I used to be a planner. Then this strange thing happened. We started fostering and I learned our plans could change overnight. I still planned, but learned to expect surprises occasionally and live with them. But, we still had a five year plan and even discussed a 20 year plan. I didn't have everything mapped out, but knew the general course and how to get there. As more children and more 'abilities' have come into our family it is amazing that I no longer plan years out, months out, or weeks out. Less than a year ago I could still plan months in advance and still sort of do. We have appointments months from now on the calendar, and a family vacation might happen in September, but our life?
We live moment to moment. We never know when the next break will happen. We never know when the breakdown will occur. It would be nice to be able to live week by week or day by day, but then where would my dependence on God be? Sometimes Mr. Incredible and I still talk about a five year plan, but usually end up off on some rabbit trail about the present (we no longer even think about a 20 year plan). See if we live in the moment it makes it easier to handle all that comes our way. If I stop and think about what all a typical day entails and all the stress that is ever present, it's easy to be overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of stuff to do. Overwhelmed at the complexities of life with children who have such different abilities. Overwhelmed that God thinks I am the best mother for our children because I feel like such a failure.
I used to be a perfectionist. Then God gave me my husband. Then son #1. Then son #2. 8 foster placements. Son #3. Son #4.... Past: son #1 could pick up his toys at 9 months old (I have video to prove it). And I thought that made me a 'good parent'! Now: son #3 might remember to put his clothes on without them facing backwards. And I don't care what way the clothes are facing as long as he is dressed! I also now do not consider my children's actions or lack thereof as a reflection of me or my parenting ability. Very Freeing. My house may not be as clean as I would prefer, but why stress about the floors because I know that M&M will find mud to play in everyday whether it's raining or not and a little dirt on the floor is not a trip hazard.
I used to take many things for granted. Walking. Now I thank God when Lolipop walks with her walker. I pray when she stands without her walker or support. I prayed and tried not to cringe today when she started to walk without her walker, arms flailing as she showed me just how much of a 'big girl' she was. The spica cast is still fresh in my memory and if sitting down hard could break her femur, I try not to think what falling could do...
I try not to think about about what a fall would do because I know exactly what a fall would do. Sitting, leaning, and walking have all caused her to fracture. What if she falls? What if someone drops her? What if a child collides into her? What if she's in a car collision? If I live outside of the moment these underlying stresses suddenly rush in on me. (especially when we travel and I'm the sole caretaker) I don't live in denial, but I'm not going to focus on 'what if's' either. I was recently asked if she has a 'normal life expectancy'. It's a good question. To which I don't know the answer. Some people with OI live 'normal' lives, others are crushed and die during birth. Though there are varying degrees of OI, there are also varying environments and attitudes. She has survived losing her birth mother and father, four years in an orphanage and coming to a new continent and learning a new language! ...What is 'normal life expectancy' anyway? The Bible tells us that none of us are promised tomorrow. In that light, she has a good a chance as any.
I used to think you only had to have faith for the 'big' things. Now I need faith for all things because every day is an adventure. Kind of funny that her middle name is Faith... What a reminder! As for the rest... We walk by faith, not by sight and some thoughts are just better left unthought.