Monday, July 6, 2015

A few things I've learned.

So much to say but little time to write it out! 

As a mother of five children, four basically grown with one entering his junior year of high school, I finally realize how overwhelming the task of raising a child is. (after 27 years I now have the time to think about it!) 

My dream as a child myself was to become a wife and mother; God graciously fulfilled those dreams for me. Shortly after becoming a mother I realized how much more my heart would desire, not for myself  but for my children. And once again God has shown Himself to be a God of goodness and provision.
Since I have finally had some down time, for the first time in months (since 2013 according to my last blog post!) it has all started to hit me. My children have grown up...two married to amazing men, one living independently, one desperately trying to figure out how to live independently and the last trying to figure out what he would like to do with his life! My goodness it’s not a lie, time really does fly!

It hit me hard this morning when I read my daughter’s instagram post about her amazing husband taking care of her through a seizure she had due to low blood sugar.

It has been years since I have had to care for Lindsay’s chronic illness.  Diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was eight years old. It was really hard to be told I would have to test her sugar 5-10 times a day, sometimes hourly throughout the night, make arrangements for her to have 2-3 types of insulin available to her at all times, syringes, blood monitors, testing strips, every two hours a snack and the most difficult thing for me was I had to give her shots many times in a day.  She was in the hospital for a week the first time, we had to call 911 on three occasions, we missed a family trip one time because she got low blood sugar and fell off of a kitchen stool and we had to call EMS. And one time I had to pick her up from school because her blood sugar was 32 (normal is between 80-120) she was pretty much comatose.  It was not easy! And throw into the mix all the activities and responsibilities of four other children! Just thinking of going through all of these things plus some is exhausting. But we did it!

In sharing this story I would really like to encourage parents. As parents when we are in the thick of these types of life situations it’s easy to give up and it’s easy to forget about the other important things that are going on around us. (And again as a reminder, Lindsay and her illness were just a portion of what was going on in our family and the seven different worlds we represented.) But I can honestly say, I would not change a thing.  Of course I wish that Lindsay didn’t have diabetes or that Courtney wasn’t born with a heart defect or that money wasn't tight most of the time. (it’s not cheap raising five kids!) But truthfully through it all God has given us a rich and blessed life.

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." {James 1:12}
Another point I would like to share with this story is although Lindsay had/has a chronic illness, I could not become a “hovering” mother.  I had to find a way to let her be a child, exploring, being away from me and encourage her to do what she wanted to do in life. 

My children may disagree so let me clarify, I am a very strict mother but I am not a hovering mother!  There is a difference.  There were many things my children were not permitted to do…go to school dances, watch PG13 movies (yes even when they were 13 and older), hang out (anywhere), go to new friends homes unless I knew the parents, date just for kicks and I am sure they could add more to this list! BUT my children were permitted to do A LOT! Travel (in and out of the country), attend concerts, hang out endlessly with people I knew, go to camp for as long as they wanted, have messy bedrooms and they never had a curfew!
 We need to let our children become adults, which means even when they have a chronic illness we have to eventually let them go.
Like I said, it hit me today that my prayers especially for Lindsay thus far have been answered.  Which is such an incredible reminder to me that I serve, worship and believe in a God that cares about the details of my life and the lives of my children.  I truthfully don’t know what I would have done had I not had God to lean on, to cry to, to complain to, to beg and to thank. It wasn’t easy letting my child go to camp for a week when she was eight (which is one place she also had a bout with low blood sugar) but I knew I had to let her have the same experiences (within reason) as other children were having. 

As you can see in Lindsay’s post about Jeff, she has married an incredible man, one that takes his relationship with God seriously and takes his commitment to my daughter seriously.  I think today, I have finally realized that my job as my daughter’s caregiver is done, I can no longer be right by her side orchestrating every move she makes to stay healthy (writing out directions so people know how to care for her, putting her snacks together, ordering all her supplies, talking to her doctors, ect..) But God has provided her with a husband that does not shy away from taking care of her.  I think he may know more about Type One diabetes than she does!

My position as mom has changed (at least for my daughters.)  My prayers for them are different now.  But because I have seen God’s provision thus far, I pray believing He still has their (and mine!) best interest in mind. 

Advice I can give has a seasoned mom of five. 

  • Be encouraged “The day’s are long but the years are short”
  • Don’t hover, but give thought-filled boundaries.
  • Pray believing God will provide physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Be grateful, it’s likely someone else has a more difficult situation than you.