not everyone's decision, but it is mine. So, I need to adjust some things. I need to make my body last so that I can take the best care of Davin possible.

This does not overwhelm me everyday, but some days it does. One thing that is changing for us is that Cheney is going to college next year. I can not tell you how much of a help my older kids are to their youngest brother. Not because I ask them, but because they love him and they want him to be with them, too. Next year, I will bear the responsibility of Davin's physical needs alone for the most part. Alan will be here, but he has a pretty demanding job now and is not home until later in the evenings.

I know that this is a difficult transition. I will catch up to Davin's new size and weight. God will continue to sustain me and to sustain Davin even when the other kids are not here to help.